Easy Sukkot dishes put veggies on stage for night under stars

For easy and portable side dishes to accompany meals eaten in the sukkah, I thought outside the box and inside the bag.

Supermarkets offer a large variety of seasonal, packaged and pre-cut produce. Each of the recipes below starts with a bag of ready-to-use vegetables. I’ve kept other ingredients quick and easy, too.

Container sizes vary among brands, and small variations won’t matter, but if there is a difference of more than a few ounces, adjust amounts of the other ingredients. The recipes all multiply. Larger batches of the kale should be sautéed separately and then combined.

I got the idea for this Sukkot column — the holiday starts the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 12 — after I had my friend Yen’s broccoli slaw salad. I couldn’t stop eating it. She adapted the recipe from a container of shredded broccoli stem and carrot mix, and I tweaked it a bit more.

Pomegranate seeds sometimes are available packaged if you don’t want to tackle seeding a whole fruit. Dried cranberries make a tasty substitute.

Sweet and Sour Butternut Squash

Serves 4

1-lb. package fresh, peeled butternut squash cubes

1⁄3 cup raisins

1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 1⁄2 cups thinly sliced onions

1⁄4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1⁄4 tsp. salt or to taste

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried mint flakes

1⁄2 tsp. sugar or to taste

Cook squash according to package directions. Soak raisins in vinegar for 20 minutes. Heat oil in sauté pan and cook onions over medium-low heat, stirring often until very soft, sweet and darkened to golden brown.

Add cooked squash, raising heat to medium-high and sautéing for a few minutes. Add raisins, vinegar, red pepper, salt, black pepper and mint. Sauté, stirring occasionally until flavors have melded and squash and raisins are heated through. Taste.

Add sugar as needed and correct seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kale and White Bean Salad

Serves 6 to 8

10-oz. package pre-cut kale

2 Tbs. oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes

15-oz. can white kidney (cannellini) or great Northern     beans

1 Tbs. minced lemon zest

1⁄2 cup red wine vinaigrette salad dressing

Rinse kale and let drain. Heat oil in large fry or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic until just golden. Add kale, stir well until coated. Add in 1⁄2 cup water, stir, cover and let kale steam until leaves are cooked through but not limp or soft and stems still have a bit of crunch, adding more water if needed.

Remove lid. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until water has evaporated. Let kale cool. Rinse and drain beans. Mix drained beans, lemon zest and vinaigrette with kale and gently stir to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Yen’s Broccoli Slaw Salad

Serves 4

1⁄2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

1 Tbs. honey or agave syrup

1 small Fuji apple

8-oz. package broccoli slaw (shredded broccoli stems and carrots)

1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts

1⁄2 cup pomegranate seeds OR dried cranberries

Combine salad dressing with honey and mix well. Cut unpeeled apple into 1/2-inch chunks (about 1 cup). Toss with dressing. Add dressing and apples to slaw mix. Stir in walnuts and cranberries if using (if using pomegranate seeds instead, stir in just before serving). Serve cold or at room temperature.

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.