Vegan Seder by by Jill Richardson

The following guest article is written by Jill Richardson, author of Persistent Vegetarian State. Long live the Vegan Seder goodness, and tomorrow I’ll get back to posting since my Viral Menengitis is dying down enough for me to be out of bed. I am thankful for her writing this up for Renegade Kosher, and I hope it assists folks out there. Shalom and Good Cooking!

Growing up, my mom always said “Passover isn’t a good food holiday.” I remember some horrible desserts (those gummy candies that look like citrus slices, anyone?) but it was never really that difficult until college. All of my dorm food staples got ripped away from me at Passover – bagels, pasta, oatmeal, you know the drill.

I survived college, but this year brings a new twist: this passover will be my first one as a vegetarian. Once you start piling food restrictions on top of food restrictions, your choices slim down significantly. Finding enough foods to complete a nutritious, festive meal that is both vegetarian and K4P sounds like a challenge. Vegan and K4P sounds like a nightmare.

But there’s no point in taking a defeatist attitude. It’s a holiday – a time to celebrate! On Pesach we celebrate our new lease on life when our ancestors fled Egypt – a springtime in the history of the Jewish people, if you will. With this in mind, I crafted a menu around spring vegetables, blending tradition with fresh ideas.

I steered clear of tofu and fake meats, in case you are dining with non-veg friends and family who would wrinkle their nose. Sharing the recipes below with your family may just be the key to proving that it is possible to survive on a plant-based diet – even on Passover.

Appetizers

Start with charoset, served with matzoh. I am partial to my family’s traditional charoset recipe, but if you are entertaining a large party, I recommend asking several guests to bring charoset from a different country. You can find several recipes here. A spread of international charosets encourages a feeling of unity with Jews around the world.

For a second appetizer, serve baba ganoush with matzoh and cut vegetables. To take a shortcut, buy some from the store and serve it with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika on top. Just read the ingredients to make sure they didn’t sneak any non-K4P ingredients in there. You can make your own, but be aware that baba ghanoush can be hit or miss when you make your own. If you have a tried-and-true recipe that worked before, great. Blend eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, pine nuts, and olive oil to a desired consistency. Garnish with parsley and paprika.

An alternative to baba ghanoush is m’hamara, a blended Middle Eastern red pepper dip named with roasted red peppers, walnuts, and breadcrumbs (use matzoh, obviously). I think it is prettier and tastier than baba ghanoush, but most recipes call for pomegranate molasses. It is available at Middle Eastern specialty stores, but if you are not near one it may be tricky to find it or to find a recipe that does not call for it.

Soup

Passover isn’t Passover without matzoh ball soup. I defer to my favorite Jewish vegan chef, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, for a terrific vegan matzoh ball recipe. She recommends Mori-nu tofu as an egg replacer, but I am a little wary. I think Mori-nu has a funny flavor.

Isa also includes a recipe for homemade vegetable broth – but if you aren’t quite Martha Stewart in the kitchen, you can use the store-bought variety. For a special occasion like Passover, I think the homemade version is worth the time and effort it takes. In addition to matzoh balls and broth, any proper matzoh ball soup includes celery and carrots.

Salad

A salad is a nice way to incorporate some elements of the seder plate into your meal. Combine mixed baby greens with sprouts, fresh herbs (including parsley), hard boiled eggs (if you eat them), and tomatoes. Serve with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or another K4P vinaigrette as a dressing.

If you are entertaining a large party, you may wish to have other salads, such as a fruit salad or (if you eat beans during Passover) a cold bean salad.

Main Dishes

At a minimum, a balanced veg*n meal contains a green vegetable, an orange vegetable, and some form of protein. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can eat complete protein from dairy and eggs, but vegans must look to a combination of matzoh and nuts for their protein during Passover (unless you eat beans too).

My favorite green vegetables are Brussels sprouts and asparagus. I don’t like to put much effort into cooking them – they taste terrific oven-roasted and seasoned with salt and extra virgin olive oil. Additionally, if you are cooking for 12 people and trying to clean your house at the same time, an easy recipe like this one is a needed break.

For a traditional orange vegetable, make tsimmes.

Ingredients

  • 8 c. sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, & cut into large chunks
  • 2.5 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. locally produced honey (vegans use agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dots of butter, Earth Balance, or vegetable oil

Put veggies in a 13x9x2 inch pan. Mix honey or agave nectar, OJ, cinnamon, and salt and pour over veggies. Dot with butter or Earth Balance. Bake at 350 F covered in foil for 30 minutes. Remove and stir. Return to oven for 20 min.

As noted before, some Jews eat beans during Passover, and some don’t. If you do not eat beans and you are a vegan, you will need to include enough nuts in your diet to provide a complete protein. The advantage of beans over nuts is that beans are low fat, whereas nuts are high fat. Nuts have the “good” fat, but still, you don’t want to leave Passover fatter than you started it. Clearly, whoever made the rules didn’t consult a vegan first.

