Simanim Salad

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 40-60 mins

While many opt for sweet foods such as apple and honey to welcome a sweet New Year, many other foods traditionally carry such significance at this auspicious time, and there are different customs kept around the globe. Referred to in the Talmud and known as ‘Simanim’, which translates to ‘symbols’ or ‘omens’, these foods have a special standing and with each one, we ask Hashem for specific blessings for the year ahead. Before partaking in each we make a prayer, a ‘Yehi Ratzon,’ asking for
Hashem’s beneficence. You can download a printable sheet with all the blessings here.

Containing gourds, honey, spinach and beetroot, our Simanim Salad offers lots of food for thought. 

  • The honey, as we have discussed, represents a sweet new year.
  • In ancient Aramaic, the word for gourds is ‘Karaa’, which in Hebrew can be read as ‘Kara’a’ – to rip apart, or as ‘Kara’, to announce. We request that the evil decrees against us be ripped up and that our good deeds be announced to Hashem instead.
  • ‘Selek’, the Hebrew for beetroots is similar to the word for ‘remove’. As we do when we eat dates, another of the Simanim, we ask Hashem to remove our enemies. 
  • So where does spinach come in? In the Gemara’s Aramaic, the term ‘silka’ is used to refer to a leafy green vegetable that is likened to spinach or perhaps Swiss chard. For many, spinach is believed to be the original Siman, with beetroots developing later on. Here, we have combined the two, alongside squash, pumpkin (seeds) and honey for a Siman-packed dish full of colour, flavour and goodness.


  • 1 small Butternut Squash cubed
  • 2 medium sized Beetroots cubed
  • 1 large bag of Spinach or Swiss Chard Leaves washed and checked
  • 1 cup of Baby Tomatoes halved – (we used yellow for an added pop of colour but you can use any)
  • ½ cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ – ½ tsp Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F)
  2. In two separate roasting dishes, place your butternut squash and beetroot cubes, sprinkling each with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Pour 1 tbsp of oil in each and mix to coat the vegetables. Roast for around 40min to 1hr until soft but not mushy. They may cook at slightly different rates, so remove each when done to your taste, and allow to cool.
  4. In a bowl layer the spinach, roasted veg, halved tomatoes and pumpkin seeds (which can be toasted lightly in a dry pan for a couple of minutes – be careful not to burn them).
  5. To make the dressing, mix together the extra virgin olive oil, mustard and honey with a little salt and pepper and the juice of half a lemon.
  6. Top the salad with seeds and drizzle over the dressing (or a dressing of your choice), and serve.

(Image Credit: Sophy Weiss Photography)

Simanim Salad