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Passover Recipes

Chicken Soup with Chicken Meatballs and Zucchini Spaghetti

Paula Shoyer

Like most people, I love matzah balls. Although everyone knows me as a from-scratch baker, I am admitting here that I always make matzah balls from the mix. After eating my mother’s matzah balls for years, which alternated from year to year between light and fluffy and something else (I think because of variations in egg sizes), once I tried the balls from the mix, I never went back. Constant dieting has forced me to avoid them, so I developed chicken meatballs as an alternative. They even look like matzah balls. But the traditionalists out there need not worry, as I have also provided ideas below for updating traditional matzah balls.

This soup may be made 3 days in advance or frozen; meatballs may be made 1 day in advance.

2 whole medium chickens, cut into pieces
2 large onions, quartered
6 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise in half
6 stalks celery with leaves, cut crosswise in half
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in thirds
1 fennel bulb, quartered
1 turnip, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 gallon (3.8L) water
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch dill
Salt and black pepper
2 boneless chicken breasts (about 5–6 ounces each)
1/4 cup (60ml) chicken stock
2 tablespoons ground almonds or matzah meal
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large egg
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium zucchini, not peeled

To make the soup

Place the chicken pieces in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, leek, celery, garlic, parsnips, fennel, turnip, bay leaves, and salt. Add the water and bring to a boil. Use a large spoon to skim the scum off the top of the soup. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the soup simmer, checking after 5 minutes and skimming off any additional scum. Add the parsley and dill, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Let cool. Strain through a large sieve, reserving the carrots to return to the soup when serving. Taste the soup and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

To make the meatballs

While the soup is cooking, prepare the meatball mixture. In the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade attachment, mix together the chicken, stock, ground almonds, garlic, and egg until a paste forms. Add the scallions, salt, and pepper and pulse a few times to mix. Transfer the meatball mixture to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for up to 1 day, until ready to shape and cook the meatballs.

Use a spoon to scoop up the meatball batter and wet hands to shape it into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) balls. Bring the strained soup to a simmer, add the meatballs, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.

To make the garnish

Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini “spaghetti” for the garnish. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick (6-mm) slices. Keeping the stack together, use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini into long strips. Slice the reserved cooked carrots into rounds and return them to the soup. Top each serving of soup and meatballs with some of the zucchini spaghetti.

Matzah Ball Variations

Combine your choice of any one of the following with one packet from a 5-ounce (142g) package of matzah ball mix to make 13 matzah balls. Plan on 2 matzah balls per person:

• 1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped ginger plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro

• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 carrot peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch (6 mm) pieces

• 1½ teaspoons mixed finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and basil 

Reprinted with permission from New Passover Menu © 2015 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

Paula Shoyer, “the kosher baker,” is the author of The Holiday Kosher Baker, The Kosher Baker, The New Passover Menu and The Healthy Jewish Kitchen (November 2017). Paula graduated with a pastry degree from the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and does cooking and baking demos across the United States and around the world for Jewish organizations, synagogues, Jewish book festivals and more. She is a freelance writer for the Washington Post, Hadassah, Joy of Kosher, and Jewish Food Experience, among other publications. Paula competed on Food Network's Sweet Genius and appears on TV before every major Jewish holiday – over 26 times. In 2015, Paula was honored by Jewish Women International as a “Woman to Watch” and in 2016 as a “kosher food pioneer” by the kosher food bloggers community. Paula lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children.

Video: Four Cocktails to Enjoy for Passover

At the Passover seder we drink four glasses of wine, but what about the rest of the holiday? Our friends from and the Gefilteria show us how to make four delicious cocktails for Passover (and with the exception of the martini, any of these are delicious with or without the alcohol). 



You know how the food you eat can sometimes trigger memories? Jewish tradition knows this too, and a kosher for Passover diet is a yearly reminder of the Jewish people’s distant past as slaves in Egypt.

Have you tried avocadoes, bananas, ginger, chocolate or cayenne pepper in charoset? How well does traditional apples-nuts-wine charoset stand up to her cousins? Have an international Jewish taste test and discover your favorites

Matzah Pizza

Martha Stewart

Think outside the matzah box and try this tasty option, delicious for any time of day.

3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 matzah
3 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
2 teaspoons finely grated Parmesan
1 fried egg
Fresh basil
  1. Spread tomato sauce onto matzah. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan.
  2. Bake at 400°F directly on oven rack until cheese melts, 6 to 7 minutes.
  3. Top with egg and basil.