You will already have matzoh during the seder – and even in the dessert – and walnuts in the charoset. If you wish to add more nuts into your meal, you can make a vegan nut cheez or you can add nuts to your other dishes (for example, add walnuts or pecans to the tsimmes).

If you are entertaining a large party, look for other simple, vegetable, fruit, or nut-based dishes to round out your meal. For example, lemon-thyme mushrooms is an easy, healthy dish. For a starch, search online for a vegan Passover potato kugel or knish recipe.

If you do eat beans during Passover, here is a Passover adaptation of one of my favorite high protein vegetarian dishes.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. crumbled matzoh
  • 1 can dried chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can dried black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c water
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon (for a vegan brand, try Rapunzel)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin (to taste)
  • 1/3 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)

Saute the onion, carrot, and garlic in the oil until onions are translucent. Then, rinse and drain the beans and chickpeas, and add them to the vegetables. Crumble in the matzoh and add cumin, cayenne, and lemon juice. Just before serving, mix in the parsley. Serves 6.

Dessert

What, the afikomen isn’t enough? Dessert is always tricky during Passover. My all-time favorite dessert is a trio of sorbets (lemon, raspberry, and mango) served with fresh berries and a sprig of fresh mint. Read the ingredients on the sorbet to ensure it does not contain corn syrup. If you cannot find any K4P sorbet, it is easy to make your own using online recipes. The basic ingredients are fruit, sugar, and lemon juice or a liqueur of some sort.

Another option is an apple-matzoh crisp.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb tart apples
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 c. matzoh meal
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. crumbled matzoh
  • 4 tbsp. butter or Earth Balance
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

Peel, core and chop apples, toss in a bowl with lemon juice to prevent oxidation. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir into apples. Set aside.

In another bowl combine matzoh meal, sugar, and crumbled matzoh.

Cut butter or vegan margarine into 8 pieces, and cut butter into flour until mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in nuts. Grease a 10 X 10-inch baking dish. Spread apples in bottom of baking dish then sprinkle with matzoh mixture. Bake at 375 F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you like my recipes, you can find more at Persistent Vegetarian State. Chag Sameach!

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March 30, 2006. dessert, guest article, recipes, salad, seder, side dishes.

8 Comments

  1. Vampire Bear replied:

    my dear jewish friend tells me that quinoa is kosher for passover and is packed with protein.

  2. Renegade Kosher replied:

    Ah, yes… From here:
    Quinoa was determined to be Kosher L’Pesach. It is not related to the chameishes minei dagan-five types of grain products, nor to millet or rice. Quinoa is a member of the “goose foot” family, which includes sugar beets and beet root. The Star-K tested quinoa to see if it would rise. The result was as Chazal termed, sirchon; the quinoa decayed – it did not rise. Furthermore, quinoa does not grow in the vicinity of chometz, nor does its growth resemble kitniyos. Therefore, quinoa is 100% Kosher L’Pesach. It is recommended to purchase from manufacturers that do not process Chometz grains. Consumers are urged to carefully check grains before Pesach for extraneous matter. I’d nearly forgotten this humble yet delicious food. Thank you for reminding me and vegan kosher-keepers!

  3. Mark replied:

    Thank You

  4. mlmforyou replied:

    What’s new?
    Good luck! I also wish you every success.

  5. Pamela replied:

    Hi! I’m a member of the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK), the forum linked to in this article and can attest to Isa’s delicious matzoh ball recipe. I even eat the ball dough raw! I actually have some in my fridge right now ๐Ÿ™‚ Generally I add a little more carrot than called for.

    The tofu doesn’t just act as an egg replacer, it adds moisture and protein to the dish and helps with the structure of the dish. The mori-nu doesn’t have much flavor on its own, and it’s blended up anyhow, so I can assure you it doesn’t taste funny. I haven’t tried it with firm/Chinese tofu. Isa’s really nice and she’ll help you if you ask her.

    I do suggest cooking the balls on simmer. Too high a temperature will cause them to fall apart.

    Good Luck!

  6. jessicahartley replied:

    Hi Jill,

    I came across your blog in a search to find if Pine Nuts were kosher for passover or not and glad to see that they are! Though I am not a vegetarian, I love your blog! I’ve also posted some k4p recipes on my blog if you’d like to check them out here http://hartleyconfections.com/2009/04/06/why-is-this-night-different-than-all-other-nights/. I’d recommend the Cauliflower and Leek Kugel (with the additional spices the comments recommend). Chag Sameach!

    Jessica (Hartley Confections)

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  8. fake halloween blood recipes replied:

    Highly descriptive post, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

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