Eating at work/meal prep during Passover
April 19, 2019 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I've decided to keep Passover for the first time since I've been considering converting to Judaism since I got engaged. My fiance doesn't keep kosher, so we don't have that to contend with, but I'm going to follow his lead and avoid all chametz for the week. At home it doesn't seem too difficult, but I have a formula I follow at work that I'm not sure how to manage without rice or pasta or grains.

For breakfast I eat yogurt with granola (at my desk; I don't eat at home so something like matzo brei wouldn't work).

For lunch I meal prep on the weekends so I can eat the same thing every day for the week and not have to think about food prep each day and save money. So I usually make a big pasta dish, rice or grain bowls, chili with beans, or Indian or Chinese food served over rice.

The starches are the main staple of the meals and serve to keep me satiated during the day. And the idea of eating just a slab of meat for lunch isn't that appealing. I know I can do things like egg salad or tuna salad on matzo, but that also doesn't sound very filling.

Do I just have to give up the idea of one big easy bulk meal for the week and assemble a whole bunch of nibbles and deal for the week? I'd love to see if anyone has any creative ideas I'm not thinking of.

I don't have any food restrictions other than avoiding the chametz.

Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by Neely O'Hara to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pro-tip: if you'll be eating a lot of matzoh, be mindful that you're getting enough fiber and fluids.

I like to pre-make salads for lunch, with chicken and avocado. One year, we did a Whole30 that overlapped with Pesach so you might want to look up Whole30 specific recipes, too.
posted by Ruki at 10:25 AM on April 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

cam you use roasted potatoes or something potato to bulk up your meal for the week?
posted by the twistinside at 10:25 AM on April 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

You could make some matzoh farfel granola as a substitute.
posted by brookeb at 10:26 AM on April 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Would you consider following the Sephardic customs, instead of Ashkenazi? If so, you can use rice, corn and millet (and maybe quinoa?) throughout Passover.
If not, bits of matzah crumbled into dishes where you would have used other grains are quite tasty.
posted by nantucket at 10:36 AM on April 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

One big question: where do you stand on the big kitniyot debate? Kitniyot are things like rice, beans, and lentils, which historically have been considered kosher for Passover by Sephardic Jews but not by Ashkenazim. A couple of years ago, the main association of Conservative rabbis ruled that it was ok for Ashkenazi Jews to eat kitniyot. If you follow that, then you can have rice, and that makes everything way, way easier.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:37 AM on April 19, 2019 [10 favorites]

I think quinoa is considered k for P by everyone, including the most-observant Ashkenazim.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:38 AM on April 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

Nuts and seeds and dried fruit could also substitute for granola.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:55 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm following my fiance's lead and he is HORRIFIED at the idea of eating kitniyot so I would feel weird doing it. But these are great ideas so far - thanks so much!
posted by Neely O'Hara at 10:56 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mazel tov on your engagement! Pesach lunches are pretty rough. We just do leftovers from the previous night, boiled eggs, fruit, crudites, blah blah blah.

Matzo brei and matzo meal pancakes (chremslach, the recipe should be on the box) are surprisingly tasty at room temperature.
posted by 8603 at 11:04 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another passover granola recipe here on geniuskitchen.

For lunch, bake sweet potatoes and potatoes for your carbs. Or make tuna salad and eat it on top of matzoh. If you make latkes for passover dinners, they are good the next day (in my opinion). You might also consider something crunchy like jicama, though it might not satisfy you.

One aspect of Passover is forced spring cleaning. You have to search out all the chametz and remove every crumb. So this means checking coat pockets for suspect candies and cough drops, cleaning out and possibly relining drawers. This can be a great opportunity to find K for P items in your pantry that you otherwise had forgotten about, and eat them before they expire. Your own kitchen cabinets may contain some answers to your dilemma.
posted by bilabial at 11:06 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nthing the suggestions to replace your grain lunch base with tubers. Cook up a batch of baked potatoes and sweet potatoes and top with your usual meat/veggies/spices/sauces. You could mash them and have a creamy base, or make latkes to have a sort of bread-like base, or fry up some breakfast style potatoes and have a sort of hash for lunch. You could add in other tubers like carrots, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac, for different flavors. If you want a very easy meal prep base, a mixed root veggie roast would make a great filling starch/carb that would be good all week. Basically yeah, tubers are your friends.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 11:34 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you like Quinoia, well, that's a good option - My partner and I are in fact bringing a large Quinoia salad to my mom's Ashkenazi, kitnyot-eschewing seder.

Also echoing those who suggest potatoes or other tubers for the starch.

This isn't quite rabbinical but in practical terms, some of the more observant Jews I know end up treating the Passover restrictions a bit like a Catholic might for Lent; that is, accepting that it's a hardship and a challenge and treating that as a thing of value in their lives, to be thoughtful about self-denial, rather than just an inconvenience to be worked around and negated.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:54 AM on April 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

quinoa is KFP (you can even get it specially hechshered and packaged KFP.) The explanation sounds goofy to me, but who am I to argue with rabbis (in this one very narrow instance!) Cook it in broth to make it taste less like soap, keep supply in fridge, use wherever you'd use a grain.

