Salads & Meze

Aromatic Carrot Salad

A wonderful way to brighten up your table is to serve this easy Moroccan-inspired carrot salad, infused with an exotic dressing that is both spicy and sweet.


Black-Eyed Bean Salad

Fizon or as it is known in Turkey, Piyaz, is a refreshing salad made with black-eyed beans, red onions, garnished with hard-boiled eggs, olives, and fresh herbs. This healthy, wholesome salad doused in a lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil dressing is aromatic with ground cumin and elevates any meal.

Greek Country Salad

This salad is packed with juicy sun-drenched tomatoes, sweet red onion
and crunchy cucumber (olives and feta are mandatory).Other ingredients depend on one’s preference and availability of fresh pickings.

Potato, egg, olives and fresh herb salad

This tasty citrusy-flavoured potato salad, redolent with fragrant herbs and tossed with black olives, capers and quartered hard-boiled eggs, makes a fabulous accompaniment to grills or roasts.

Gratins, Fritters & Egg Dishes

Cauliflower  Florets Stew  

Braised Hard-Boiled Eggs

Huevos haminados is one of the most ancient and characteristic foods in the Judeo-Spanish repertoire. In a Sephardic kitchen red and brown onion skins are always saved and stored ready to make these beautiful eggs.

Baked Matzah-Chicken Pie

In Spanish, the word cuajado (also spelled kuajado/kwazado/guazados) means “curdled,” and is related to the Portuguese queijo meaning “cheese” (a food product made out of curdled or coagulated milk). Like the French quiche (a pie made mostly of cheese and cream mixed with eggs), a quajado is also a type of baked pie that utilizes beaten eggs to bind the cheese, cream, vegetables, or meat as well as other ingredients together.

Eggs Poached with Tomatoes

Huevos kon tomat is an easy and fast stand-by that consists of eggs poached in a fresh, thick tomato sauce and served hot in the same frying pan in which it is cooked.

Macaroni & Meat Bake

This appetizing Sephardic version of the Greek meat bake pastitsio, is baked in an earthenware ovenproof dish and brought straight to the table. This dish, known as macaron reynado de karne, makes an excellent meal eaten hot or at room temperature for brunches, mezes, picnics and children’s packed lunches. This bake is delicious with a tasty homemade tomato sauce and a green salad.

Meat & Herb Filled Potato Croquettes

A scrumptious addition to this year’s festive Sephardic Passover table are potato croquettes stuffed with a mouthwatering meat, fresh herb and pine nut filling that are deep fried until golden and crunchy.

Crisp, fried cauliflower florets are simmered on a bed of chopped vegetables in a fresh tomato and olive oil sauce.This hearty Rhodes Island style cauliflower stew is full of flavourful goodness and makes an unusual vegetarian entrée served alongside your favourite rice pilaf. 

Savoury Pastries & Breads

Cheese and Potato Tartlets

These dainty, cupcake-like tartlets (gizadas - derived from the Spanish quesadilla for cheese turnovers) are a speciality of the Greek Islands.

Coiled Swiss Chard, Cheese & Egg Filo Pie

In Spanish, the word cuajado (also spelled kuajado/kwazado/guazados) means “curdled,” and is related to the Portuguese queijo meaning “cheese” (a food product made out of curdled or coagulated milk). Like the French quiche (a pie made mostly of cheese and cream mixed with eggs), a quajado is also a type of baked pie that utilizes beaten eggs to bind the cheese, cream, vegetables, or meat as well as other ingredients together.

Savoury Turnovers

Sephardim from Rhodes Island have inherited from the Ottoman culinary heritage our affinity for the most beloved and versatile vegetable- aubergines, otherwise known as eggplants.

It is not surprising that one of our tastiest pie fillings is in Ladino “Gomo de Handrajo” - are diced aubergine simmered in an onion, fresh tomato and extra virgin olive oil sauce, with fresh parley.

This moist and satisfying filling is perfect for the ever popular savory pastries, bourekas which are simple and easy to make or the more elaborate pastelicos.

Festive Bread

Roska is a sweet festive bread; some variations are eaten simply day-to-day for breakfast or coffee, while more elaborate types are made for Jewish holidays and milestone events.

Flaky Filo-like Savoury Pastries

Boyos are the mainstay of the meze and buffet tables of Judeo-Spanish cuisine and are simply scrumptious with tea or coffee. Try not to be put off by the fact that this recipe uses yeast. In fact in this particular recipe you do not have to wait for the dough to rise - simply start making the pastries as soon as the dough has been made.

