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A foodie guide to keeping kosher for Passover

A foodie guide to keeping kosher for Passover

Not everything has to be turned upside down and inside out for Passover. Plenty of everyday recipes are perfectly acceptable, but we don’t realise because we’re so worried about staying kosher. When we get out the Passover cookbooks we can limit our diets for a week, and we often end up starving for half the day at work or completely overdosing on eggs.

This year, try my guide to getting you through the working day by simply adapting a few gorgeous Jamie Oliver recipes.

Breakfast at the desk

Last year I got through my mornings with a jar of readymade kosher-for-Passover granola. It didn’t taste that great, so this year I decided to make my own.

You can make one week’s worth of Passover-friendly granola that will last for about three weeks (slightly less than normal granola because matzah goes soft after a while and you really want a crunch). You can eat it with different fruit toppings and yoghurt, which makes the mornings feel like just another normal day rather than full of worry about not being full or having a stomach ache from too much fried Passover food.

I use Jamie’s granola recipe as a base, as it is really simple – just swap the oats for the same weight of smashed up matzah, and leave out the seeds. It’s a purse-friendly recipe, which is welcome at this time of year with all the extra expenditure on Passover foods. Simply go to your kosher shop and buy a pack of dried fruits, a pack of nuts, a box of matzah and a jar or bottle of honey and those ingredients will make your entire week’s breakfast. The fruit compote is delicious and very easy to make, and you can even make a couple different ones for the week and box them up to go with you to work.

Another great breakfast for when you have a little more time is Jamie’s Mexican breakfast recipe, which is colourful and bursting with beautiful spicy flavours.

Passover packed lunch

Most recipes just need a little adaptation to become kosher, but some need nothing at all. My plan for this year is based around leftover lunches. A great one is Jamie’s Hit ‘n’ run traybaked chicken, which you can cook the night before and use in your lunchbox the next day with some salad. No frying, no eggs, and a full stomach, as well as lots of flavour, which is amazing at this time of year when everything tends to taste the same. What a Passover win!

Another near-perfect Passover recipe is Jamie’s Quick salmon and potato al forno. Admittedly you will have to take out the fennel and probably the Parmesan (unless you have a really good Passover shop that stocks Parmesan, in which case lucky you!). Salmon doesn’t smell too fishy, so it is another recipe that you can box up the next day for lunch.

They don’t have to be leftovers – you can cook these dishes the night before for the sole purpose of making a few packed lunches for the next day. Because these recipes don’t take much effort you can just sling them into the oven while you’re eating dinner the night before.

Here are some more meal ideas for Passover:

Briam

Blanched asparagus – poached egg – fresh smoked salmon

Fish in a bag (minus the fennel)

New potatoes & trout

Snack time

We all know that feeling of looking at the clock with a rumbling stomach and realising you still have a few hours left. This is where the right snack can save the day

One of my favourite snacks for Passover takes inspiration from this simple guide to chocolate bark. I still look forward to Passover chocolate – it’s so different to normal chocolate; so creamy and rich. Obviously, you don’t want to scoff an entire bar as a snack; so use it to make some bark – as in the guide above – and take a couple of pieces with you to give a nice hit of energy and keep you going until dinner.

By Ella Miller


Food Favorite

While most people know about Passover seders, the holiday is actually observed for a whole week. What does that mean exactly? Well, for one thing, it means keeping Kosher for Passover.

Keeping Kosher for Passover is a bit different from just keeping Kosher. Here is a basic summary of the major laws of Kashrut or "keeping Kosher" literally proper or fit:

* You are not allowed to serve milk and meat in the same meal

* Only animals that chew their cud and have split hooves are permitted for example lamb and beef but not pork, and must be slaughtered in a special way

* Fish can be eaten but must have both fins and scales

Whether these laws were created for health reasons or for more humane treatment towards animals we may never know, but they have been in effect for a very long time and many people around the world observe them.

Kosher for Passover means keeping Kosher plus it means not eating any "leavened baked goods". Specifically you can't eat chometz which is anything that contains barley, wheat, rye, oats, or spelt and is not cooked within 18 minutes after coming in contact with water. Additionally Jews from Eastern Europe like myself, avoid corn, rice, peanuts, and legumes since they can be used to make bread. Lots of foods have additives that make them unsuitable for the holiday. For details on how the most observant Jews keep Kosher for Passover, check out this guide. It might seem silly, but think of it like giving something up for Lent. It's just a kind of reminder to keep you thinking about the themes of the holiday for a little while longer.