Reprinted with permission. See more Martha Stewart Passover recipes.

Matzah Brei

Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's newest book, Entree to Judaism for Families filled with tools to help children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding.

This Passover recipe is quite easy to make with children. It is just difficult to describe! Everyone has their own family favorite. Even after looking at cookbooks from more than 100 years ago and many written in the 1930s, when European Jewish immigrants’ recipes were published, I find it hard to define matzah brei. brei is German and means “wide.” My theory is that since the broken pieces of matzah bound together with egg create a wide or broad pancake, the dish got its name from that definition.

Some matzah brei is made without water, with dry sheets of matzah dipped in egg and then fried. Most recipes call for soaking, washing, or sprinkling the sheets of matzah with water before proceeding. Egg batter seasoned with salt and pepper and no sugar probably had its origins in Germany, Lithuania, or Russia. Those who sweetened their batter with sugar and spice probably have roots in Poland, Hungary, and other areas known in the past as Galicia. Almost everyone uses jam, cinnamon, and sugar, or syrup as a topping.

Here’s my basic recipe. (Can you tell that half of my ancestors came from Poland?)

2 sheets of plain matzah (egg matzah may be used, but it falls apart pretty fast)
1 egg
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1–2 teaspoons sugar, according to taste
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Fill a 2-quart bowl with very warm tap water. Break each matzah into roughly 4 pieces and place in the bowl. Press down so that the water covers the matzah.
  2. Mix the egg, milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla in a 1-quart mixing bowl.
  3. Drain the matzah in a colander, and gently press down on the matzah to remove the water. Add the matzah to the egg mixture, and stir carefully with a fork so that egg coats all of the matzah.
  4. Heat an 8-inch nonstick frying pan for 10 seconds. Add the butter and swirl about in the pan until melted. Add the egg/matzah, and gently press to form one large pancake.
  5. Cook until the bottom is golden, and then turn it over with a wide metal spatula or turner. (See Tina’s Tidbits below for the best technique for this.) When the bottom is crisp, remove from the pan, cut into wedges, and serve with topping of your choice.

Tina's Tidbits: 
  • It is easiest to flip the half-cooked brei by using two spatulas or flipping the pancake over onto a plate and then sliding it back into the pan uncooked side down. This second method should NOT be attempted by anyone under the age of 10 and is best demonstrated by an adult.

Kitchen Conversations

  • What are your family matzah brei traditions? Does everyone agree on the recipe? Which version is your favorite?
  • Experiment with different ingredients. Could you make this with vegetables? What about other spices, or a sweet and savory combination by adding pepper with the sugar? Create your own unique recipe. Type it up and save it to start a new family tradition.

Israeli Charoset

Tina Wasserman

This recipe is an adaptation of the California-influenced Israeli charoset of the well-known kosher cooking instructor and cookbook author Judy Zeidler. This recipe truly tells a story since the ingredients are an amalgam of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic culinary traditions. Flavorful, intriguing, and a big hit at the seder.

2/3 cup pistachio nuts
2 apples (Gala or Empire), peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
15 pitted dates
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1–2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (depending on sweetness of fruits used)
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sweet Concord grape Passover wine
4 tablespoons matzah meal
  1. Place the pistachio nuts in a processor work bowl and pulse on and off until the nuts are ground fine but not forming butter. 
  2. Add the apples and dates, and pulse until the fruits are fairly well chopped.
  3. Add the bananas, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, and cinnamon, and pulse until the mixture is a coarse but combined mass.
  4. Remove the mixture to a glass bowl, and stir in the wine and matzah meal. Chill, covered, until serving time.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Here the banana is used, with its great ability to impart both sweetness and a dark brown color when the mixture oxidizes.

Jaroset (Panamanian Halek)

Tina Wasserman

​This Passover recipe comes from Rita Sasso, a Panamanian whose roots go back to Spain via Amsterdam and Curaçao, which had a significant Jewish population in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Rita and I became pen pals when I published a recipe in my Reform Judaism magazine column that was given to me by a friend in Mexico... and she recognized the recipe as her own! We have shared recipes ever since, and here is one she gave me with her permission to publish.

