Deeply rooted in history, Passover is a holiday rich in traditions, food included. You might have recipes that have been handed down through the generations of your family. It just wouldn’t be Passover without them at the table. But every now and then, you might want a new take on an old classic, or you might need to find a way around an allergy. Whether your menu is composed of traditional brisket or food allergy-friendly fare, we’ve rounded up 11 recipes to help you start planning Passover meals.
1. Matzo Ball Soup
For a quick and easy matzo ball soup, turn to this recipe, from Aviva Goldfarb on PBS. It has a serving size of 2 cups and makes eight servings.
- 1 package (4.5 ounces) matzo ball mix (sold in supermarkets with kosher foods)
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 64 ounces reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 large carrots, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Directions: Prepare the matzo ball mix according to the package directions. (For most packages, mix the matzo meal with 4 beaten eggs and ½ cup oil, stir, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Do not over-mix.)
Set a large pot of water to boil. Once it boils, add salt to the boiling water. Using wet hands, gently form the matzo ball mixture into 1-inch balls and carefully drop them into the water. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 minutes (reduce heat if necessary, to keep it at a low boil).
After adding the matzo balls to the boiling water, bring the broth to a boil in a separate large pot. Add the carrots and celery and simmer for 15 minutes. When the matzo balls are cooked, using a slotted spoon, carefully remove them from the salted water and add them to the pot with the vegetables. (At this point you can serve the soup immediately or refrigerate it for up to three days). Add the dill and black pepper and serve hot, making sure to put a matzo ball and some vegetables into each bowl.
Traditionally served at Seder, charoset is a dish filled with nuts — problematic for anyone with a nut allergy. If this is a concern, try this version from Melanie Cooks, which takes away the nuts but retains the dish’s other classic flavors.
- 2 apples, peeled and sliced
- ⅓ cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons kosher grape juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Put the raisins in the food processor and process until very finely chopped. Add apples, cinnamon and grape juice. Pulse a few times, until apples are finely chopped. Do not overprocess — apples should be chopped, not liquid.
3. Homemade Matza
Instead of buying matza, you could make your own unleavened bread. Tammy’s Recipes did this for Passover one year and found it was a huge hit. There are only six ingredients, and it makes six cookie sheets of matza.
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 1½ cups water
- 6 to 6½ cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, honey, salt, eggs, and water. Stir until well mixed. Stir in about 4 cups of the flour, then add more flour as needed and knead into a fairly stiff dough.
Divide dough into 3 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a large rectangle. You can make your matza as thin or as thick as you wish; we like ours rolled fairly thin (not thicker than pie crust, for example). Cut rolled dough into squares — a pizza cutter is a handy tool to use for this step. Place squares onto lightly greased baking sheets. Prick with a fork. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
For thin matza, bake 10-11 minutes. For medium matza, 13-14 minutes. For thick matza, bake 15-20 minutes or until done. Matza should be very lightly browned on top. Over-baked matzah will be hard and not very good, so be careful to not bake too long! Removed baked matzah from baking sheet and place on wire rack to cool, covered with a clean towel. Store in an airtight container or bag.
4. Potato Kugel with Fried Shallots
Crispy yet creamy is Food & Wine’s take on potato kugel. It can be baked the day before, refrigerated overnight, and reheated in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 5 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely grated
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup boiling water
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil until simmering. Add the shallots and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a plate. Reserve the shallot oil.
Working in batches, squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible from the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl as you go. Add the grated onion, potato starch, salt, black pepper, and grated nutmeg, and stir well. Stir in the whole eggs, egg yolks, olive oil and boiling water, then stir in the fried shallots.
Heat two 8-by-11 half-inch flameproof or enameled cast-iron baking dishes over high heat until they are very hot to the touch. Add 2 tablespoons of the shallot oil to each baking dish and heat until smoking. Carefully spread the potato mixture in the sizzling baking dishes.