Because you don't use yeast, a lot of cakes, muffins and rolls use eggs, especially egg whites for leavening instead. Passover baked goods can be dry and rubbery. Fortunately Dannon All Natural yogurt is not only Kosher for Passover but a great ingredient to increase the tenderness in baked goods. If you are keeping Kosher you can use the plain, vanilla, coffee and lemon flavors of yogurt in recipes and as a substitute for higher fat dairy goods like cream cheese, sour cream and whipped cream which is something I do all year round.

This year I tried three recipes from Dannon that are specifically good for Passover. My favorite was a mini muffin recipe. It was so good I would make it year round.

Lemon Vanilla Yogurt Walnut Passover Mini Muffins courtesy of Dannon

2 tbsp. canola oil + 1 tbsp. for greasing pans
3/4 cup Passover cake meal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon peel, or more to taste
3/4 cup Dannon® Natural Flavors Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt
4 eggs separated
36 large walnut pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini muffin pans. In a large bowl, add cake meal, salt, ground walnuts, sugar and lemon zest.
2. In a medium size bowl, add 2 tablespoons of oil, yogurt and egg yolks and whisk together. Add to cake meal mixture and mix well.
3. In a clean dry bowl, add egg whites and beat until stiff. Gently fold 1/4 of the whites into cake mixture to lighten then fold rest of whites into mixture until just combined.
4. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture into each mini muffin pan, top with a piece of walnut and bake for 12-14 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.


Keeping Kosher for Passover? Try These 3 Spots

The Nemo roll at Genesis Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which also serves kosher sushi.

From April 10 through 18, the local Jewish community will celebrate the Israelites’ freedom from Egypt with Seder dinners and keeping kosher. Whether or not you count yourself among them, you can play along at these kashrut-keeping Meyerland restaurants.

Genesis Steakhouse & Wine Bar

The city’s sole upscale kosher eatery impresses with steak, duck and lamb, but fish is also a focus. There’s a wide range of shellfish-free sushi, as well as trendy tuna poke and snapper ceviche.

My Pita

The only restaurant in Houston completely devoted to Israeli cuisine, this spot even imports the country’s drinks and candy to pair with your meal. There’s schnitzel and shawarma, and should you feel like eggs, there’s shakshuka, too.

Saba’s Grill & Wok

The newest kosher restaurant in Houston, this sequel to Mediterranean-focused Saba’s Restaurant serves Mediterranean kebabs and wraps, as well as Chinese-American classics like dumplings and lo mein.


Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables Recipe

Non-Dairy Pie Hacks for Thanksgiving

My Jewish Learning is a not-for-profit and relies on your help

For many people, cooking kosher means dusting off their grandmother&rsquos cookbook, scouring through family recipe cards from the 1960s, and stealing ideas from the Temple Sisterhood. This may feel &ldquoretro-cool&rdquo for a minute, but when the Food Network, Anthony Bourdain, and Martha Stewart are pushing ham-and-milk-sauce to go with your shrimp-and-a-side-of-bacon, it can be enough to drive a foodie to the dark side of treif, or toward settling for a life of mediocre falafel.

However, enterprising amateur (and professional) kosher chefs need not despair. Here are some tricks for how to deconstruct treif recipes, and turn forbidden meals into something deliciously Jewish.

The Art of Substitution

In the event that a recipe calls for a non-kosher ingredient, the easiest thing to do is to look up its chemical substitution online. The best example is gelatin, which generally comes from the connective tissues of non-kosher animals. It is a key thickening agent in sauces and baking, as well as a glaze for traditional French desserts like fruit tarts.

There are certain kinds of vegetable gums used in commercial food manufacturing and processing&ndashguar gum, agar, and gum acacia&ndashthat can be used instead of gelatin. All of these are kosher and can be purchased online or at larger health food and Asian grocery stores. Agar, in particular, is a great substitute because one teaspoon of agar can replace one teaspoon of gelatin.

Flavor Profiling

When chefs create new recipes, they consider the flavor profile that they wish to achieve. The idea of a flavor profile is that what makes a dish taste good is more than just the sum of its ingredients&ndashit is a delicate balance of separate tastes, odors, and other impressions, such as silkiness in the mouth, aftertaste, heat, and spiciness.

When you come across a non-kosher recipe that intrigues you, consider how you can modify it with fresh herbs, spices, and non-traditional ingredients&ndashand still stay true to its flavor profile. Expand your repertoire by visiting international grocery stores, spice markets, and farmers&rsquo markets, where you can find a wide variety of culinary tools not readily available at the local supermarket.

For example, look out for high quality risotto, which is dairy-free but has a milky, cheesy quality. Another great piece of food magic is the variety of non-dairy &ldquomilks&rdquo available. You&rsquove probably heard of soy milk, but what about almond milk? This tastier version of non-dairy creamer is perfect for gravy or mashed potatoes.