(Pro tip: Osem makes a kosher for passover, pareve, chicken-flavored bouillon. You can find on Amazon if not avail at your local stores. Now, again, this is food chemistry beyond my puny grasp, but I'll take it. It's not as good as the regular version, but it does the job (of flavoring quinoa cooking water and keeping it pareve.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:06 PM on April 19, 2019

Do twice baked potatoes—you can make them ahead: just roast the potatoes, cut them in half, dump the filling out of them into a bowl (or multiple bowls, if you want different variety), mix with various flavorings of your choice, and restuff them into the shells. My favorite is to mash the potato with shallots, lemon juice, parsley, sea salt, and olive oil.
posted by sallybrown at 12:24 PM on April 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

EGG NOODLES. How has no one mentioned Manischewitz egg noodles yet? Those noodles were usually my packed lunches for Passover week growing up, though matzoh + some kind of spread or dip is also a good option.
posted by capricorn at 12:40 PM on April 19, 2019

Breakfast: yogurt with fruit and nuts. If you miss having something starchy, matzoh with plenty of butter is decent. Or make kosher for Passover granola. I'm sure you could buy it, and you can definitely buy KFP cereal - but most of that type of prepared food is mediocre at best.

Lunch: Quinoa or potatoes instead of the grains you usually use. When I kept Passover as a kid/teen we didn't really know about or use quinoa, so we basically ate potatoes at least twice a day all week. At least there are a million ways to prepare potatoes!
posted by insectosaurus at 12:47 PM on April 19, 2019

How about matzo ball soup? Filling, delicious, and so kosher that you're going to be eating it for Passover anyway.

Don't do the strained kind of soup with like two carrots in it, though. Use a lot of chicken and veggies, and give yourself at least two matzo balls for each meal you want to get out of it.
posted by rue72 at 12:55 PM on April 19, 2019

Those muffin-tin mini frittatas are easy to make kosher for Passover, and they freeze well. I usually eat them for breakfast, but they would also work for lunch. Asparagus and gruyere or potato and leek look good.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:07 PM on April 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

The starches are the main staple of the meals and serve to keep me satiated during the day. And the idea of eating just a slab of meat for lunch isn't that appealing.

I'm just on a diet where I don't eat much bread or other straight carbs, but I'm essentially eating a veggie portion in lieu of the carb portion. I usually eat salads for lunch, but I hate lettuce so it's just a pile of veggies with grilled chicken. You can bulk these up with starchy veggies like sweet potatoes or jicama.

For dinner, I substitute roasted veggies where a carb could go -- so sauteed beef, onions, peppers, tomatoes over a bed of roasted broccoli. Or a side of potatoes.

And we eat a TON of plain fruit for snacks throughout the day, as well as hard-boiled eggs for snacks if truly hungry.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:13 PM on April 19, 2019

Keto/low carb folks replace all of those grains/legumes with cauliflower, zucchini, spaghetti squash, cabbage, broccoli. They will fill you up and don't need fancy prep (though there are many ways to do 'em up), adapt to all kinds of flavor profiles, reheat well. I make casseroles with a cauli base where there'd normally be pasta, rice, or potatoes and no, it's not exactly the same but I've been doing it so long that I actually want the flavor of cauliflower or zucchini there.

Egg muffins (or I just chuck everything in a giant casserole dish and cut it into squares afterwards) really are great and super versatile, and I like them for any meal, especially with a good vinegar-y salad.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:08 PM on April 19, 2019

Breakfast: You can find whole wheat matzoh. Eggs are okay, so scramble some eggs, cook a sweet potato, maybe some spinach, shred some cheese. It's like a breakfast wrap, only with matzoh, which doesn't bend well.

Lunch. Stir-fried veg and meat or tofu. with matzoh. Soy sauce is generally considered not kosher unless you shop carefully. Tuna or egg salad o matzoh is as filling as a sandwich. Indian food over potatoes is tasty and often authentic.

During Passover, my non-observant friends get a little observant - no meat and milk together. It's tradition. I'll bet you could make decent popovers with matzoh meal. hmmmmm.
posted by theora55 at 2:49 PM on April 19, 2019

I would look to paleo, but quinoa solves a LOT of problems. If you don't want it tasting soapy be sure to rinse and soak them a bit before cooking. Quinoa bowls are great for lunch.
posted by jadepearl at 5:06 PM on April 19, 2019

You can make matzo lasagna it's pretty good, not sure how it would reheat, but that might fill the pasta for lunch slot.
posted by wwax at 5:30 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid we brought spanakopita made with matzoh for lunch quite often (here is a reasonable recipe). We also ate a lot of matzoh with peanut butter.
posted by blurker at 6:17 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

matzah granola hits the spot for my cereal addicted SO. I also highly recommend matzah lasagna (just had some tonight!).

Also, if you make a sandwich with matzah and something moist (like cream cheese) and pack it for lunch, it will soften up the matzah and make it like pita. (so use hummus, but that is kitnyot.)

A note: you don't need to buy matzah farfel. You can break matzah to the right size very easily.
posted by jb at 10:28 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Trader Joe’s bagged frozen cauliflower rice is really pretty great and very easy.

Potatoes and or sweet potatoes (roasted, boiled, however) if you want carb-for-carb swaps.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:48 AM on April 20, 2019

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