Jewish holiday traditions are what you might sometimes call, “a pain in the tuchus”. They require a large investment of time—mainly for food preparation—and then of course there’s the kvetching of your relatives over some sort of mishigas (that may or may not be related to tuchus pains).
Passover is among the biggest Jewish food holidays. To commemorate slaves freed from Egypt (circa 1300 BCE) there are large meals with lots of commemorative meaning. In between the invisible ghost and hidden matzos (don’t ask!), there are certain foods eaten on the Seder plate such as bitter herbs, eggs and wine, and certain ones avoided like yeasted/leavened bread, rice, corn, soy and peanuts.
And if you’re vegan, you could be eating much less! That is, unless you prepare some of these tasty vegan Passover recipes.
Only one person can do justice to vegan matzo ball soup: the incomparable Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Her recipe is here, and it does call for tofu. Some Jews are ok with eating soy during Passover, but some are not.
Charoset symbolizes the mortar used in structures built by Jewish slaves, and is almost always vegan, and always delicious.
1-2 apples, peeled and cored
1 cup walnuts, shelled
1/4 cup Kosher wine
Cinnamon and Vegan sugar, to taste
Mince the apples and the walnuts or pulse in a food processor. Moisten with the wine and season with cinnamon and sugar.
Passover Mock Chopped Liver
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup sliced mushrooms (use white, baby bella, or cremini)
2/3 cup toasted cashews
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sauté the onions in oil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until nicely browned. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Combine the onions and mushrooms with the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed, scraping down the sides as needed. Store in a jar until needed. Serve at room temperature with matzo crackers.
Zeroah is typically a roasted lamb leg, but vegans can try:
Baked Stuffed Zucchini
2 zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons matzo meal
1 tablespoon olive oil
Scoop out the pulp of the zucchini halves. Heat the garlic, zucchini pulp, celery and carrot in the oil until slightly tender. Add tomato sauce and parsley. Add the matzo meal to the mixture and mix well. Stuff the mixtures into zucchini halves. Place in a baking dish with a little water on the bottom and cover with foil. Bake at 450ºF for 25-30 minutes until the zucchini shells are soft. Remove foil after 15 minutes so the top gets golden brown. (Substitutions: eggplant or portabella mushrooms for zucchini).
For the carrots:
1 lb. chopped carrots
1/4 cup vegan sugar
For the pudding:
1/2 cup matzo cake meal
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt, heaping
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup water
Place carrots in a small casserole dish and sprinkle the sugar on top. Cover, and set aside for 3-4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Heat the covered dish on the stovetop over low heat for 15 minutes, until the carrots are slightly soft and liquid appears in the bottom. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the oil and water and mix well. Spread the mixture on top of the carrots, cover, and cook on the stovetop over medium-low heat, until the pudding sets. Bake, covered, at 350°F, until the pudding becomes brown around the edges, approximately 45-60 minutes.
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