Transfer the potato kugels to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the kugels for 40 minutes longer, until golden and crisp on the sides. Preheat the broiler. Broil the potato kugels as close to the heat as possible for about 2 minutes, until they are browned and crisp on top. Let the potato kugels stand for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
AllRecipes.com has a beef brisket made in a crock pot or slow-cooker. This is a perfect way to develop rich flavors while saving time in the kitchen. It is also very basic, so you can add the traditional vegetables or spices of your choosing.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 (4 pounds) beef brisket
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 2 onions, thickly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Season the brisket generously with black pepper. Place in the pan and cook until the surface is a rich brown color — not burnt, but dark. Lift the roast and scatter the onions in the pan. Place the uncooked side of the roast down onto the onions. Repeat the browning process.
Add the garlic to the pan and fill with enough water to almost cover the roast. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid or tight-fitting aluminum foil. Simmer for 4 hours, turning the roast over once halfway through. The roast should be fork tender. Remove the brisket to a serving platter. Bring the broth in the pan to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen any browned bits. Cook until reduced to a thin gravy. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
6. Rosemary Apple Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (2 to 3 pounds)
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
- 4 apples, cored and sliced
- 4 sprigs rosemary
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the chicken, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, then sprinkle with salt. Arrange the apples around the chicken in the baking dish. Place the sprigs of rosemary under the chicken. Bake for 90 minutes, until browned on the outside. Serve.
7. Lemony Potatoes
New York rabbi Jonathan Waxman shared some of his favorite Passover dishes with Newsday, including these lemon-flavored potatoes. The side dish makes between eight and 12 servings.
- 2 lemons
- 8 Yukon Gold potatoes (2½ to 3 pounds)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 cup chicken broth
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove zest from lemons using a vegetable peeler. (Try not to get the white pith.) Stack the ribbons of zest and use a sharp knife to slice finely. Cut the lemons in half and juice them; you should have about ⅓ cup. (If you don’t, add the juice of an additional lemon.)
Cut the potatoes into 1-inch-thick wedges and place them and the oil in a baking dish large enough to accommodate them in one layer. Add the lemon zest and juice, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss to combine. Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover dish, add chicken broth, and continue to cook until broth has evaporated and potatoes are tender and starting to brown, about 40 minutes.
8. Carrot-Ginger Soup
Helen Nash at JWeekly shared her recipe for carrot-ginger soup, as well as a few other dishes to make during Passover that are quick and easy to prepare.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1¾ pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 extra carrot for garnish
- 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 5½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, apple, and ginger, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, covered, about 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
Cool a little. Puree the soup in a blender, in batches, until smooth. Return it to the saucepan. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.
To prepare the garnish, steam the remaining carrot until just tender and grate. Before serving, sprinkle each bowl with the grated carrot.
9. Chewy, Gooey, Flourless Chocolate Cookies
If you’re looking for alternatives to the traditional flourless chocolate cake, consider a plate of flourless cookies. Start with Recipe Girl’s chewy chocolate cookies.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅔ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. If you use parchment paper, give it a light swoosh of nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar with cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in egg whites (start with just two) and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened. You’re looking for a brownie-like, thick, and fudge-y batter consistency. If it seems too thick, add another egg white, then a fourth one if it still seems too thick. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds per cookie sheet. Bake about 14 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto wire racks. Let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to three days.
10. Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Julie Unger provided a chocolate chip macaroon recipe to Jewish Boston and said even her limited baking skills extended to these macaroons. Simple, sweet, and tasty, they are another option for your dessert table.
- 14 ounces Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut (sweetened)
- 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk (Carnation brand preferred)
- ¾ bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- parchment paper
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop heaping spoonfuls of the mix onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (You can also use greased cookie sheets.) Make sure the macaroons are 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden on top (depending on your oven, it might take up to 15 to 17 minutes). Place macaroons on cooling rack before serving.
11. Date and Almond Truffles
Naturally sweetened by honey and dates, make Cooking Light’s truffles for a dessert or snack. The truffles can be stored in an airtight container for five days.
- 2½ cups whole pitted dates
- 2 cups slivered blanched almonds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut, toasted
Directions: Place first five ingredients in a food processor. Process 45 seconds, scraping down sides as needed, or until mixture forms a thick paste. Place coconut in a shallow bowl. Shape the almond mixture into 36 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in toasted coconut.