For those of you who are new to kosher, planning a kosher meal might seem like a daunting task, especially when meat is involved– it cannot be mixed with dairy. I’ve made some notes to help keep you on track. These tips should help!
1) If you are having guests over, find out their level of kosher observance before you start planning. Some Jewish families will not eat food from a kitchen that has not been koshered (a lengthy and expensive process), so it’s best to find out everybody’s needs before you begin to cook.
2) In kosher meals where meat is served (beef, chicken, lamb– generally excluding fish), the meat cannot be served with dairy. That means no cheese, no butter, no milk, no dairy salad dressings on the table or in any of the recipes. Check out my pareve section for dairy-free side dish ideas. I also highly recommend buying some quality vegan cookbooks, like The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein or The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Vegan recipes contain no dairy, and can put a creative spin on a traditional Jewish meal.
4) What if you have that one special recipe that cries out for butter? You can still use it, with a little tweaking. Try substituting Earth Balance, my favorite dairy-free buttery spread. It’s the closest I’ve found to real butter taste, with no trans fat, plus it contains healthy Omega 3s. I prefer the organic variety for spreading, sautéing and cooking. They even have sticks for baking and vegan vegetable shortening.
5) Finding dairy-free desserts can be tough, but there are lots of options on my website. In my Pareve category, you’ll find some delicious ideas.
These are just a few tips for planning a kosher meat meal. Depending on the observance level of your guests, there may be additional steps you need to take to make your meal kosher. If you are new to kosher and need more guidelines, check out my Keeping Kosher section for lots of good information. Happy cooking!