10 Delicious Recipes for Your Passover Seder
Let all who are hungry, come and eat! For Passover this year, fill your Seder table with a mash-up of classic and modern dishes. These Passover recipes will help keep you full and happy for Seder and beyond.
With lively storytelling, a required four glasses of red wine, and a 15-step ritual, a proper Passover Seder requires endurance! If you've not had the good fortune of attending a Seder before, here's a brief look at what you can expect:
The Passover Seder is rooted in storytelling and symbolism. The event features a retelling of the Jewish exodus from Egypt with the purpose of passing down the story to the younger generations. The story is accompanied by a Seder plate containing six symbolic Passover foods: bitter greens (maror and chazeret); a shell-on roasted hard-boiled egg (beitzah); a mixture of fruit, nuts, wine, and spices (charoset); lamb shanks (zeroah); and parsley or celery with salt water (karpas). Three pieces of matzoh and a ceremonial glass of wine for the prophet Elijah are also laid out for the ritual. Seder is the Hebrew word for "order," and each of these items is eaten during a specific part of the story.
Passing on traditions is a beautiful thing, but it's also wonderful to make your own traditions! Check out these 10 Passover dishes to enjoy at your Seder — plus a couple extra options thrown in and some bonus treats to finish off the fete.
The story of Passover begins with the bitterness of slavery that the Hebrew people experienced in Egypt. This is expressed during Passover dinner with a small portion of white horseradish. To add color and soften the intensity for younger palates, pulse fresh horseradish root with cubed beets and apple cider vinegar in a food processor. Be careful not to hover too close to the container when it's done, or you could blast yourself with the horseradish fumes: Wait a minute and try not to breathe directly over the bowl.
Bitter Greens Salad
To further illustrate the harshness of the story, chazeret is an additional bitter green to eat. Traditionally, it can be a simple leaf of romaine lettuce. In this recipe for shredded romaine salad, scallions and lemon temper bitterness, while dill gives it a fresh aroma. There are many other bitter greens you can feature in your meal for a change: endive, dandelion, escarole, and for a zero-waste option, turnip or radish tops.
Charoset or haroset represents the mortar and adobe bricks Israelites used to build Egyptian pyramids. It is a sweet paste of fresh or dried fruits with nuts. Change up the variety of apples for a new spin. Try crisp Fuji, or Granny Smith for tartness.
Depending on which Jewish tradition you practice, the mixture can vary. The Ashkenazi use apples, walnuts, cinnamon and a small amount of wine; Sephardi use dates, while Yemenites may add sesame seeds and spices like ginger and coriander.
Celery and Parsley Salad
Karpas is a vegetable to contrast the previous horseradish and bitter greens. On the Seder plate, it’s usually plain celery, parsley, or potato dipped in salt water to exemplify hope and renewal. To bring all of these ideas together, try serving a celery and parsley salad. It’s refreshing and salty with the addition of Parmesan cheese.
If you want more heft with your meal, boil potatoes in briny water and drain. Then toss them with butter and parsley.
A chicken wing or shank bone is the zeroah or visual representation of the sacrificial lamb. Since the temple was destroyed, many believe that they should not eat lamb for this part of the Seder. These crispy chicken wings are made with just 5 ingredients and can be baked in a single sheet tray in the oven.
If your family does eat lamb, may we suggest these garlic lamb chops? They’re small enough for little ones to grab and the cooking time is lightning fast. Just swap out the butter for margarine to keep it kosher. Vegetarians at the table can feast on gorgeous Hasselback sweet potatoes.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Make a dozen hardboiled eggs quickly using a pressure cooker for the Beitzah, a roasted hard-boiled egg. Eggs represent the circle of life and they are “roasted” still in the shell on the stovetop—harkening back to festival sacrifices. Eggs are also the food of mourning, it’s the first item offered after a Jewish funeral. Don’t forget to shock the eggs in ice water to avoid the sulfuric green ring around the yolk.
If you'll be starting the main Passover meal with eggs, try this trick: To bring out a toasted flavor, peel the hardboiled eggs, halve them, and sprinkle on a pinch of sugar. Brûlée with a kitchen torch or broil on high heat en masse until the sugar bubbles.
Why buy matzoh when you can make your own? Skip the resting step in this recipe: It needs to be made within 18 minutes, from start to finish, to be considered kosher for Passover. Any longer triggers fermentation, which may cause bubbles and leavening (rising!).
Once you’ve made your own matzoh, there are so many ways to enjoy it outside of its ceremonial place in the Seder. Break up pieces for matzo brei, a cross between French toast and a scramble. Grind up the matzoh into meal for your own matzo ball soup. A friend of mind recommends using seltzer and a dash of cayenne pepper instead of boiling water to make the matzo balls airy and flavorful.
Add Mediterranean flair to your store-bought gefilte fish by rolling it in zaatar. The main spice in this mix is sumac, its lemony aroma perfectly pairs with seafood and tahini sauce (read all about that magical condiment here!).
Springtime is perfect for dusting off the grill. Brisket doesn’t require many ingredients, and it is rich in collagen which makes it great for long cooking times in a smoker or in a braise. If you’d rather stick to the oven, try this three-ingredient rendition that uses French onion soup mix for extra umami (just be sure to find a mix marked as kosher for Passover!).
Chocolate Fallen Cake
Here’s one more miracle for you, a flourless chocolate cake with a lusciously runny center and crackly top. The egg whites are whipped to firm peaks to give the cake height and the illusion of rising like a soufflé. I don’t attempt to cut it into slices, but prefer to serve it with spoons. While gluten-free, this recipe does contain dairy, however; To stay kosher, try a dairy-free version (or replace the butter with margarine) if you’re having meat with dinner.
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