The Treif Challenge

It might seem impossible to modify this recipe for Filet Mignon Wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon. Here is the recipe, first in non-kosher form, then deconstructed and re-imagined by flavor profiling, and thinking outside the treif box.

Filet Mignon Wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon
Serves 4.

2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon minced onion
4 filet mignon steaks
4 slices applewood smoked bacon

Coat the steak with butter, parsley, and minced onion. Wrap steak with bacon, using a tooth pick as a skewer. Grill until rare or medium rare.

The Kosher Solution

This recipe is obviously treif it contains bacon as well as meat mixed with dairy. Filet mignon is also a suspect cut. Since it is dangerously close to the sciatic nerve, it is nearly impossible to butcher according to Jewish law, and therefore extremely expensive and hard to find when it is kosher.

The flavor profile of this dish is mouth-watering: firmness of beef, juiciness of blood, glossiness of butter and pig fat, woodiness and crunch of bacon, sweet and peppery flavor, slightly tart herb taste of onion and parsley.

With that flavor profile in mind, the kosher chef creates the following:

Rib Eye with Chimichurri Sauce Wrapped in Turkey Bacon

4 Tablespoons chimichurri sauce
4 rib eye steaks with plenty of fat left on the cut
4 slices turkey bacon
1 Tablespoon cracked pepper

Chimichurri is a Dominican green sauce made of herbs and oil, and used for marinating. Its woody taste mimics the applewood bacon. Not only does this sauce have a luscious herbal flavor (a better substitute for the boring parsley/onion combination), it also contains vegetable or olive oil, which replaces the glossiness of butter.

Rib eye is, for the money, the best gourmet kosher beef cut. It has excellent marbling (fat to lean ratio, where there is just enough fat to create juiciness), and this means that the butter and the pig fat from the bacon will not be missed.

Finally, turkey bacon has the same crunchy texture and visual appeal of applewood bacon. In general, turkey, especially smoked, is an amazing pork substitute. It can also be honey baked to have the same taste and texture as ham.

Just like with the treif recipe, rub the steak in the marinade, wrap in the &ldquobacon,&rdquo insert toothpick, and grill. No one will be the wiser.

Having Fun With Limitation

What drives many people away from kosher cuisine is the idea of &ldquogiving up&rdquo the foods they want. No more cheese on the cheeseburger. No more baked potatoes loaded with bacon.

But in the past, Jews in every country in the Diaspora found ways to create kosher versions of their neighbors&rsquo food. Italian Jews took duck and smoked it to create duck prosciutto, the kosher cousin to the famous Italian salted ham. Jews in India replaced butter and yogurt with coconut milk and oil to make kosher meat curries.

Today, the secret is to have fun and think about how your creative substitutions make you part of a rich Jewish culinary history.


Passover This Year: Recipes for Keeping It Simple

FAMILY STYLE This roast chicken with thyme and honey, a simple recipe using just a few ingredients, makes a festive centerpiece for the Passover seder.

WHEN YEHUDA KIRSCHENBAUM was growing up, the week of Passover was synonymous with vacation. His father is the director of food and beverage at Presidential Kosher Holidays, which organizes upscale Passover retreats at hotels in Mexico and Arizona. (Think Club Med , but with communal seders.)

This Passover, Mr. Kirschenbaum, his wife, Debra Kamin, and their twin 3-year-old daughters were scheduled to travel from their home in San Marcos, Calif., to the Fairmont Mayakoba resort on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, to spend the holiday with Mr. Kirschenbaum’s parents. But on March 16, as schools and businesses around the country closed their doors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the family got word that the trip had been canceled. “My kids are old enough to be part of the children’s programming, and we were really looking forward to having a laid-back family trip,” Mr. Kirschenbaum said. “So this really feels like a sucker punch.”

Many people and businesses are shifting their Passover plans in order to follow social distancing guidelines. In Florida, a popular destination for the seder-bound, a group of Orthodox rabbis and medical professionals co-signed a letter strongly urging out-of-state visitors to stay home. “We have a halachic (Jewish legal) requirement to keep our communities safe,” the letter states. According to Presidential Kosher Holidays’ owner, Lynda Clare, though the majority of food and supplies needed to serve 550 guests for the week had already been shipped to Mexico, she knew what she had to do. “All the dishes, all the dry goods, kosher meat and wine are sitting in storage,” she said. “But we wanted to do the right thing, and the health of our guests is the most important.”

Social distancing means that many families will be apart for next week’s seder meal—an inherently social gathering that often brings multiple generations together around the table. “My 92-year-old grandmother lives a mile from my mother’s house in New Jersey, but it is not safe to visit her,” said Jeffrey Yoskowitz, a Brooklyn-based writer and food entrepreneur. “I can’t imagine a seder without her.”

