At sundown tonight, the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, The Feast of Weeks, begins. Shavuot is a holiday that celebrates the day that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people while they were assembled at Mount Sinai, shortly after the exodus from Egypt. Shavuot is also connected to the season of the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks, which began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot. Beginning on the second evening of Passover, and ending yesterday evening, Jews count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, called the Counting of the Omer. Shavuot is the concluding festival of the grain harvest.
Shavuot is unlike other Jewish holidays in that it has no prescribed Torah commandments, other than the traditional observances for every holiday which includes abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals. However, Shavuot is characterized by many specific customs, including the reading of the Book of Ruth and the consumption of dairy products like milk and cheese.
Jewish holidays are often stereotyped as revolving around food (“They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!”), and most Jewish cookbooks you find will contain an abundance of recipes for meat dishes. It’s a nice change to have a holiday that is customary to have dairy, but the usual blintzes and cheesecake can become tiresome year after year, which brings me to this great recipe! This is an older one that I got from my mother and that I’ve tweaked over time, but it’s easy and delicious and I recommend trying it if you’re looking for a Shavuot recipe or a twist on the traditional lasagna.
9-12 lasagna noodles, cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, chopped in a food processor
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 green pepper, chopped in a food processor
4-5 large white mushrooms, chopped in a food processor
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 cans of tuna
salt and pepper to taste
2 250g containers of light ricotta cheese
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
1/3 to 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a food processor, chop two onions. Heat oil in a large pan, add in garlic and cook until fragrant. Transfer onion from food processor to pan and cook until transparent.
- While onion is cooking, add green pepper and mushrooms to the food processor. Drain as much liquid as possible. When onions are cooked, add the mushroom and green pepper mixture and cook until lightly browned and very little to no liquid remains.
- While vegetables are cooking, mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and parsley in a medium bowl. If mixture is really dry, add in the egg (Note: the original recipe calls for this, I’ve almost never had to add it). Set aside.
- When vegetables are cooked, remove from heat. Add in the cream of mushroom soup (DO NOT add water- just the condensed coup), the tuna and the salt and pepper to taste, and mix through until combined. Set aside.
- Line a greased 9×13 lasagna pan with lasagna noodles. On top of the noodles, add in half of the tuna mixture, and spread so that it covers all of the noodles. Add another layer of noodles, then add the entire cheese mixture and spread to cover the whole pan. Add the third layer of noodles, spread the remaining tuna mixture, and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, until cheese begins to bubble slightly and brown. Enjoy!