How To Go Vegan for Passover
Having a vegan family member for Seder this year? No need to worry! There’s a new cookbook with a handful of vegan recipes for the Jewish holidays.
By Sue Tomchin
Your daughter, a college freshman, is coming home for Passover, but there’s a surprise: She announces that she is now vegan. What do you do? You get a copy of Nava Atlas’ new book, Vegan Holiday Kitchen (Sterling, $24.95). Though Atlas has incorporated Jewish recipes into many of her previous vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, this book devotes an entire chapter to recipes for the Jewish holidays of Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah.
Atlas, who has been a vegetarian since she was a teenager and a vegan for the past nine years, says that Passover offers special challenges since recipes tend to rely so heavily on eggs to hold things together. Take matzoh balls, a Seder mainstay. “A lot of vegan matzo ball recipes out there use silken tofu for a binder, which, for many Jews, is not an allowed Passover food,” she writes. She uses quinoa flakes in her matzoh balls. Though she warns that these are not going to be like “Bubbe’s big, fluffy matzoh balls,” she adds that they aren’t going to be “cannonballs” and they are, in fact, easy to prepare and “quite tasty.”
Among her other traditional Ashkenazi offerings are Mock Chopped Liver, made with sautéed mushrooms and toasted cashews; Coconut-Almond Macaroons; and even Vegan Matzoh Brie, also made with quinoa flakes. She also provides recipes inspired by the Sephardi tradition: Eggplant Matzoh Mina; Spinach, Leek and Potato Matzoh Gratin, inspired by the layered matzoh casseroles found in Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean; Moroccan Carrots; Green Salad with Artichokes, Oranges and Pickled Beets; and Moroccan-Style Vegetable Soup. Recipes in the Rosh Hashanah section of the book will also work beautifully for Passover: Sweet Potato Tzimmes, Beet Borscht and Turkish Eggplant Stew. Those who struggle with finding something to serve for breakfast on Passover will appreciate the recipe for Passover Granola, and her Chocolate Matzo Brittle made with toasted nuts, raisins, cranberries or other dried fruits sounds like a winner.
“Whether you’re preparing a Seder or Thanksgiving dinner, the challenge is to create a meal that everyone is happy with,” Atlas says. “I’ve done this many times and no one leaves unhappy. It’s the attitude you bring to the table. Remember, the kinds of food that vegetarians and vegans eat are the foods everyone needs more of.”
Vegetarian Fare Fit for a Seder