What are some ideas for lunches with absolutly no grains, dairy, fruit, or pork?
April 5, 2012 9:49 AM   Subscribe

(sort of) Kosher for Passover packed lunches- with all kinds of extra rules. Suggestions please!

Ok- so I asked this last year- and it was very helpful- but now my (non- practicing Jewish) boyfriend is working in a small office owned by and completely otherwise staffed by Orthodox Jews. They have asked that he remember to not bring any grains into the office next week. I pack his lunch most days so I have been thinking about it and I am kind of at a loss- He has a lot of other restrictions and could use some group brain storming.

As for the Kosher thing- He isn’t worried about being perfect, just reasonably sensitive to his boss. I’m not Jewish and have virtually no knowledge of the restrictions. After a quick googling, my head is a little spinny. I realize there are more restrictions that I don’t know about- so if there is something that I should be aware of in the spirit of being generally sensitive (up till yesterday I didn’t realize corn counted) let me know and I’d be thankful.

The Paleo Diet seems to have very similar restrictions- so if you know of any good recipe sites for that I’d take it!


-no grains (wheat, spelt, rice, corn- nothing)
-no dairy (SO is severely intolerant)
-no apples, carrots, almonds (oral allergy)
-nothing that needs to be heated (there is no microwave)
-traveling well/less messy would be best- there is no break room and he has to eat in front of his computer.
-he is in general not much of a fruit fan. He eats oranges and peaches. That’s all.
-Nothing spicey
Thank you all so much.
posted by Blisterlips to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
High in protein would be great as well.
posted by griphus at 9:55 AM on April 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I promise you will be getting lots of baggies of meat.
posted by Blisterlips at 9:56 AM on April 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nothing wrong with making a sandwich with matzoh, just use that instead of bread. Lots of baggied meat, with a piece of romaine lettuce and tomato on top. Or other vegetables like avocado, as suggested in the previous thread.
posted by Melismata at 10:02 AM on April 5, 2012

Are beans allowed? Hummus and celery sticks, if so. And otherwise all I'm coming up with is beef or salmon jerky. Oh, hard-boiled eggs. Is kfP matzoh okay?
posted by rtha at 10:02 AM on April 5, 2012

I am not Jewish either but as a vegetarian married to a picky meat-and-potatoes guy with a kid who has a severe peanut allergy, solving weird food dilemmas is a daily occupation of mine, and it's sort of refreshing to try to solve someone else's.

Are eggs cool with the BF? You can do a lot with boiled eggs (which -- bonus -- are a symbolic component of the Passover Seder). I am thinking non-dairy egg salad (you could use soy mayo or an oil-based dressing), braised soy sauce eggs, eggs in a chef salad. Salads are a little messy but not too bad if you don't tend to drop your food.

I was also thinking of hummus with raw veggies that are NOT carrots, as rtha suggested, or some other kind of dip like guacamole.
posted by BlueJae at 10:06 AM on April 5, 2012

Any non-Orthodox recipe geeks should probably read up on orthodox kosher for Passover (here's a broad overview). If corn is forbidden, then legumes are probably out as well.

I would go with meat salads, which would only need to be refrigerated - cold chicken on lettuce with vegetables, dairy-free chicken salad, tuna salad, etc - (with matzoh if that's allowed, if not then spread on celery or carrots).
posted by muddgirl at 10:06 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

With all those restrictions, best to eat lunch outside the office for one week. Perhaps his boss would accommodate this due to his allergy situation.

That said, if you want to eat in the office, I need to know he must keep stringently kosher-for-passover himself, or just maintain the outward appearance of being kosher-for-passover. Another consideration, if he is Sephardic in origin, he has considerably more latitude than those of us who are Ashkenazic.

