A Passover without the brisket
April 4, 2012 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I'll be spending Passover on my own somewhere with next-to-no Jews. I have no access to Kosher meat and a very limited supply of Matzo (no meal/farfel, etc.) and any packaged goods. Where are all the awesome, easy, vegetarian Passover recipes?

Chabad has come to the rescue and they flew in to be having small seders the first two nights. But after that I'm more or less on my own.

Essentially, I'm looking for some filling vegetarian (fish and eggs are a-ok) meals that don't take too long to prepare, require no matzo meal (and preferably very little actual matzo, I don't have very much of it), and are simple enough for someone without a lot of cooking skills.
posted by csjc to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I get that leavening isn't kosher, but would flour itself be? Because a cheese souffle is actually much, much easier than you'd think. And you get that weird glow of satisfaction from having successfully done something that at least 60% of the rest of the world thinks is really hard.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:07 AM on April 4, 2012

I get that leavening isn't kosher, but would flour itself be?


csjc, not exactly an answer to your question, but are you aware that you can order matzo meal, matzo, etc. on Amazon?
posted by amro at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2012

(I see now that you're in Canada, so disregard as I don't see much on Amazon.ca in the way of Passover foods.)
posted by amro at 10:13 AM on April 4, 2012

On flour: Crap. Sorry, I'm a shiksza.

If you get a chance in the next couple days, try to track down the "Sundays At Moosewood" cookbook; it's an international-cooking themed book, with everything in it being vegetarian. There's a whole section in that book devoted to traditional Jewish dishes. Another one of their books, "Moosewood Celebrates," has recipes for different holidays, and I know they have Passover among them.

The Moosewood books are generally easy for cooking newbies, and really hearty and filling.

If all else fails, I tend to like a really hearty minestrone soup and a salad this time of year; and minestrone's good because you can basically just go through your supermarket and grab whatever vegetables look good, chop up a few potatoes, throw in a can of beans and call it good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: I'm actually not in North America at the moment (Iceland, to be more precise), so all of the passover food I have has already been shipped to me.

Though Matzo is made from flour and water, it is very strictly supervised to make sure that it doesn't come in contact with water for more than a certain amount of time before it is cooked. So any other uses of flour are definitely forbidden on Passover, strange as it may seem for the uninitiated.
posted by csjc at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2012

Omelets. Yogurt and fruit. Roasted potatoes. Baked potatoes. Mashed potatoes. Most vegetables are safe for passover, so you can make, for example, eggplant/zucchini lasagna (depending on how strictly you keep; most ricotta is not ok if you care about kitniyot, but there are other cheeses), or roasted veggies, or stir fried veggies (I had the year of no matzoh and limited cooking facilities when I lived in Germany and basically lived on the above.)
posted by eleanna at 10:19 AM on April 4, 2012

If you have access to quinoa, it is kosher for passover and is a good, healthy, fast filler.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:27 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well if you have a sweet tooth you could go nuts making different kinds of charoset, and most of the ingredients (apples, cinnamon, etc) are easily found.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:28 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Any baked or pan-seared fish will work for you with (de-facto KfP) extra virgin olive oil. Add fresh or lightly cooked veggies, and you've got a fantastic dinner, passover or not.

Shakshuka is just eggs, peppers, tomatoes, onions.
posted by piro at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2012

Not sure what your level of kashrut is, which makes this harder -- can you get fresh fish that you'd find acceptable where you'll be? If so, cooking fish wrapped in foil with some fresh herbs and a little olive oil is easy and delicious.

Salmon croquettes - use a large can of salmon (sockeye is best if you can get it) - mash it up, including the bones. Add a minced onion and an egg. If you can get matzo meal, add a little for firmness, if not, don't sweat it. Form into patties and fry.

Potato kugel is very filling and you can add things like minced broccoli to it if you want it to be 'healthier.' I don't have our recipe handy (memail me if you need me to dig it up), but you can get lots of options online. It will require some matzo meal, though (which you can make by taking matzah and putting it in the food processor or just put into a bag and smash it enough).

