On Shavuot, the holiday commemorating God’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, many Jewish families have the custom to eat dairy foods. Some say the tradition comes from the Song of Songs in which King Solomon compares the Torah to milk: "Like honey and milk, it lies under your tongue” [and sustains you.] Others say it is because when the Jews received the Torah and learned the laws of kashrut, they had to eat dairy until they were able to ritually slaughter, kasher and cook fresh meat, and kasher their pots and dishes. 

Whatever the reason, Shavuot has become a celebration of dairy foods in many Jewish homes, and no Shavuot meal would be complete without the traditional Ashkenazic blintzes (cheese-filled crepes) and kreplach (cheese-filled dumplings;) Sephardic bourekas and sambusak (cheese-filled savory pastries,) and of course, cheesecake. 

You don’t have to feel obligated to stick to the old favorites,. Give Shavuot a modern twist with a risotto cheese ball appetizer, a savory leek and goat cheese quiche, or homemade ice cream in new and funky flavors.

Here are recipes for some tasty traditional and not-so-traditional Shavuot dishes.






Crispy Cheese-Stuffed Risotto Balls


  • 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Risotto
  • Dry Bread Crumbs
  • Your Favorite Cheese (Cheddar/Parmesan/Mozzarella) Cut Into 1/4 Inch Cubes
  • Oil For Frying
  • Sea Salt


  • Roll 2 table spoons of risotto into a ball

  • Press a square of cheese into the center and roll it closed
  • Roll each ball in bread crumbs
  • Heat one to two inches of oil to 180º in a deep saucepan
  • Fry the balls a few at a time, turning as needed, until they are golden brown. Remove from pan with tongs, drain on paper towels.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Cheese Blintzes

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Cheese Blintzes


  • 3/4 Pound of Farmer's Cheese
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, then set aside.


  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar (Omit for Potato Blintzes)


  • Add salt, sugar and milk to beaten eggs. Stir well to blend

  • Add flour gradually, stirring until smooth.

  • Grease a 6”-7” skillet; Heat over medium heat, then pour batter to thinly coat bottom of skillet, rotating skillet quickly to create an even coating. 

  • Cook until batter sets and edges of crepes begin to peel up from the pan.

  • Place the crepes in a stack on a plate until you’ve used up all the batter.

  • To make the blintzes, place 1 Tbsp cheese filling on one end of each blintz leaf and roll it up to encase the filling. Fry on both sides until golden brown.

  • Serve with sour cream or jam.

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Leek & Goat Cheese Quiche


  • 1 9” pie crust
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp chives or tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled


  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Simmer leeks in a pot of boiling water until tender (5-7 minutes,) then drain
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, and seasonings
  • Spread leeks onto pie crust and dot with goat cheese
  • Pour egg mixture over the leeks and bake for 40-50 minutes or until puffed up in the center and lightly browned.
  • Set aside to let cool until is is just warm or serve at room temperature.

Sinfully Decadent Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

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Sinfully Decadent Chocolate Chip Cheesecake


  • 1 cup (5 ounces) chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened

In the food processor or blender, grind cookies into fine crumbs. Add butter and blend until smooth. Press crust into bottom of a 9-inch round pie pan.


  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325º.
Blend sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Gradually add cream cheese while blending. Add butter and blend well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour filling into pie crust. Bake 35 minutes or until set in center. Chill thoroughly.


Eric Monteiro