Meat and Rice-filled Pies

The pièce de resistance of Sephardic pies are the small meat and rice-filled pies shaped like little pots with straight sides and decoratively crimped lids to seal in the filling.

Pumpkin & Cheese Coiled Pastries

Pumpkin or butternut filo-like coiled pastries are delectable, fragrant with warming spices of cinnamon and cloves. The distinctive coil or ‘rose’ shape is said to be symbolic of the Island of Roses (the name the Italians gave to the beautiful island of Roses - Rhodes).

These flaky ‘boyos’ are wonderful served at brunch, with coffee, or even as part of a meze with drinks. Traditionally, pumpkin-filled pastries are offered at the Sephardic New Year table.

Sweet Treats

Almond & Sesame Seed Brittle

Boulokonio (almonds and sesame brittle) makes an irresistible crunchy gluten-free sweet treat. This golden, chewy handcrafted confection that has been passed down for generations from Medieval Spain is utterly addictive. Boulokonio is traditionally served by the Rhodeslis at Purim and Hanukkah.

Almond Semolina Cake

Shamali is a luscious syrup-soaked almond and semolina cake that is popular throughout the East Mediterranean. This moist cake fragrant with orange blossom water is made with ground mastic which adds a pine-scented depth. Delightful served with coffee or as a spectacular finale with whipped cream and fresh berries that helps balance the intense sweetness.

Honeyed Biscuit Clusters

This confection consists of clusters of little biscuits covered in a caramel syrup and scattered with toasted almonds. It is quite unusual, particularly in presentation, as the pinyonate is arranged on fresh lemon leaves, served on a large platter – really gorgeous on a table. It is also made at the celebratory tea for the Bridal Bath, Banyo de Novia.

Shortbread Filled with Dates & Walnuts

Dates are one of the symbolic foods presented on the Sephardic New Year celebratory table. Delectable date-nut-filled shortbread cookies, Menenas, are a Rosh Hashanah favourite in my household - try these moreish treats!

Almond Frangipane-Filled Filo Triangles

These elegant, mouth-watering, triangle-shaped filo pastries are filled with ground almond paste scented with orange blossom water and dusted with icing sugar. These frangipane-filled pastries are quick and easy to prepare and when paired with vanilla ice cream and mixed berries make a marvellous dessert.

Doughnut Puffs

Doughnuts, or deep-fried fritters, are the symbolic food amongst Judeo-Spanish communities on Hanukkah, when the Festival of Lights, the miracle of the burning oil lamp in the ancient temple in 166 BCE, is celebrated. Bimuelos is derived from the Spanish word bunuelo, which was a popular yeast dough fritter in medieval Spain.

Meringues with Mastic

Meringues are easy to prepare and utterly divine. They are extremely versatile and can be transformed into an impressive prepare-ahead dessert, topped with generous dollops of sweetened lightly whipped cream with an exotic tropical twist of sliced mangoes, pineapple and a drizzle of warm passion fruit syrup. They can also be made individually with swirls of melted chocolate or fresh berry purée and served with ice cream and seasonal berries.

Date & Walnut Cake with Caramel

I have updated my mother’s date and walnut cake, which was not included in my book “Stella’s Sephardic Table”, as it has become a firm favourite amongst my family and friends.
This moist, not overly sweet cake makes an irresistible finale at a Rosh Hashanah dinner. I like to serve this with a warm caramel sauce and tahini ice cream or a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Shabbat Shalom to everyone!

Almond-Filled, Honey-Drenched Crescents

Travados are crescent-shaped almond and spice-filled biscuits, soaked in a hot honey syrup and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Fragrant Rice Flour & Milk Pudding

Called sutlach by the Sephardic communities of Turkey and Greece, this is a light but nourishing rice pudding. Traditionally it is served on Friday night, after Saturday Sabbath morning services, as part of the meal breaking the fast on Yom Kippur, or for the Jewish festival of Shavuot.

Pastry Puffs Topped with Honey, Nuts & Cinnamon

During Hanukkah, Festival of Lights, fried foods dominate the menu to emphasise the miraculous oil that is central to this holiday.

Piticas are crisp, thin, deep-fried pastries, drizzled with a fragrant floral honey just before serving, sprinkled with nuts and toasted sesame seeds and dusted with ground cinnamon. They make a magnificent dessert stacked high on a large platter, and are delicious served on their own or with rice pudding or a scoop of your favourite ice cream and berries.


©2021 Stella's Cookbook. Proudly created by Danielle Demblon

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