Those who typically visit relatives for the holiday have found themselves playing the unexpected role of seder host. “At age 48, this will be the first Passover seder I make myself, and it will be just for me and my husband,” said Adeena Sussman, the author of “Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen,” who lives in Tel Aviv. “Do you even make a brisket for two people?” Instead of celebrating with resort guests as they have done for the last 30 years, Ms. Clare and her husband will share a quiet seder in their New York home. “We received a seder plate as a wedding gift, but I have no idea where it is,” she said.


What’s a kosher foodie to do?

Being a kosher foodie is not so impossible thanks to the wide variety of cuisine and recipes now available LESLIE PEREZ PHOTOS

A few months ago, a conversation on Jewish news and politics with a few of my peers turned to a topic I thought would be far less polarizing: food. I quickly learned, however, that people take their culinary exploits as seriously as they take their politics.

“You can’t be a kosher foodie,” one friend said.

“Too many restrictions,” he replied. “You can’t try all the new food trends and techniques.”

I pondered this for a moment before deciding to investigate. A quick Google search belied his claim.

Not only are there thousands of kosher foodies out there, but kosher food itself has experienced nothing short of a revolution over the past decade, catching up to trends in the wider culinary world.

The term “foodie” was first coined by American restaurant critic Gael Greene in a June 1980 edition of New York magazine. It gained popularity in culinary circles and continued to grow through the 1980s and 1990s.

Today, thanks to popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, many argue that foodie culture has reached dizzying new heights.

But what of Jewish foodies, and specifically kosher foodies? Do the dietary restrictions that come with being kosher actually make it impossible to be part of the foodie tribe? Can one be kosher and a foodie?

Food enthusiasts who spoke to The CJN seem to be in agreement: yes.

“A foodie is someone who’s thinking about dinner while they’re eating their lunch,” says chef Bob Blumer, host of Food Network programs like The Surreal Gourmet and World’s Weirdest Restaurants. “Being a foodie is maximizing the pleasure you get from what you’re eating, regardless of what your restrictions are. If you’re a celiac and you can’t eat wheat, that doesn’t mean you can’t gain pleasure from food and go out of your way to make everything you can eat delicious.”

It’s a common sentiment among food enthusiasts, kosher and otherwise.

“A foodie is someone who cares about food quality, ingredients, process, experience, and everything that goes along with it,” adds Dani Klein, 33, founder of YeahThatsKosher.com, a blog for kosher travellers. “There are kosher foodies, halal foodies, gluten-free foodies, organic foodies, lactose intolerant foodies, vegan foodies, carnivore-only foodies, etc. Just because one has a restriction doesn’t mean they can’t care about the quality.”

“Food restrictions might make a kosher (or other) foodie limited in terms of what we can have, but that doesn’t mean we are not lovers of good food,” Klein says. “Thanks to the web, there’s increased awareness of many hard-to-find kosher options in cities all over the world.”

The Internet has also enabled the kosher foodie revolution in other ways. It has increased awareness about kosher food in general – on Instagram, the hashtag #kosher has been used 270,900 times – but it’s also enabled a digital community of devout kosher foodies who share recipes, photos, and ideas with one another, thanks to a mutual, and delicious, common bond.

Montrealer Leslie Perez, founder of the blog Everyday Kosher, says the last five years in particular have seen an explosion in Jewish food culture. Jewish food finally has a voice, and it is influencing others in ways we could have never imagined. Through social media, we are connected to Jewish bloggers and foodies from around the world, from Texas to Morocco, and what unites us is that we are Jewish, love expressing our culinary art, and feed into that passion together as we share it.”

In Toronto, the community of kosher food enthusiasts is also on the rise.

Eran Marom, a founder of Mobius Culinary Labs, an R&D centre that develops new methods in cooking, attributes the rise of the kosher food scene in Toronto to a thirst for knowledge, and loyalty.

“In my 12 years working in Toronto’s kosher industry, I’ve found our kosher clients to be very open, and very loyal,” he says. “We’re seeing younger chefs being more creative and influenced by the kosher foodie scene in New York and Israel, which is obviously much bigger. I believe in the next few years we will continue to see big changes in Toronto’s kosher food industry.”

Marom also argues that having certain restrictions forces kosher chefs and foodies to be more creative.

“Limitation is the force of creativity,” he says. “Because we are so limited, every time someone makes something new, we all get excited. There’s nothing to be afraid of in the kosher industry, so kosher Jews always want to try new things. When a new kosher restaurant opens up in Toronto, everyone will go there.”