Matzah brei is another easy one - beat an egg. Add salt and pepper if you like savory, or a pinch of sugar if you like sweet. Take a piece of matzah and run it under hot water, then squeeze out any liquid as you break it into pieces. Dredge the pieces in the beaten egg and sauté in butter.

Hasselback potatoes - Take a washed baking potato and slice as thinly as possible, almost but not quite to the bottom, so it forms a fan. Slice 2-3 cloves garlic as thin as possible, and insert one garlic slice in between each potato cut. Top with butter or olive oil and bake at 450 degrees until golden brown (about 45 minutes - an hour). If you use olive oil, baste occasionally.

Onion soup - One red, one white, and one vidalia onion. Two leeks. Three cloves of garlic. Slice all. Saute all together until translucent. Transfer to a pot and add water to cover, plus a little. If you have it, add a couple of veggie bouillion cubes or fake beef broth. If you have it, throw in a shot of white wine. Add pepper to taste. Top with melted cheese.

Almond cookies - Small bag of sliced almonds (about 150 grams / 6 oz). 1/2 cup sugar. 1 egg white. Beat the egg white and mix in the sugar until dissolved. Add the almonds to the mixture and form little piles on a covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon or cocoa powder if desired (totally not necessary). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or till brown and crispy at the edges.
posted by Mchelly at 10:53 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm usually not particularly strict, but I did grow up in an observant family and I'll be trying to be as observant as possible this holiday. Really great ideas, though, keep 'em coming!

I should also mention that I eat rice, being Sephardic.
posted by csjc at 10:55 AM on April 4, 2012

I'm an Ashkenazi vegetarian who observes Passover and I mainly live on salads, soups, roast vegetables, and cheese. It's really not so bad.

If you are Sephardic and eat rice, you probably also eat kitniyot (legumes) which includes beans and peanuts, so you can have all sorts of bean and rice dishes and peanut butter stuff.
What do you usually eat? Unless it's sandwiches and pasta, you can probably have most of it during Passover.
posted by rmless at 11:08 AM on April 4, 2012

tortilla espanola is a great & filling any-time-of-day meal - obvsly eliminate the garlic if it's an issue for you.
posted by elizardbits at 11:30 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: Well, aside from rice, I've never had any kitniyot on Passover. I pretty much survive on sandwiches and pasta usually.
posted by csjc at 11:34 AM on April 4, 2012

Quinoa. Beans. Quinoa AND beans. Peanut butter on celery or carrots. Omelets or scrambled eggs. Poached egg inside an avocado or mango half. Chili. Yogurt with nuts and/or fruit. Smoothies.

My favourite easy dish is a cup or two of quinoa, cooked, plus a can of black beans, drained, plus some salsa and/or diced tomatoes, plus corn, plus cumin and chili powder. This makes 4 or 5 meals worth.
posted by jeather at 12:05 PM on April 4, 2012

If you acquire foods prior to the onset of the holiday, the laws of 'nullification by majority' kick-in, so you can stock up on whatever (non-certified) tuna, sardines, canned fruits and vegetables, instant coffee, etc. are available for sale where you are. Vegetables are of course always good (and good for you). Hard-boiled eggs are a good source of protein.
posted by Paquda at 12:16 PM on April 4, 2012

My wife and I make a lot of stuff out of cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, which are all vegan. Given her heritage, a fair bit of the recipes included in them are vegan options for traditional Jewish foods. We've made the Matzoh ball soup in Vegan With a Vengeance numerous times, and yes it requires matzoh, but there should be other things in there. She also has a website, but not all of the recipes from the books are included there.
posted by LionIndex at 12:16 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

'nullification by majority' should be 'nullification of 1:60'.
posted by Paquda at 12:24 PM on April 4, 2012

Nullification by majority doesn't apply to chametz. (It does apply to kitinyot.)
posted by jeather at 12:26 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

jeather, I think this is the relevant halachah in Shulhan Arukh / Mishnah Berurah (se'if daled):


