It seems like not a day goes by that I don’t hear about someone who is dealing with a newly diagnosed food allergy, food intolerance, or auto-immune reaction to food. With this in mind, and with Passover only a little over a month away, I thought it would be a great time to do a little research on vegan Passover recipes, gluten-free Passover recipes, vegetarian Passover recipes, and dairy-free Passover recipes. So often, we have dinner guests who are dealing with food intolerances, or, we are invited to the home of someone who has a food allergy or whose guests may suffer from an auto-immune food reaction. I thought, with a little planning, anyone can make a thoughtful contribution to the Passover Seder.
Gluten-Free Passover Recipes For Celiacs: A Cause For Celebration!
My niece, Rachel, has celiac disease, which is an intolerance to anything containing glutens, a protein found in barley, oats, wheat or rye. (You can read about her Bat Mitzvah on the blog ~ remember her gorgeous gluten-free cake?) Because the basic rule for Passover is no leavened foods, the holiday is actually fantastic for those with celiac disease. Many, though not all, Passover foods are gluten free, with potato flour and nut flours used in place of the usual wheat flours. At Passover, supermarkets and bakeries have a much wider selection of celiac friendly foods than usual. This can be a good time to stock up on gluten- free cakes and mixes, cookies, macaroons, “bread” crumbs, and supplies like potato starch. Look for food labels indicating “Kosher For Passover”, “non-gebrok” (or “non-gebroktz” or “non-grebrochts”) — this means that the foods do not contain grains and, therefore, have no gluten containing ingredients.
My sister, Sandy, (Rachel’s mom), was kind of enough to refer me to this recipe on the Living Without magazine website. She has made these gluten free (and dairy free!) mock matzos and she tells me they are definitely worth a try! (With this and all recipes mentioned in this blog post, make sure your ingredients are Kosher!)
Gluten Free Mock Matzos
⅔ cup potato starch
⅔ cup almond meal or brown rice flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, margarine or vegetable
6 tablespoons warm water
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Add water, a little bit at a time, combining until dough forms a ball. (Add additional 1 to 2 tablespoons water if using brown rice flour.) Knead well. If dough is sticky, sprinkle with a little more potato starch while kneading.
4. Break off small pieces and place on a sheet of lightly oiled plastic wrap or parchment paper. Press with your fingers or roll until flat and thin. Prick rows of holes in each matzo with a fork.
5. Place matzo on prepared cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Thinner matzo can over-bake quickly so keep an eye on it.
Vegetarian Passover Recipes ~ Is Your Passover A Festival of Meats?
With all the restrictions around Passover regarding eating any bread, cake, muffins, etc., many people turn Passover into a festival of meats and this can be a little tricky for those who are entertaining a vegetarian – someone who does not consume animal flesh. There are so many wonderful vegetarian entrees that would be great for Passover – ones that focus on eggplant or squash come to mind. The recipe I would like to share is one that is inspired by my personal favorite chef, Nigella Lawson, and happens to be gluten-free as well! The recipe is called Eggplant Involtini with Feta. Translated from Italian, the word ‘involtini’ means “wrapped around something else” and this dish wraps eggplant around a delicious cheese filling. It is great as a Passover leftover the next day too!
Eggplant Involtini with Feta
2-3 large eggplants, cut lengthwise in thin slices
3 cups (about 1 jar) tomato sauce
2 cups crumbled feta cheese plus extra for topping
1 cup grated parmesan plus extra for topping
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (optional)
1/2 cup black or kalamata olives, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
zest from 1 lemon
a good pinch of dried mint
2 Tbsp parsley
Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and grill or roast them in a 400-degree oven until soft, about 10 minutes per side.
Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Put about a tablespoon of filling on each eggplant slice and roll it up firmly. Use a toothpick to hold in place, or just ensure that the edge is tucked underneath the roll to prevent it from coming undone.
Layer the slices in a 9×13 dish, and cover with tomato sauce. Top with any remaining filling, or extra cheese if you have. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. The involtini should be served warm.
My niece, Amy, just had her first baby, Avery, and Amy has adopted a dairy-free diet due to Avery’s issues with dairy being passed through the breast-milk.