Norene Gilletz, chef, food blogger and CJN contributor, notes that although Toronto has a burgeoning kosher food culture, it pales in comparison to cities like New York or Tel Aviv.

“Even with kosher food being so much more available today, with fresh produce coming in from all over the world, it’s still so much harder here in Toronto than in the U.S.,” she says. “There they have kosher restaurants for everything, and millions of choices. It’s very different.”

In Montreal, home to a Jewish community of about 90,000, the restaurant scene has more or less stayed the same for many years, says Michel Ben-Haim, manager of Chops Kosher Restaurant.

“A lot of restaurants have come and gone, and it’s always the same places that have stayed open. The clientele is very limited. It’s not like in New York, where anybody eats kosher. In Montreal, it’s only members of the community or business meetings.”

The Montreal community is fairly conservative when it comes to food, he continues. “People here like simple food, but prepared with great ingredients. Everything needs to be fresh, clean-cut, and prepared properly.”

Daniel Davidzon, manager of marketing and communications for the Aroma Espresso Bar chain, says the demand for kosher food in Toronto has never been higher.

“We live in a time when people are more concerned than ever with what they eat, where it comes from, and how it’s made. Many are looking for accessible, affordable, and healthy options when eating out, and are looking to do so in modern restaurants serving modern cuisine. The food culture in Toronto is especially strong. Diners are exposed to ingredients and cooking styles from around the world and are savvy enough to realize they can be easily duplicated with special regard to dietary lifestyles such as keeping kosher.”

The kosher restaurant scene in the city is also getting more attention. In fact, May marks the second Kosher Restaurant Month in Toronto, an initiative of the Kashruth Council of Canada. The first one was held in 2013. More than 20 kosher restaurants are participating this year by offering patrons a 10 per cent discount. According to Richard Rabkin, the council’s managing director, Toronto is the only city in North America that has such a month-long event .

“Kosher restaurants are an important part of making a Jewish community viable, so we want to do our part to encourage people to visit their local kosher restaurants,” Rabkin says. “The more people who visit, the more viable they will be.”

“The kosher food market is definitely on the rise here,” adds David Blum, corporate executive chef at Toronto’s Savours Fresh Market kosher grocery. “Kosher consumers are more educated now, allowing companies to introduce new lines of different foods. Being a kosher foodie today is very exciting, because everything is new. No one was talking about beef bacon and kosher salami a few years ago. We’re taking items from the non-kosher market and twisting it around to meet our dietary needs.”

The rise in popularity of Food Network shows like Chopped and Master Chef has also helped, he says, because they influence and inspire Jewish chefs to do something similar.

“Being a foodie means you love to explore. When it comes to being kosher, it’s equally doable, you just have a smaller market to work with,” Blum says. “Just look at sushi. Twenty years ago, the only kosher restaurants were delis. Today, kosher sushi has become a staple in most Jewish communities.”

So it appears my friend really was wrong: you can keep kosher and call yourself a foodie.


Keeping Kosher for Passover

While most people know about Passover seders, the holiday is actually observed for a whole week. What does that mean exactly? Well, for one thing, it means keeping Kosher for Passover.

Keeping Kosher for Passover is a bit different from just keeping Kosher. Here is a basic summary of the major laws of Kashrut or "keeping Kosher" literally proper or fit:

* You are not allowed to serve milk and meat in the same meal

* Only animals that chew their cud and have split hooves are permitted for example lamb and beef but not pork, and must be slaughtered in a special way

* Fish can be eaten but must have both fins and scales

Whether these laws were created for health reasons or for more humane treatment towards animals we may never know, but they have been in effect for a very long time and many people around the world observe them.

Kosher for Passover means keeping Kosher plus it means not eating any "leavened baked goods". Specifically you can't eat chometz which is anything that contains barley, wheat, rye, oats, or spelt and is not cooked within 18 minutes after coming in contact with water. Additionally Jews from Eastern Europe like myself, avoid corn, rice, peanuts, and legumes since they can be used to make bread. Lots of foods have additives that make them unsuitable for the holiday. For details on how the most observant Jews keep Kosher for Passover, check out this guide. It might seem silly, but think of it like giving something up for Lent. It's just a kind of reminder to keep you thinking about the themes of the holiday for a little while longer.

Because you don't use yeast, a lot of cakes, muffins and rolls use eggs, especially egg whites for leavening instead. Passover baked goods can be dry and rubbery. Fortunately Dannon All Natural yogurt is not only Kosher for Passover but a great ingredient to increase the tenderness in baked goods. If you are keeping Kosher you can use the plain, vanilla, coffee and lemon flavors of yogurt in recipes and as a substitute for higher fat dairy goods like cream cheese, sour cream and whipped cream which is something I do all year round.