Here are some safe choices:
Unpeeled fresh fruit, if tolerated (i.e. oranges)
Chicken, beef, fish. If he must keep stringently kosher then buy kosher meat and fish, otherwise buy whatever.
If of Sephardic ancestry, he could eat soy products such as tofu, beans, and peas (kitnyot). If Ashkenazic, then this is not allowed, depends on how strict your colleagues are with all this.
posted by dudeman at 10:07 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry, not carrots :(
posted by muddgirl at 10:07 AM on April 5, 2012

Frittata can be served cold, make it with eggs, potato, onion, pepper and maybe zucchini? Soups or stews, in a good thermos may stay hot till lunch. I'm a vegetarian, so I am hard pressed to come up with meatier suggestions
posted by kellyblah at 10:08 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Note to others above: Eggs are a great choice. So is tuna. Add some mayo and you've got the basis for tuna and egg salad. Beans, hummus, all of that fall into the category of kitnyot, permitted for Sephardim and not for Ashkenazim.

To all who suggested matzoh - as a grain based product I'm guessing this is a nonstarter. There are some kinds of gluten free matzoh on the market, so if any grains are tolerated, you might be able to find some made out of a kind he can eat.

Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Always a safe choice.
posted by dudeman at 10:10 AM on April 5, 2012

Best answer: http://www.jewfaq.org/kfpfood.htm
posted by dudeman at 10:12 AM on April 5, 2012

If they are Orthodox Jewish, then kosher-for-passover matzoh should be fine.
posted by Melismata at 10:12 AM on April 5, 2012

I seem to be recommending this a lot, but a quinoa salad is good here. Even Ashkenazi Jews are allowed to eat quinoa.
posted by jeather at 10:15 AM on April 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Couldn't he ask his bosses what they're bringing to work for lunch, and copy them?
posted by dywypi at 10:22 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you make lettuce wraps? Put an allowed meat or something like chicken/tuna mix lots salad (say dried apricots/walnuts or whatever your guy likes and is allowed) in a lettuce leaf and roll it up like a little burrito? Makes it easy to eat.

Cold left overs from dinner such as cold chicken drumsticks, cold steak is nice sliced with a dipping sauce or on top of a simple salad.
posted by wwax at 10:22 AM on April 5, 2012

Response by poster: dudeman I need to know he must keep stringently kosher-for-passover himself, or just maintain the outward appearance of being kosher-for-passover.

The only request they have made is that there be no grains in the office- They know he doesn't practice at all (him explaining to the boss's very young kids why he doesn't wear a kippah was freaking adorable). We generally avoid sending pork to the office, but other than that, I'd say it's pretty much cool with "outward appearance" route.

He and they are Ashkenazi.

quinoa! and now we have a reason to bring out the quinoa!

This is all very helpful. keep them coming.
posted by Blisterlips at 10:53 AM on April 5, 2012

To all who suggested matzoh - as a grain based product I'm guessing this is a nonstarter.

I'm a little confused here -- why can't the OP's boyfriend eat grains? In the OP's previous mail to which she referred, she spoke of making him sandwiches, so I don't think he's got a gluten problem. I think she was misunderstanding that the Orthodox forbid all grains during Passover, which is not so, it is only LEAVENED grains that are not allowed. OP, could you clarify? Kosher for Passover (certified) matzo is absolutely permitted, so if you can get a hold of some (better hurry up!) then you can make sandwiches. However, you can use only certifed kosher meats. Since the BF is lactose intolerant, OP needn't be concerned with mixing meat and dairy. If the Orthodox in question are Ashkenazic, then kosher meat sandwiches are definitely what to look into, as beans, hummus, soy, etc. would be prohibited during Passover.
posted by RRgal at 10:57 AM on April 5, 2012

recent similar-ish question! luckily you guys are in brooklyn and not iceland.
posted by elizardbits at 11:02 AM on April 5, 2012

Seconding lettuce wraps with veggies in. (Many recipes call for soy sauce as part of the dressing - double check to be sure the version you use is gluten-free or leave it out)

Roasted veggies travel well - you could find various roasted veggie salads.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:14 AM on April 5, 2012

Have him check with the boss before assuming quinoa is okay. Because it's considered a "new" grain (people never heard of it before 5-10 years ago), not all groups are on board with it yet.

