Pentecost and Feast of Weeks festivities are taking place this weekend, the Christian and Jewish celebrations layered with the coming of the Holy Spirit and giving of the Torah. Monumental in their own rights, both holidays emerge from the freedom God won for His people, memorialized in the two previous spring celebrations, Resurrection and Passover. So many stories! The Lord is mighty in layering and symbolizing what He has done; He is mindful down to the details of preparing meals, all to help us become immersed and fluent in His freedom-life and holiness, highlighted by these holidays.
How about a tasty side dish to tell it all? Most of the ingredients in this Red Sea Recipe are referenced in the Scripture-story of deliverance, creating a fun way to connect our appetite to the Word of God. Let our cooking from the garden become worship and may the flavorful aromas from simmering and sautéing accompany our praises lifted up to God.
Then Moses reached out his hand over the Red Sea. All that night the Lord pushed the sea back with a strong east wind. He turned the sea into dry land. The waters were divided. The people of Israel went through the sea on dry ground. There was a wall of water on their right side and on their left. Exodus 14:21-22 NIRV
God spoke all these words: I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery. Exodus 20:1-2 The Message
Read the story of Shavuot, Feast of Weeks, the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:1–20:23
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Acts 2:17, quoting Joel 2:28 NIV
Read the story of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, Acts 2:1–39
Crosby’s Egyptian Beets
My inspiration for a Red Sea Recipe came from a special variety of red beets called “Crosby’s Egyptian.” This heirloom was first cultivated by an American farmer near the end of the 19th century. Beets, Beta vulgaris, are not native to Egypt; why Farmer Crosby named his new breed for this ancient country is unknown. Perhaps he wanted his humble crop to have a certain exotic flair? Maybe the root vegetable’s incredible color lends itself to the drama of the Red Sea parting? Nevertheless, though beets are not mentioned in the Bible, I am glad to make this tentative, name-only connection because beets are one of my favorite garden crops. They provide a bounty of hearty leaves for salads, soups, or cooked greens, and their edible stalks can substitute for celery. Enjoy their cut-and-come-again harvest until the beet roots are ready, about 60 days to maturity.
I found seeds for Crosby’s Egyptian Beets at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, along with more growing information, www.rareseeds.com/crosby-s-egyptian
Confession: The other main ingredient in the Red Sea Recipe is red quinoa, which is not a Biblical plant. Quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa, is a grain from the Amaranth family, native to South America. Red quinoa keeps its color through cooking, and has a moist, gentle texture which holds ground next to the other flavors, so I adopted it into our storied side dish.
Biblical Ingredients: Garlic and onions are flavor basics, sorely missed in the journey out of Egypt (Numbers 11:5); use red onions in this recipe to amplify the drama. Olive oil is a Biblical basic, used in lighting the sanctuary (Exodus 27:20) and baking (Leviticus 2:4). Coriander (with leaves called cilantro) was associated with the color of manna, the bread of heaven (Exodus 16:31, Numbers 11:7). Pistachios were some of the promised land’s best-foraged crops (Genesis 43:11), and wine vinegar is one translation of the sauce that Boaz offered to Ruth (Ruth 2:14); the Book of Ruth is read for the Shavuot holiday. Use red wine vinegar, of course! Finally, honey is part of the poetic name for the land promised to the Israelites, the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17).
Red Sea Recipe
1 c. red quinoa
3 medium red beets
4-6 garlic cloves
½ large red onion
¾ c. chopped beet stems
more olive oil
2 c. shredded beet leaves
¼ c. diced coriander (cilantro) leaves
1-2 T. red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
1 c. toasted pistachios
Cook red quinoa on the stovetop per package directions. Use a larger-sized saucepan to hold all ingredients together at the end.
Meanwhile, trim stems and leaves from beet roots and set aside. Cut rough spots and stray roots from beet roots, wash with a scrubber, and dice into small, bite-sized cubes.
Peel and cut garlic cloves into quarters.
Prepare a small baking pan with olive oil or other cooking spray, add beet cubes and garlic, toss with olive oil, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until soft with burnt edges.
While both are cooking, chop red onion and beet stems.
Slice beet leaves into ribbons and mince coriander leaves (cilantro).
Heat olive oil in a skillet on the stovetop, and sauté onions and stems together over medium heat, about 7-10 min.
Add beet leaves and braise until leaves are tender but vivid green, about another 7 min.
Stir in coriander leaves (cilantro) and turn off heat.
When all ingredients are cooked, toss together in the red quinoa’s saucepan. Add red wine vinegar and salt to taste. Turn heat off but keep covered in the warm pan.
Toast shelled pistachios in oven or toaster oven for 2-3 minutes (keep an eye on them, they burn quickly!).
Add pistachios and drizzle with honey just before serving. Serve warm. Pairs well with cubed cheese for traditional Shavuot meals.
Feasting on the Word of God
While preparing the meal or preparing your heart for celebration, savor the following Scriptures that connect to the purposes of parting the Red Sea; To display God’s magnificence and make us ready for the holy life He has prepared for us.
Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? “You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies. In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. Exodus 14:11-13 NIV
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to abandon you or to turn back from following you. Because wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you make your home, I will make my home. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Ruth 1:16 EHV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV
To live my life by your righteous rules has been my holy and lifelong commitment. Psalm 119:106 TPT
I’ll place my spirit within you, empowering you to live according to my regulations and to keep my just decrees. Ezekiel 36:27 ISV
‘…And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. Exodus 19:6 NKJV
How I love your Torah! I meditate on it all day. Psalm 119:97 CJB
When our ancestors were in Egypt, they failed to be mindful of your wonders; they did not remember your many kindnesses and rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake so that he might make known his mighty power. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a wilderness. He saved them from those who hated them; from the hand of the enemy he delivered them. The waters closed over their adversaries; not a single one of them survived. Then they believed his words and sang his praises. Psalm 106:7-12 NCB
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Galatians 5:13 The Message
Then he said to me, Son of man, take into your heart all my words that I speak to you; hear them well. Ezekiel 3:10 NABRE
ADONAI, I have heard the report about you. ADONAI, I am awed by your deeds. Bring your work to life in our own age, make it known in our own time; but in anger, remember compassion. Habakkuk 3:2 CJB
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. Galatians 5:16 The Message
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. Revelation 5:10 NIV
Find the Biblical ingredients from the Red Sea Recipe in the Plant Guide
Want a better understanding of the role of Egpyt in God’s Word? Find more devotions on Egypt in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible in the Garden Tour section, beginning on page a-14
©2011 Inchris10 at Creative Commons, Bunch of Garden Beets www.flickr.com/photos/ellenchristen/5977354537/
©2022 Shelley S. Cramm all other photos
CJB notes Scripture quotations taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
EHV notes Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® , EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
ISV denotes Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible: International Standard Version. Release 2.0, Build 2015.02.09. Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.
MSG denotes Scripture quotations taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.
NABRE denotes Scripture texts taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved.
NCB denotes Scripture taken from the SAINT JOSEPH NEW CATHOLIC BIBLE® Copyright © 2019 by Catholic Book Publishing Corp. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
NIrV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version®, NIrV®, Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIrV” and “New International Reader’s Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
NKJV denotes Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com