This year I tried three recipes from Dannon that are specifically good for Passover. My favorite was a mini muffin recipe. It was so good I would make it year round.

Lemon Vanilla Yogurt Walnut Passover Mini Muffins courtesy of Dannon

2 tbsp. canola oil + 1 tbsp. for greasing pans
3/4 cup Passover cake meal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon peel, or more to taste
3/4 cup Dannon® Natural Flavors Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt
4 eggs separated
36 large walnut pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini muffin pans. In a large bowl, add cake meal, salt, ground walnuts, sugar and lemon zest.
2. In a medium size bowl, add 2 tablespoons of oil, yogurt and egg yolks and whisk together. Add to cake meal mixture and mix well.
3. In a clean dry bowl, add egg whites and beat until stiff. Gently fold 1/4 of the whites into cake mixture to lighten then fold rest of whites into mixture until just combined.
4. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture into each mini muffin pan, top with a piece of walnut and bake for 12-14 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.


We celebrate the first night of Passover with the seder (and the second night in the diaspora). The Passover seder is a festive meal that follows the order of the Haggadah, which includes the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt.

The centerpiece of the seder is the seder plate which includes all the symbols from slavery to freedom that the story encapsulates. Included is charoset, a chutney like spread of apples, nuts and wine to symbolize the mortar that was used to build the pyramids and the bitter herbs to remind us of the difficult times our ancestors underwent.

On Passover we not only avoid unleavened bread, but most grains as well. So the food on Passover is unique and special in its way. Macaroons are almond cookies are popular desserts and chicken soup with matzo balls is a staple. Learn more about Passover with our collection of guides.


OU Kosher for Pesach Recipes

Miniature “Notsa” Balls (Chicken Kneidlach) Makes 2 dozen miniature balls

These low-carb chicken kneidlach are a luscious alternative to regular matzah balls. You can also substitute ground almonds for matzah meal, which makes the balls gluten free. Make your favorite recipe for chicken soup or vegetarian broth and serve it with these delicious, guilt-free kneidlach.

1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons fresh dill
1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
3 tablespoons matzah meal (or ground almonds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons club soda or cold water
10 cups salted water

Using the steel blade of a food processor, process the onion, celery and dill until minced, about 10 seconds. Add the ground chicken, egg, oil, matzah meal (or almonds), salt, pepper and club soda process just until mixed. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
In a large pot, bring the salted water to a boil. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Drop balls into the boiling water, cover tightly and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. Don’t peek! Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the balls from the water and transfer to bowls of hot chicken soup or vegetable broth.

Note: These “notsa” balls keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, and they reheat well. They also freeze well for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Info: 39 calories each, 1.4 grams carbohydrate, 0.1 gram fiber, 3 grams protein, 2.3 grams fat (0.6 gram saturated), 21 milligrams cholesterol, 65 milligrams sodium, 17 milligrams potassium, 3 milligrams calcium
With ground almonds, each ball contains 40 calories, 0.7 gram carbohydrate, and 2.6 grams fat.
Chef’s Secrets:
Hidden Treasure: Stuff the notsa balls with any of the following: shredded carrots, finely minced parsley, cooked chopped spinach, sautéed chopped mushrooms or onions. To stuff, poke a hole with your finger in the center of each ball. Close the opening and re-roll the balls so that the filling is hidden.
Frozen Assets: “Notsa” balls can be cooked in advance, then frozen in chicken soup. Alternatively, cook them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in muffin pans until firm, then transfer to plastic freezer bags and freeze until needed. There’s no need to thaw first—just reheat them directly in the simmering soup! They will take about 10 minutes to defrost.
Grind It Right: Ground chicken usually contains dark meat, which increases the fat content. Ask your butcher to grind skinless, trimmed chicken breasts. Or, you can grind the chicken breasts yourself in a food processor. Cut 1 pound chilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks and process 15 to 20 seconds until minced.

“Notsa” Balls from a Mix Makes 3 dozen miniature balls

This tasty, low-carb recipe uses a packet of matzah ball mix. Serve the “notsa” balls in chicken soup or as a side dish. They also taste terrific when reheated in the defatted pan juices from brisket or roast chicken.

1 pound lean ground chicken
2 large eggs
(or 1 large egg plus 2 egg whites)
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons club soda or cold water
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 packet matzah ball mix
(or gluten-free matzah ball mix)
10 cups salted water

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken with the eggs, oil, club soda, dill and matzah ball mix combine well. Cover and chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
In a large pot, bring the salted water to a boil. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Drop into the boiling water, cover tightly and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through. Don’t peek! Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the balls from the water and transfer to bowls of hot chicken soup or vegetable broth.