Hard boiled eggs are fine, as are tuna salad, egg salad, lunch meats - just make the sandwiches on matzah (not too delicious, but does the trick).

Can you make soups and send him with a thermos? Most soups will be okay (just no noodles), and can be hearty enough for a meal.

If you're in the US, LaBriute makes kosher (including kosher for passover) MRE's. No microwave needed, hot meals, totally acceptable. Check your local kosher grocery, or it looks like the site delivers, though I'm guessing it's pricey.
posted by Mchelly at 11:56 AM on April 5, 2012

Beef stew and chicken curry are still tasty when cold. A Greek salad with ground beef or chicken kebabs an the side could be good as well - substitute matzoh crumbs for breadcrumbs in any meatball recipe and it should still work.

If there are any good looking tomatoes available, you could make gazpacho, which is supposed to be served cold.
posted by asphericalcow at 12:25 PM on April 5, 2012

What about stuffed grape leaves? Or stuffed peppers?

I really like grape leaves stuffed with quinoa and cranberries and roasted red pepper. They're... cold and slimy and my husband HATES them, but they're like.... salty, tangy, delicious heaven.
posted by spunweb at 12:40 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Matzoh brei? It's basically the matzah version of french toast; you can season however you like, and if broken up into 2- inch pieces it works as finger food. Salad or fruit on the side.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:38 PM on April 5, 2012

@RRgal: Many times I've been asked by friends, "Wait, is it that you can't have grains, or you can't have leavening (or leavened grains)?" My experience is admittedly limited, as I'm a Reform Jew who doesn't keep Kosher and has not kept Passover in years. BUT I have a sister who recently married/became an Orthodox Jew, so I have recent experience trying to understand esoteric Kosher food rules. My experience is: there is no answer to this question. Where Jewish food rules are concerned, here are so many traditions and interpretations and regional variations and ethnic variations and "my community just does it that way" that overarching rules are very hard to come by. I totally understand wanting to take individual details and deduce guiding rules, but that way (I've found) lie misunderstandings and assumptions.

In general, when asking questions about Kosher rules or holiday sub-rules, this is what I do:
1. Ask the individual(s) concerned, and NO ONE ELSE, not even their family members or friends, as others will have different rules/traditions/interpretations/priorities.
2. Don't try to read up on the Internet or in a book (same problem as #1).
3. Ask specific questions such as, "If I bring X for lunch, will that be okay during Passover?" rather than trying to work out overarching principles/rules with the person. Insisting on trying to generalize rules means the discussion will get very confusing very fast (and this is usually when my sister gives up trying to explain and yells, "I don't KNOW, go ask Simcha, maybe he knows!").

But to echo others: Kosher-for-Passover matzo from one of the major brands (usually the ones you'll find at the grocery store) will be absolutely fine for Passover, even though it has wheat in it. The sheer amount of matzo crumbs in the eating area after a week will be staggering, but I'm sure this office has dealt with that before.
posted by gillyflower at 3:14 PM on April 5, 2012

Some things that fit the bill:

- Hard boiled eggs (pre-peeled for messiness control).
- Meat stews with potatoes, packed in a thermos to retain warmth.
- Quinoa salads with meat and veggies (can be served cold).
- Gefilte fish, if he's down.
- KforP matzah sticks or crackers (might want to bring the box to assuage concerns)-- less messy than sheets of matzah!
- Matzah brei. Not as good cold, but still pretty tasty. Pity about the apples-- maybe serve with a peach compote?

I assume that his office is or near a Jewish neighborhood. It might be fun to go to a grocery store in the area and just look around for things that look good. Almost all Kosher groceries will either remove their non-KforP inventory or block it off in a very obvious way, so everything should be "safe." Shopping right before Passover is a lot of fun, too-- kind of the same frenetic energy as Christmas Eve at the mall.
posted by charmcityblues at 3:35 PM on April 5, 2012

Lots of kinds of green salads topped with some kind of protein! Chicken salad or tuna salad or egg salad along with some matzah and some veggies! 'Ploughmans lunch' - some meat, some cheese, some pickles, some matzah some veggie sticks! (I'm not really sure why you wouldn't send matzah - passover is the matzah holiday, its almost the only reason matzah exists! It's meant to be eaten at passover!)

