Tu B’Shevat: Arbor Day (Vegetarian)


Celebrate a “New Year for Trees” with

Shivat Haminim Pilaf Salad.


Tu B’Shevat, also called Tu B’Shevet, is the “New Year for the Trees.” Several new year celebrations – and myriad holidays – are celebrated by Jewish people. This holiday may not be as well-known or widely celebrated as say, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or Hanukkah. Still, the holiday is steeped in the traditions of our forefathers and their relationship with the land. Tu B’Shevat dates back to the period of the Second Temple (515 BCE-20CE). 


Shevat, the eleventh month of the Jewish calendar, occurs in January or February. According to Jewish law, trees “come of age” on Tu B’Shevat. Leviticus 19:23-25 tells us that in the first three years of a tree’s life, no fruit may be eaten. In the fourth year, only G-d partakes of the fruit. Afterwards, all people may enjoy the fruit. Tu B’Shevat enables us to calculate the age of a planted tree.


Ways to Celebrate Tu B’Shevat:

  • Plant a tree with your family and friends. It is a fun way to show children the importance of nurturing and caring for the environment.

  • Enjoy fruit throughout the day. This is in keeping with the holiday, pleases your palate, and boosts your health.

  • Give gifts of fruit to family and friends. Sharing with others grows good will throughout your community.

  • Eat a fruit you have never tasted. You may find a persimmon, quince or Asian pear to be a novel and delectable experience.

  • Have a Tu B’Shevat Seder or a symbolic meal to mark the holiday. Enjoy scrumptious food and gather with loved ones.

  • Pickle or candy “etrog” (citrus fruit). This is a fun way to cook with your chldren or friends – and enjoy the “fruits of your labor” afterwards.

  • Prepare a dish consisting of Shivat Haminim, such as the festive Shivat Haminim Pilaf Salad, below.

DSC_2135Shivat Haminim is derived from Deuteronomy 8:18. Seven special foods associated with the Land of Israel in the Torah are highlighted, including:

  1. Wheat

  2. Barley

  3. Grapes or Vines

  4. Figs

  5. Pomegranates

  6. Dates

  7. Olives

DSC_2144Shivat Haminim Pilaf salad incorporates Shivat Haminim into a vibrant dish to share with your family and friends. It is also a colorful and tasty way to expose young children to new flavors and textures. It connects our families to the foods and fruits of our homeland, Israel. In this modern interpretation, farro represents the wheat, olive oil the olives and raisins the grape or vine. 




 Shivat Haminim Pilaf Salad (Vegetarian, Parve)


  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. fine salt
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. floral honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, or the juice of two oranges, divided
  • optional: the zest of two oranges
  • 1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup dry barley, prepared according to package directions and drained
  • 1/3 cup dry farro, prepared according to packaged directions and drained
  • 1 cup quinoa, prepared according to packaged directions and fluffed with a fork
  • The seeds and juice of two large pomegranates
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 “baby” clementine oranges, cut into very small pieces with a serrated knife
  • 6 Medjool dried dates, seeds removed and diced into small pieces
  • 6 brown or white dried figs, stems removed and , diced into small pieces
  • Fully prepare your ingredients and set on the countertop.
  • Combine the garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, 1/4 cup orange juice, balsamic vinegar and the orange zest (if using) in a food processor. 
  • Process the mixture until very smooth. 
  • Slowly drizzle in all of the olive oil. Set aside.
  • Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the remaining 1/4 cup of orange juice. Microwave for one minute. Set aside to cool. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked barley, farro and quinoa. Mix in the pomegranate seeds and juice, the clementine oranges, dates and figs.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the balsamic vinaigrette mixture made earlier in the food processor to the ingredients in the large bowl. Stir very well. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for later use.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Refrigerate the salad for a minimum of several hours, or overnight, so the grains can absorb the vinaigrette and the flavors can develop.
  • Enjoy on Tu B’Shevat – or any day. L’Chayim!
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.

31 thoughts on “Tu B’Shevat: Arbor Day (Vegetarian)

  1. Hi Shanna, unfortunately I actually don’t know much about Jewish traditions so thanks for writing about this, what a lovely tradition! And what a lovely dish too 🙂

    1. Hi, Sofia. Thank you for taking the time to read. I think you would very much enjoy the flavors in this dish, based on some of your beautiful posts. So, are you making plans for our January co-post yet? 🙂 🙂 Have a great weekend. – Shanna

      1. Sofia, We must coordinate our TOP SECRET MISSION. I shall get on it tonight. Snu Magoo’s birthday was this weekend and I have been sending out packages this week for the holiday. Best – Shanna xx

  2. What a wonderful post, Shanna, and thank you so much for sharing the tradition of Tu B’Shevat with us. I have to say this one is new to me, even though I used to live with a Jewish family, as a boarder, while in college. The recipe sounds so healthy and refreshing. I’d like to try this, would love to introduce it to family and friends. XOXO, Angie.

  3. Ah, thanks for sharing about this tradition. I was not aware of it, and it’s always nice to have a story behind the food. For a moment, I thought it was sweet sticky rice with red bean because that was the only other food I have been exposed to that appear purple! But, this sounds much healthier. 🙂

  4. what a cool dish! Can’t get any healthier than that, what with the many types of whole grains and dried fruits. Yum yum and yum 🙂

  5. Hi Shanna, it’s really an interesting post. I didn’t know anything about this Jewish tradition, but i think it’s really a full of meaning rite. I love colourfull salads like this, and you use also farro! I really like it! Big Hugs Cris

  6. I’d not heard of this holiday, Shanna, nor the customs surrounding it. Nice that you observe it, teaching your children their faith and a respect for Nature. The ingredient list for this salad reads like a Who’s Who of healthy foods. Always like it when pomegranate arils are included in a salad. They bring such a nice pop of flavor. Thanks for taking the time to educate some of us, Shanna. This was such a great post!

    1. John,
      Who’s Who of Healthy Ingredients. Hehe. That does have a certain ring to it! I am glad you stopped by. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a kind note. I am definitely looking forward to your next blog post!
      Take good care – Shanna

  7. What a great idea for a salad. Do you have a seder with your family? We have had fun with them in the past, discussing environmental topics and exploring new foods. This would make a great addition to a seder.

    1. Hi, Beverlee –
      We generally only have a Seder at Pesach, but may try this year for Tu B’Shevat. My daughter is very interested in environmental topics, like your kids. How about you – is this an annual tradition? This dish would be nice at a Passover Seder as long as all of the grains are certified to be Kosher for Pesach… 🙂 Thank you for stopping by. I am glad to read your kind note. Best wishes – Shanna

    1. Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to read this post and leave such a lovely note. I know that you are also a salad fan and a lover of greens… this pilaf is amazing on some mesclun greens or arugula. I wish you a very merry Christmas and healthy, happy new year. Best wishes, Shanna

  8. I hadn’t heard of this holiday or this beautiful dish to celebrate it! Thank you for taking the time to provide so much detail. I can see it takes a bit of planning, but it looks as though the results are totally worth it! I’m planning on incorporating more vegetarian dishes into my diet this month. I was wondering how long you think this would keep in the refrigerator? Hoping I could enjoy it for lunch for a few days.
    Lovely post, Shanna…thank you!

    1. Hi, Allison,
      This will last in the refrigerator for a full week. It actually gets better every day, as the flavors develop and the fruits soak up the marinade. I hope you try it. I am also trying to incorporate more plant-based, vegetarian meals into our weekly routine. This being said, the salad is great topped with crumbled goat cheese or grilled chicken. 😉 Thank you for visiting and leaving such a lovely and kind note. Best wishes to you and yours – Shanna

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