Note: These “notsa” balls keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, and freeze well for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Info: 30 calories each, 1.4 grams carbohydrate, 0.1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein, 1.7 grams fat (0.4 gram saturated), 20 milligrams cholesterol, 97 milligrams sodium, 4 milligrams potassium, 6 milligrams calcium

Honey ‘N Herb Turkey Breast 10 servings

Everyone at your table will gobble this up! Mango juice adds a marvelous flavor to the turkey, but orange juice will also add its own special twist.

3 onions, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 boneless rolled turkey breast
(about 4 pounds)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika
1 cup mango or orange juice

Marinade:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
(preferably fresh)
2 cloves garlic
(about 2 teaspoons minced)
2-3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the onions and red pepper in the bottom of the pan. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables season with salt, pepper and paprika.
In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients mix well.
Drizzle the turkey and vegetables with the marinade, coating the turkey on all sides. Drizzle the mango juice over and around the turkey. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days, basting occasionally. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Roast the turkey, covered, for about 2 hours (about 25 to 30 minutes per pound). Uncover the turkey for the last 30 minutes of cooking baste occasionally. When done, the juices will run clear when pierced with a fork, and a meat thermometer, when inserted into the thickest part of the bird, should register an internal temperature of 165 to 170°.
When the turkey is cooked, remove the pan from the oven, cover and let stand for 20 minutes before thinly slicing. Serve with the pan juices.

Note: The turkey will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, and it reheats well. It also freezes well for up to 4 months.

Nutrition Info: 263 calories per serving, 11.3 grams carbohydrate, 0.7 gram fiber, 44 grams protein, 3.9 grams fat (0.7 gram saturated), 119 milligrams cholesterol, 83 milligrams sodium, 498 milligrams potassium, 3 milligrams iron, 33 milligrams calcium

Chef’s Secrets:
Be Prepared: Prepare and cook the turkey breast as directed. Thinly slice and place in a casserole dish top with pan juices. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days. Reheat, covered for 20 minutes at 350°.

No Bones About It: If a rolled turkey breast isn’t available, use an unrolled turkey breast, allowing 20 to 25 minutes cooking per pound. If you can’t find one large turkey breast, use 2 smaller ones. Use an instant-read thermometer to prevent overcooking.

Pesach Vegetable Muffins Makes 10 muffins

Vegetarian heaven! These colorful veggie muffins make an excellent side dish or are perfect as a healthy snack. I like to throw in some garlic, red pepper and fresh dill to add color and boost the flavor. A food processor helps to speed up the preparation and is well worth the investment.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (about 1 teaspoon minced)
1/2 red or green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup grated zucchini, well-drained (about 1 small zucchini)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup matzah meal
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray 10 compartments of a muffin pan with cooking spray and fill 2 compartments with water.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic in hot oil for 5 minutes or until golden. Add the pepper, celery, carrots and zucchini. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes longer, until tender, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper and matzah meal mix well. Scoop the batter into the compartments of the muffin pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then carefully remove from pan.

Note: This recipe easily doubles and triples. The muffins keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and reheat well. They also freeze well for up to 2 months.

Nutrition Info: 100 calories per muffin, 11.6 grams carbohydrate, 0.8 gram fiber, 3 grams protein, 4.4 grams fat (0.8 gram saturated), 63 milligrams cholesterol, 269 milligrams sodium, 128 milligrams potassium, 1 milligram iron, 19 milligrams calcium

Vegetable Kishka Makes 48 slices

Prepare the vegetable mixture above as directed. Spoon half of the mixture onto a sheet of foil that has been well-sprayed with cooking spray. Wet your hands for easier handling and form the mixture into a long roll, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap well in foil. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Place both rolls on a baking sheet and bake at 375° for about 45 minutes. Unwrap and cut into 1/2-inch slices.

Variations:
Try using parsnips, broccoli or an herb such as basil or parsley instead of carrots, zucchini or dill.

Chocolate Almond Apricot Clusters Makes 48 clusters

These chocolates are so good, you’ll pray they last until the end of Pesach! Chocolate lifts your spirits when you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed with Pesach preparations, and these no-bake treats are the perfect “pick-me-up.” They are also a wonderful and easy gift to bring to a Seder. Everyone will “cluster” around you when you bring these to the table!

10 ounces good-quality dark chocolate
(bittersweet or semi-sweet)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups toasted almonds, sliced or slivered
1 1/2 cups dried apricots, cut up

Break the chocolate into chunks and place in a large, dry microwaveable bowl. Microwave on medium, uncovered, for 2 minutes, then stir. Continue microwaving on medium for 1 to 2 minutes longer until the chocolate is just melted stir well. Cool slightly before stirring in oil, almonds and apricots.
Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes or until firm. Transfer clusters to an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment or waxed paper.

Note: The best way to cut the apricots is to use scissors. The clusters keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator—if you hide them well! They also freeze well for up to 4 months.

Nutrition Info: 66 calories per piece, 6.7 grams carbohydrate, 1.2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein, 4.9 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated), 1 milligram sodium, 84 milligrams potassium, 12 milligrams calcium


Passover Recipe Substitution Chart

When did Pesach become like the riddle of the Sphynx? Yes, I see the irony… Seriously though, it’s all fun and games when you’re a kid. Chocolate lollipops and spreading cream cheese on shmura matzah without breaking it.

Then it’s frantically figuring out what to feed your finicky toddlers without Cheerios and pasta. Next, it’s menus, guests, cooking marathons and NO TAKE OUT! Then it’s back to fun, comfort, grandchildren (iy”H) and enjoying those arba kosot.

So, can you guess my stage? I’m not sure how or why, but I found myself frantically planning menus around Chanukah. Luckily, I calmed down somewhere around Purim Katan (gotta love that extra month).

I remembered my Substitution Guide motto. Keep. It. Simple.

Each year on Pesach, I prepare recipes that have proven to be successful all year round and are permissible (albeit with some tweaks) on Pesach. The right recipe and the right ingredient substitutions can make all the difference between a satisfied family and your crying over the remains at the trash can.

But before you begin swapping out ingredients on your favorite layer cake, read through the recipe you want to adapt very carefully. Consider the quantity of the ingredient you’d have to replace and look it up here to see if you can do it with ease.

Remember, this stretch of the Sphynx riddle lasts the longest, so find a way to make it work for you. Stick with recipes you know, and you’ll be assured a tasty and stress-free eight days!


Six Non-Dairy Gourmet Passover Dessert Recipes

Artificial and processed kosher-for-Passover ingredients simply don’t taste good. But that਍oesn’t mean we can’t satiate our sweet tooth on Passover with something sweet and divine. The following selection of recipes incorporate only all natural ingredients — no compromises. They are also interchangeable, complimenting each other to enable you to widen your dessert repertoire.

Serve the chocolate macaroons on their own, or sandwich them with sorbet or chocolate ganache in the middle. You can also layer the ganache with the vacherin or nut torte — or shaped it into truffles. Mix and match to suit your tastes — and enjoy sweet endings to each and every meal.

Sophisticated and simple. These macaroons are easy and gluten free. I fill my macaroons with sorbet and keep them on hand for a stylish dessert or snack. You canਊlso fill them with the chocolate-mango ganache for a smooth, creamy center.

Recipe Note: What if I can&apost find kosher for Passover almond powder? You may be able to find either almond powder or fine almond flour, but if not, you can make your own. Place 2 cups skinned, blanched almonds in the work bowl of a food processor and add 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar to the almonds (this will keep the almonds from turning into almond butter). Process the almonds for 1 minute. Stop the processor and scrape down the bowl. Continue doing this for another 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until the almonds are very fine and powdery. Measure the almond powder and eliminate the added 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar from the recipe.

This gorgeous layered dessert is light and refreshing. I make the meringue layers in individual sized discs so my guests can each have their own dessert. The meringue can easily be made into larger layers and the dessert can be assembled as a larger torte. Similar to an ice box cake, this dessert sets up in the freezer and can be made several days ahead of serving.

Purchase the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find. For this recipe, I use an oil from France that is buttery, fruity, and rich with no harsh taste of bitterness. It is expensive𠅋ut since the olive oil is my fat of choice for all my pareve and fleishig meals during the holiday and year round, it is worth it.

Because this recipe is all about chocolate, it goes without saying that the chocolate has to be great in order to make a great mousse. During Passover, I use Schmerling’s 70% Bittersweet Chocolate. When Passover is over, I use Callebaut 71% Bittersweet Chocolate.

Ersatz ingredients never taste as good as the real thing. I only cook with real ingredients. Purchase the best ingredients you can and your food will always taste great.

Recipe Note: Vanilla or a Vanilla Bean? Kosher for Passover vanilla is very overpriced and doesn&apost nearly have the flavor of a vanilla bean. It’s worth it to use a real vanilla bean to gift all your desserts with delicious flavor. To scrape a vanilla bean, slice the bean lengthwise and scrape the back of your knife along the inside halves to remove the thick gooey paste inside. Use this paste. Save the bean to put in your sugar container for vanilla scented sugar.

A classic ganache has cream and butter in it. I love it for dairy meals. This ganache is pareve and works well for cake fillings, frosting, and truffles.