Re: quinoa. There's quite the debate in the jewish community about whether it's kosher for passover. If his coworkers are ultra orthodox, its likely they fall on the 'not kosher' side of that argument, so i'd avoid it.
posted by Kololo at 7:06 PM on April 5, 2012

Nth-ing the "Why isn't it OK for him to bring matzoh?" question. If he brings matzoh and Kosher-for-passover cold cuts from a store that meets the employers' standards of kashrut (presumably they'd be happy to volunteer suggestions?) and makes his own sandwich in the office, that seems like the easiest solution.

Now I want roast beef and horseradish on matzoh. Really, really a lot.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:25 PM on April 5, 2012

Best answer: I was raised Jewish, and we kept kosher for Passover.

The prohibition against grains is because his officemates do not want to take the chance of being around anything leavened or fermented. Traditions vary--which is why some Jews of Mediterranean traditions will eat rice and corn, while those belonging to Eastern European traditions will not. Devout Jews like your bf's colleagues will remove all hametz--stuff that can be leavened--from their homes during Passover to avoid the risk of contaminating permissible foods or accidentally consuming prohibited foods.

Matzah is made from grains, yes, but it is not leavened, which makes it OK. (Please don't ask me why this is OK but, say, cooked barley is not. It has to do with fermentation and the chemistry therein. The rabbis are some thorough dudes.) It is what Jews substitute for regular risen bread during Passover.

Quinoa is good. Eggs are good. Baked potatoes and sweet potatoes are good, permissible starches. Salads, stir fry over quinoa, raw veggies and dressing, chili, frittata with any veggies and cheese, tuna or chicken salad, chicken breast and roasted veggies, etc. etc. (Mmm, salade nicoise!) Basically think Atkins Phase 1, plus fruit and sugar and matzah.

If he's lactose intolerant, he should be able to do yogurt. If so, full-fat Greek yogurt with honey and fruit is crazy filling.

Things you can put on matzah: It doesn't make a great sandwich, because of the way it breaks, but think of it as a gigantic tortilla chip. Spread it with peanut butter and jelly, soy cream cheese and lox, hummus, salsa, refried beans, caponata (a stew/spread made of eggplants, raisins, onions and tomatoes in Sicily), baba ganoush, olive tapenade (with tuna on top---mmm). Me, I like it with butter. A sheet of matzah with real, salted butter, and I am a happy, happy girl.

You want to avoid wheat (bread and pasta), rice, corn, barley, oatmeal, etc. If he drinks soda at the office, he should check with his boss about whether he needs to replace it with diet or kosher-for-passover soda, as the prohibition extends (I never understood this) to corn syrup. But if they don't care, then don't sweat it, because avoiding corn syrup is almost impossible in this day and age.

If he likes eggs, he should learn how to make matzah brie--it makes a great lunch. basically it's a matzah frittata. Take some matzah, break it up into small pieces, scramble in butter with a few eggs and, if you like, some caramelized onions. That and a salad will get him through the day swimmingly.

I no longer observe Passover, but I did for most of my life. Memail me if you want any recipes or suggestions about how to modify a recipe you like.

Your bf is a real doll for rolling with these restrictions. High five! (And honestly, if he keeps a granola bar in his bag and goes outside to eat it, that's probably cool.)
posted by elizeh at 7:56 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Still confused about the matzoh prohibition. Were it me, I'd keep a box of Kosher for Passover matzoh at the office just to make it a non-issue. Here are some lunchbox suggestions. (Matzo ball soup is ridiculously easy to make and take in a thermos; the mix with the soup is totally fine.) Potato latkes can be eaten cold with apple sauce.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:03 PM on April 5, 2012

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