Passover is coming soon. It’s probably my favorite holiday, but also the most stressful. It’s stressful for everyone, of course, but as a plant-based Ashkenazi Jew, it’s extra “special.” So what does a plant-based Ashkenazi Jew eat during Passover?
For those of you who don’t know, Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrating the exodus from Egypt. For 8 days, we don’t eat chametz (leavened bread products) or kitinyot (rice and legumes). So without meat, eggs, dairy, bread, beans, lentils, rice….what’s left to eat?
Part of my strategy is to look at what there is to eat, rather than what there isn’t. So potatoes, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, avocado, etc. come to the forefront of my plate.
Next, I try to keep things simple. Really simple. For non-seder nights, I’m happy to have a baked potato with pesto and some roasted vegetables for dinner. The fewer fancy meals you need to cook, the easier it will be. It’s just one week – the fancy recipes can wait a few days!
Finally, look at recipes that you ordinarily like that are kosher for Passover by default. During the year I save these type of recipes and then pull them out this time of year when it’s time to figure out what to eat. There are more than you might think – plenty of soups, salads and main dishes are chametz-free.
Thoughts on what to eat for a plant-based Passover.
-The Much-Maligned Potato
- Baked potato with a variety of toppings – I am partial to mashed avocado and a little salt, or a homemade pesto. I bake up a whole lot of potatoes at the beginning of the week so that they’re ready to go when I’m hungry.
- Roasted, with a dipping sauce.
- Serve mashed potatoes one night, and make extra. Use the leftovers to make these mashed potato spinach patties.
- I think a variation on Dr. McDougall’s Baked Potato Salad would make a great cold lunch.
- Again, baked or roasted, with a topping or dipping sauce.
- Sweet potato salad – roasted chunks of sweet potato, chopped onion, dried cranberries and a balsamic vinaigrette
- Now is a fun time to experiment with different starchy vegetables (or are plantains a fruit?). I like to roast very ripe (i.e. black) plantains and eat them sprinkled with a bit of salt. This year I’m thinking about rolling them in unsweetened dessicated coconut before roasting for a new twist on an old favorite.
-Quinoa (keep our quinoa safe for Passover!)
- Quinoa porridge is my go-to breakfast – just plain cooked quinoa with some homemade almond milk and fresh fruit
- Quinoa pilaf for a lunch/dinner side or main dish
- My family has enjoyed Mama Pea’s zucchini quinoa lasagna
- This year I’m thinking about trying out one of the many Thai-fried quinoa recipes available online, such as this one (without the soy sauce or tofu)
- This Coconut Caribbean Quinoa can also be easily adapted for Passover
- This Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad (again, omit the cumin) is another winner – it is beautiful and delicious
- Quinoa Pattycakes
- Cut a spaghetti squash in half, microwave it until fully cook, then scrape out the strands. Top with tomato sauce. Or toss it with some lime juice, chopped red onion and a bit of salt.
- Ethiopian cabbage (omit the cumin) - This is one of my family’s favorite Passover recipes. Last year we fought over the leftovers.
- Stuffed peppers/onions/other veggies – stuff with quinoa, nuts and dried fruit for a sweet filling, or quinoa cooked with tomato sauce for a savory filling
- Quinny’s Sri Lankan Kale – I made this last year, omitting the cumin and black beans.
- With some simple adaptation, this Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole is a great Passover dish.
- Guacamole (thanks Stefanie, for the great idea!) – it’s delicious on everything!
- Cauliflower cocktail – we served this for our seder last year and it was great! Boil cauliflower until tender in water mixed with seasoning (we used turmeric for color, along with some onion and garlic). Drain and serve with cocktail sauce (horseradish mixed with ketchup). Even the non-veggie lovers were fighting over this.
- Think veggies – potato, butternut squash, mixed veggie.
- Baked apples, roasted pear
- Quinoa pudding – like rice pudding, but made with quinoa. Use almond milk as a base.
- I’m thinking about trying to adapt Dreena Burton’s Three’s Company Pie for Passover this year.
So those are some of my suggestions. Please leave your suggestions in the comments section!
Shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays.