Pescatarian Passover Recommendations
January 22, 2023 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Searching for the best pescatarian/vegetarian menu recommendations for Passover! It's hard mode without sweet and sour brisket...

I'm finally taking over some of the cooking duties for my family's Passover seder. Normally this would involve making brisket in a crockpot and chicken soup, both of which I trust myself to put together, but my sister-in-law is pescatarian and prefers vegetarian food. I've found a few recipes for vegetarian matzo ball soup-- but what would be an overall good set of recipes for a fish/vegetarian-centered seder meal? I'd especially like to make sure that the main goes with the sides--if I cook a non-tofu protein, it's usually chicken, so I'm afraid that I'll pick the wrong thing to go with fish if I choose to make fish.

Note: My family is not strict about Pesach rules, so if you have a delicious side that goes with salmon or white fish, don't worry about supplements that might have yeast in them or the use of corn syrup, rice, etc. As long as it's not a bread bowl, it's good.
posted by kingdead to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Fish with saffron is a traditional Moroccan Jewish dish that would work well - maybe serve it with quinoa on the side to soak up some of the sauce.
posted by kickingtheground at 6:40 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

Also, don't forget that going pescatarian also opens up the entire world of dairy. For example, I bet matzo balls would be excellent in a parmesan broth. Or there's the entire delicious genre of 'cheesy veg' - perhaps asparagus au gratin or potatoes dauphinois.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:08 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]

Consider treating matzo as the “noodles” of a lasagna-type dish. You can find plenty of recipes online that try to emulate an Italian lasagna with matzo, but if such a cheese-forward item feels a bit off at what’s traditionally a non-dairy meal, there’s a Sephardic style of dish called minas that may be suitable. We make one with spinach and leeks from The Sephardic Kitchen.

Here’s a good article about the basic approach and some filling options, but I’d double or triple the eggs for covering the pie before baking, and choose a filling with eggs as well—it ends up having almost a frittata quality, which is tasty and appropriate for the occasion (I’m assuming eggs are included in the vegetarianism).
posted by staggernation at 7:36 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]

Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for tangy braised chickpeas that is meant to evoke sweet and sour brisket! I made it a few months ago and it was really good.

(PS—I have been lurking on this site for well over a decade, and somehow tangy braised chickpeas are what prompted me to make an account!)
posted by bijoubijou at 7:41 PM on January 22 [27 favorites]

Seconding the suggestion of mina, or its even more frittatish cousin the kuajado (aka pita, sfungato, and, indeed, fritada)! Assuming you're good with dairy, I think spinach and cheese is the best kind: we use my aunt's recipe at home, which I don't have on hand at the moment to transcribe (though feel free to DM me if you want me to send it later), but this seems substantially similar. Maybe add some matzo meal (only 1-2 tbsp) to help bind the eggs?

Fried leek patties, or keftes de prassa, are another mainstay of the table. I'll often make a lamb and okra stew as well. Obviously a vegetarian version would miss out on the nice lamb symbolism there, but even a plain okra stew (here's a Sephardic version, but you could just as easily take inspiration from other cultures) would be tasting and filling! Finally, slow-boiled huevos haminados do double duty on the seder and dinner plates. They fill a very different eggy niche than the kuajado, so I see no issues with having both. Though with the price of eggs being what it is these days, my recommendation is a bit more tepid than it otherwise would be...
posted by the tartare yolk at 8:30 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]

Fish in chraime (spicy tomato) sauce is special and delicious. Lots of recipes on the Internet, here is one, but note that if you are Ashkenazi you will want to be careful of your spices as I think caraway might be kitniyot and I'm pretty sure cumin and coriander are (which this recipe doesn't specify, but would be nice, modulo the kitniyot issue.) Obviously you can season around the kitniyot. [ETA sounds like you aren't strict enough to have to worry about this anyway #winning]

I am a fan of this kind of preparation because you can assemble everything in advance, keep it in the fridge ready to go, and just shove it in the oven half an hour before you want to serve. No salmon-on-a-plank-finicky-timing business for Seder, you know what I'm saying.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:06 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

as far as soups go, the world is your ksoher oyster when you can use dairy. You can make gorgeous bright green soups with spinach, peas, sorrel..
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:09 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

“Brisket” made with jackfruit got served at our Seder last year. I didn’t do the cooking, but I see there are lots of results from Chef Google.
posted by AMyNameIs at 3:00 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

I made the braised sauerkraut and potato gratin from The Gefilte Manifesto as my main for a vegetarian seder and it was a hit. I've also made their gefilte fish and really like it. It's a very light white fish made in a loaf form.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:37 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

Because it’s something of a thing here in Seattle I was able to suggest a whole lightly smoked salmon fillet for the Passover main a few years ago for a similarly pescatarian host, courtesy of our bougie friends with a backyard smoker. Seasonally appropriate and really celebratory feeling. We had it at room temperature.

To go with it there was asparagus with béchamel, a “bitter herb” salad I made up with parsley, carrot tops, celery leaves, and cucumber - it was kinda tabbouleh adjacent, would have been good with crispy chickpeas - and a savory mushroom matzoh kugel, which kept warm in the oven nicely.

We also did gefilte fish, extra eggs, extra charoset and horseradish, and for the soup we did matzoh balls in a dill-heavy carrot and onion broth, though if I were to do something like this again I would probably opt for one of the many traditional saffron laced mock chicken soup recipes out there. And the idea of mock chopped liver made of walnuts and mushrooms was thrown around but not executed once we had someone making a mushroom kugel - I would totally do the eggplant and walnut variety of the spread if I were to revisit this menu.
posted by Mizu at 9:41 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

NYTimes had a lovely ombre root vegetable gratin that I adapted to vegan. Make a batter of water and chick pea flour (not-too-thick pancake batter thickness) and add salt, pepper. Use a glass dish if you can. Layer of cooked, sliced, peeled red beets, then vegan butter & sliced onion, layer of sliced butternut squash or sweet potato, more vegan butter & sliced onion, layer of white potato, vegan butter & sliced onion, sprinkle of rosemary or sage. Add batter not quite to the top. Bake until fork tender, @ 350F. Not all household will consider chickpea flour acceptable for passover.
posted by theora55 at 12:27 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]

We've started doing a pescatarian meal for the second Seder, the last few years. Here is a typical menu:
- Potato-leek soup with matzo balls
- Salmon, broiled with salt, olive oil, and smoked paprika
- Eggplant parmesan (this recipe says Passover, but I bet you can sub matzo meal for bread crumbs in any recipe that looks good to you)
- Maror salad
- Another vegetable of your choice. I'm partial to roasted asparagus.
posted by maayan at 2:30 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]

I've done a bunch of pescatarian/vegetarian seders!

Since it seems like eggs are OK for you, traditional matzoh ball soup with faux-chicken broth substituted for the real broth should be fine (Better than Bouillon if you can get it) ... but I also love this vegan style of matzoh ball soup with tofu. (Assuming you're OK with kitnyot which it sounds like you are.)

Broiled salmon is a great choice - nice festive main dish. Maybe with leeks? I always think herbs and alliums go well with the early-spring aesthetic of the Passover meal. Dill, parsley, scallions, leeks, fennel... then you can do sides with some of those same flavors (dill carrots? potatoes with leeks? etc)

I've also done grilled/broiled tofu skewers with chimichurri sauce. I like chimichurri for Passover because it features some of the same herbs that are also used symbolically.

(You may already know this but a roasted beet on the seder plate, instead of a shank bone, is a popular vegetarian adaptation of that part of the tradition.)
posted by anotherthink at 11:06 AM on January 25

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