Why you are allowed to forgo meat at the seder and how to make all your favorite Passover foods vegan.
Passover has got to be a vegan’s worst Jewish holiday. I mean all Jewish holidays are centered around food at least it seems that way to me, not sure if it’s just because I’ve been a food editor of a Jewish recipe site for 12 years, but I think many people agree with me. We have Latkes on Hanukkah, Honey Cake on Rosh Hashanah, Hamantaschen on Purim, Challah on Shabbat and so much more. Everyone has their favorite nostalgic Jewish food associated with each holiday or with their Bubbes, but Passover is all about the Matzah Ball Soup, Gefilte Fish, Brisket and Macaroons. And then there’s the seder plate, filled with 6 symbolic foods, including an egg and a shank bone. What is a vegan to do?
Did you know that many Jewish people believe that they need to eat meat and fish at their festive holiday meals? There is a part of Jewish tradition that says, meat and fish make people happy and we are supposed to be happy and enjoy our holiday meals as festive special occasions. That means if eating meat doesn’t make you happy you certainly should not serve it for your holiday meals.
That brings us back to Passover, a holiday where if you are Ashkenazi, you might have the custom to avoid Kitniyot in addition to bread. Kitniyot refers to grains and legumes such as rice, corn, soybeans, string beans, peas, lentils, mustard, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. That leaves very few grains and very limited protein sources for our vegans who will need to rely on nuts, quinoa, and lots of matzah to stay satisfied through the holiday.
Starting with the seder plate, you can substitute a roasted beet for the shank bone and for the egg you can use a peeled boiled potato that has been charred like an egg or an avocado pit (luckily avocado matzah is delicious).
Onto the meal, we know many vegans didn’t grow up that way and we all want to feel the comfort of the seder foods we grew up with, so we did our best to recreate all our favorite Passover foods.
We made this vegetable soup super flavorful with some added spices that give it a “chickeny” feel. You can serve it as is or add these Matzah Balls.
We had to bake them to get them to stay together without eggs, but they taste delicious when added to your soup. Maybe not as fluffy as perfect floaters, but still delicious.
We even found a way to make a vegan gefilte fish. If you’re a gefilte fan and want to get close to the real thing you will love this version.
Chopped liver is also a very popular Passover staple, so we made that vegan too!
Ahh, the brisket. This version is made with Jackfruit and comes out like pulled brisket in sauce, perfect with our potato kugel.
Potato kugel without eggs works incredibly well, but in a cast-iron skillet you will get all the crispy edges.
Passover wouldn’t be the same without some macaroons, so we found this version for you, but if you want something super easy try this Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas and sprinkle with coconut for a little macaroon flavor.