Amy’s friend told her about this delicious dairy-free (and gluten-free!) recipe for a flourless chocolate cake she traditionally serves at Passover. Amy decided to try it out and posted about it on her blog, On Three. Take a look, it’s a beautiful presentation! Thanks Amy!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
1 stick Earth Balance butter replacer (100% vegan, gluten free and certified Kosher)
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (Kosher)
3 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Kosher)
1/4 cup water
1 cup egg whites (appx 5-7 eggs) and their yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
Bake cake for 1 hour at 350 degrees in a 9 inch springform, using a bain marie with water about halfway up (this basically means that you put your cake pan in a larger baking pan – like the kind you’d use to roast a turkey – filled with hot water. It’s supposed to distribute the heat better during baking).
1) Spray your pan and dust it with cocoa and preheat the oven to 350.
2) Pour water and 1 cup of sugar in heavy saucepan, bring to a boil. If you have a candy thermometer, it should get to about 220 degrees. If not, just let it boil and give it a mix until it’s pretty clear.
3) Remove pan from heat and stir in chocolate. When it is combined, start to add butter, 1 tbsp at a time, stir until combined. Set aside.
4) Beat egg whites, then add their yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar, beat on high until tripled in volume.
5) Turn to low and continue to beat. Add chocolate mixture (which will be a little cool by now). Don’t overbeat.
6) Pour into springform pan, place into larger baking pan, surrounded halfway up with boiling water. Bake for one hour at 350. Top of cake should be firm to back of spoon, toothpick should come out clean. Cool completely on a rack.
7) Coat cake top with chocolate ganache (see recipe below) or dust top with powdered sugar, decorate with raspberries or any fruit you choose!
Chocolate Ganache Icing:
4 oz semisweet chocolate (Kosher)
3 tbsp Earth Balance butter replacer
1 tbsp milk (I used soymilk)
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Melt chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and add milk, honey, and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.
When cake has cooled, pour glaze into center. Using a spatula, gently smooth the glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make cake easier to slice.
Vegan Passover Recipes ~ Vegetarian Plus A Whole Lot Less!
Vegan foods are those that do not contain animal products. While vegetarians choose not to eat flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs. So basically, vegans are vegetarians who take it to a whole other level!
On Passover, there are certain requisite dishes that might leave a vegan feeling left out. One of these is definitely matzo ball soup! After a lot of research, I found a recipe for vegan matzo ball soup that is highly praised online and, they say, comes closest to tasting like real matzo ball soup! Here is the recipe reprinted exactly from the site:
Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
Start with a box of Streits’ or Manischewitz matzo ball mix. For eggs – use egg replacer powder. The matzo ball box comes with two envelopes. For each envelope they ask for 2 eggs however this needs to be tripled….the equivalent egg replacer for 6 eggs per individual package. Whisk the mixture. Add the oil as directed. (do not increase amt. ) Whisk again. Then add the contents of one envelope of matzo ball mix. If the batter seems to be a bit loose, add 1-2 tablespoons of matzo meal. Combine well. Leave the bowl in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Remove – roll into 12-15 balls. Reduce your large pot of boiling water to a simmer. Gently place balls in water and cover tightly. (there must be no rolling boil). Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool. Refrigerate. Reheat in the soup.
The author recommends using vegan chicken soup powder that can be found at Whole Foods or similar stores.
So Much To Know About Passover For Those With Dietary Restrictions!
Of course this little blog post is not comprehensive since many people who are making a Passover Seder are also dealing with other restrictions, such as wheat, lactose, caseine, corn, soy, nuts ~ the list goes on! We can all learn so much by speaking to our doctors or a nutritionist, doing some online research, and, most importantly, by reading food labels! Learn what it means to be Kosher for Passover and how many of these foods may fall in line with a dietary restriction you are dealing with. I suggest a visit to OurKosher.org. It is an amazing resource of information on the meaning of the Kosher certification, as well as its distinction from those foods that are certified as Kosher for Passover. For example, did you know that as an added bonus for people with multiple restrictions, most Kosher for Passover products contain no corn or soy products either? Great to know!
This Passover, you can be prepared in case you are entertaining a loved one who has a restricted diet. Try one or two of these delicious Passover recipes and, just to make it extra special, set a beautiful table or bring a lovely hostess gift! Perhaps you can showcase your traditional Passover foods on a gorgeous Tamara Baskin Seder Plate. Or, fill these gorgeous goblets, the Emily Rosenfeld Miriam’s Cup and the Gary Rosenthal Elijah’s Cup with water and wine. Are you a guest at a special Passover Seder and want to bring a thoughtful meal for the host? There is no doubt that they will appreciate your research and efforts. Pairing it with a lovely bottle of wine and maybe a handmade Jewish wine bottle stopper will make it extra special.
Happy Passover and Bon Appetit!