"Im nit'areiv hechameitz kodem pesach, ve-nitbateil be-shishim..."
posted by Paquda at 12:40 PM on April 4, 2012

..that link was meant to point to page 48 of the book, hilchos pesach, siman taf mem zayin, se'if daled.
posted by Paquda at 12:42 PM on April 4, 2012

require no matzo meal (and preferably very little actual matzo, I don't have very much of it)

I live in a town which, basically, stocks crappy candy and boxes of matzo for Passover, but no kosher-for-passover matzo meal. (It does, however, stock non-kosher-for-passover matzo meal all year round. Go figure.) I have learned that you can, in fact, make matzo meal by putting matzo meal in a food processor. (Or in a gallon ziploc bag and roll it with a rolling pin, like you thought you were making graham cracker crumbs.)
posted by leahwrenn at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2012

A really basic and healthful vegetarian dish I eat for most lunches is a pilaf of one or two types of beans, a grain (rice, couscous, quinoa -- not sure what you're allowed), and several veggies or fruit. This week it's quinoa, beets, black and kidney beans, and snap peas. Broccolli works well in there. Chic peas or nuts can be rotated in for the beans. You could do raisins or apples to give it some crunch and sweetness. Olives, oranges, and raw onions make a great combination. I usually dress it with lemon juice, some oil, and salt and pepper. Basically you just throw everything in a big bowl and dish it out for lunches. You get protein, fruits and veg, and a grain there and it can be horridly healthy enough that I sometimes need a side of potato chips to balance it out and give me something satisfyingly fatty.
posted by davextreme at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2012

I don't know about Passover but here are some veggie dishes that don't require flour:

You might look for dishes on this theme: baked eggs with veggies. Basically a crustless quiche, there are a million variations on this to be found online. (Broccoli is the first veg that comes to mind, but depends what you can find)

Roasted veggies, eg roasted cauliflower (with dates and olives if you want to fancy it up!), are great and very easy to prepare - again a million recipes, look up whatever veg you have and it can probably be roasted.

Carrots can be sliced thinly and baked for a lovely moist sweet side.

Many good cabbage-based salads, very filling and keep reasonably well

Do you have skyr (Icelandic yogurt)? A great fallback protein source if the dairy is ok.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:47 PM on April 4, 2012

Oh, and if you have access to spices, you can make Indian food!

Here's one great recipe for saag paneer (cheese and creamed spinach); there are others online if that one calls for ingredients you can't get. You can make the cheese yourself, for an extra adventure - it is very very easy just a bit time-consuming.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:50 PM on April 4, 2012

Gluten Free Girl's vegetarian recipes might a good source of ideas too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:53 PM on April 4, 2012

Definitely make some egg-heavy matzah brei, if you're down with gebrokts. A great breakfast, and it shouldn't cost you more than a sheet of matzah for a hearty meal.

Stir fry would be good (oh how I envy you lucky Sephardim).

Matzah pizza, if you have sufficient cheese.

You might want to check to see if you can order some extra provisions though Chabad, too. Chag sameach!
posted by charmcityblues at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2012

(Oh, I suppose some people only use farfel for matzah brei. I just break up a sheet of matzah with my hands)

You can probably find the basic ingredients for charoset? Make tons of it and eat with breakfast. Sticks to the ribs, especially if you're heavy-handed with the nuts.
posted by charmcityblues at 5:00 PM on April 4, 2012

I just made roasted asparagus, and will probably take some to a friend's seder. asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe some garlic, roasted in the oven for @ 45 minutes. It got brown and wrinkly, and was really delicious. You can roast onions, parsnip, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and lots of other veg. the same way. I often add rosemary or chili. If mushrooms meet your kosher standards, add sliced mushrooms for the last 20 minutes. They add a nice deep flavor when roasted.

Make fried rice with cooked rice, olive oil, scrambled egg, and vegetables.
posted by theora55 at 6:34 PM on April 4, 2012

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