4 ounces dried figs
4 ounces raisins
4 ounces prunes
4 ounces pitted dates
1 1/2 cups peanut butter or almond butter
2–3 cups brown sugar, according to taste
1/2 cup sweet Passover wine, as needed
Cinnamon, enough to cover the balls of charoset (approximately 1 1/2 ounces)
  1. Place the dried fruits in a processor work bowl and process until a relatively smooth paste is formed.
  2. Add the peanut butter and brown sugar to the processor work bowl and pulse on and off a few times to begin to combine the ingredients. The machine will only begin the process, as the mixture will be thick.
  3. Remove the mixture to a bowl, and continue to combine the ingredients, kneading with your hands.
  4. Little by little add the wine to the mixture until you obtain a firm ball of fruit. This mixture will be quite sticky. If necessary, refrigerate for 1/2 hour until the mixture firms up a little.
  5. Wet your hands periodically with cold water and form small balls of charoset about the size of a small walnut.
  6. Place the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen.
  7. Once the balls are hard, you can remove them to a freezer bag until needed.
  8. Just before serving, defrost and roll each ball in cinnamon. Serve.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Do not double this recipe unless you have a very large food processor or the mixture will be too difficult to combine thoroughly.
  • Because of the strong Sephardic influence in Central America, peanuts are often found in foods for Passover. Observant Ashkenazic Jews will not eat peanuts during Passover so almond butter makes a good substitute in this recipe.

Vegan Borscht

Mark Reinfeld

With origins in the Ukraine and popular throughout Eastern Europe, borscht has made its way across the Atlantic and all the way to the Catskill Mountains in New York, popularly referred to as the Borscht Belt. The base of the soup is the humble beet, which was immortalized in the book Jitterbug Perfume, and which will be sure to let your cutting board, and your hands, know that it was used in the dish. For the full effect, serve with a dollop of Vegan Sour Cream. 

A vegan or plant-based diet is one that is free from all animal products. Vegan foods are pareve by nature - without dairy or meat. The reasons people choose to enjoy vegan foods are many. First and foremost, they taste incredible! People also turn to vegan foods for weight-loss and disease prevention. It seems that every week there are new studies and testimonials published of people who have regained their health by dropping their cholesterol levels, losing weight, and coming off heart and diabetes medications by including more plant based foods in their diets. There are now numerous studies demonstrating that many serious illnesses, such heart disease, obesity, and diabetes can be prevented and reversed by enjoying more vegan foods.

Want to be Earth friendly? In addition to providing an out of this world culinary experience, eating vegan foods also happens to be one of the most effective steps we can take to protect the environment. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions -more than the entire World’s transportation industry combined. Others turn to vegan foods out of compassion and sensitivity to suffering of the animals, especially those raised through factory farming. Whatever your reason for having enjoying a vegan meal, there is no need to compromise on flavor - an exciting culinary universe awaits!

1 tablespoon oil
1 yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sliced celery
3 garlic cloves
1 cup small-diced potato
1 cup diced carrot or parsnip (or 1/2 cup of each)
3 beets, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
5 1/2 cups heated vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce (optional)
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
About 1/2 cup Vegan Sour Cream
Black sesame seeds
Dill sprigs
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise or homemade)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh dill, or a pinch of dried dill (optional)
  1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Place the oil, onion, celery, and garlic in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the potato, carrot, beets, and vegetable stock and cook until the beets are just soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add the lemon juice and vinegar, the soy sauce, if using, and the salt, pepper, and celery seeds, if using, and stir well. Carefully transfer to a strong blender and blend until creamy. Return the mixture to the pot. Add the dill and parsley and stir well.
  3. Combine the vegan sour cream ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
  4. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, and a sprig of fresh dill.


  • For an added layer of flavor, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste along with vegetable stock.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke along with vegetable stock.

Mark Reinfeld is the winner of’s Recipe of the Year Award for 2011 and has over 20 years experience preparing creative vegan and raw food cuisine. Mark was the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s 2013 & 2012 Summerfest, one of the largest vegetarian conferences in the world. He is described by as being “poised on the leading edge of contemporary vegan cooking”. He is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, winner of Honolulu Advertiser’s ‘Ilima Award for “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i”. Mark is also the recipient of a Platinum Carrot Award for living foods – a national award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to America’s top “innovative and trailblazing healthy chefs.

Mark received his initial culinary training from his grandfather Ben Bimstein, a renowned chef and ice carver in New York City. He developed his love for World culture and cuisine during travel journeys through Europe, Asia and the Middle East . His first cookbook, Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, coauthored with Bo Rinaldi and with a foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall, has won several national awards, including “Cookbook of the Year’, and a Gourmand Award for ‘Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA ’. Mark's upcoming book, The 30 Minute Vegan Soups On! will be released in November of 2013. Mark currently offers culinary courses, trainings, and consulting services worldwide and online. 


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