We Jews certainly know how to make a difficult situation harder, right? Hello vegan Passover – I’m looking at you.
I first did a vegan Pesach back in about 1997. It was also the first time I’d made Pesach away from my parents’ house. But I was in Israel, so it was a bit easier. And I was living with a long-term vegan, and she’d figured a lot of it out. The first and most important thing was…
Eat all the kitniot!
Eating kitniot makes a vegan Passover diet a lot less restrictive, and also a LOT more nutritionally sound. I personally believe there are solid reasons for everyone, not just vegans, to eat kitniot on Pesach (here’s an article I wrote about it several years ago). However, if that’s not your thing, then that’s fine too – no judgements. But if you haven’t traditionally eaten kitniot, and you’re vegan, and especially if you have a growing child or teenager who is vegan, you should consider speaking to a trusted and sympathetic rabbi to ask for permission to eat kitniot, on the basis of nutritional necessity. No point in ending the festival malnourished, is there?
It’s also OK to let your vegan kids eat kitniot even if the rest of the family abstains. It’s permissible to own and serve kitniot on Passover, even if you don’t eat it yourself, so if humous on matza is the only protein your vegan child gets all week, don’t worry about having it in your fridge!
If you open the door to kitniot, you can pick up hechshered K-for-P humous, tahini, aubergine salads and other Israeli dips at most major supermarkets with a kosher section. You may also find the range of Gosh! Foods (formerly Great Foods) falafel and other beany bites which are certified K-for-P kitniot by the SKA. All good sources of protein and a handy vegan standby when the non-vegans are eating boiled eggs and/or fishballs.
Quinoa was initially considered not to be kitniot, but in the last few years some rabbis have decided it is kitniot. (Which apart from anything else demonstrates how arbitrary the whole notion of kitniot is – don’t get me started.) What can definitely be said about it though is that it’s high in protein and generally considered an excellent option for vegans on Pesach (and the rest of the year, too). You can make it into salads, add it to soups, serve it with vegetables and sauce as a main dish, or even cook it with fruit and cinnamon to make a tasty breakfast.
Let’s go nuts!
Whether you’re vegan or not, nuts – especially almonds – are a Passover staple. Nuts are important to a vegan diet because they contain important minerals and healthy fats. Make easy nut clusters by mixing assorted nuts with melted dark chocolate and allowing spoonfuls to set on a greaseproof-lined tray. Or toast a handful of nuts in a dry frying pan and throw in some sea salt, chopped rosemary and a pinch of chilli for a delicious and nutrient-rich snack. (It goes perfectly with the Jewish Mothers Ruin – just saying.)
Nut butter spread onto matza or apple slices makes a great vegan breakfast, or you can add it to shakes and smoothies for a healthy and delicious boost. You can make nut butter yourself in a blender or food processor, or look out for the fabulous range from Nutural World which have been certified for Pesach. The pistachio butter is amazingly yummy!
The first jar of @NuturalWorld #Pistachio Butter special #Kosher for #Passover #Production. More @NuturalWorld #KLBD #Pesach products to follow – all #Parev #DairyFree #glutenfree pic.twitter.com/tJTMnoMM4O
— KLBD Kosher Certification (@KLBDkosher) February 20, 2018
Fresh fruits and vegetables are, of course, the mainstays of the vegan diet, and there’s no shortage of ways to use them that are completely Passover friendly. One thing I would recommend though is to invest in a spiraliser for Pesach. Vegetable noodles are a terrific base on which to build an interesting vegan Pesach meal, whether it’s as a simple salad, or as a pasta substitute with tomato sauce, vegan pesto (Providence Deli dairy-free pesto is K-for-P kitniot), or some roasted veg. You can add them to soups to add texture, or even use them to create fun and colourful vegetable kugels. The possibilities are endless!
Good veggies for spiralising include cucumber, courgettes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot and squash, but anything reasonably firm is fair game.
Munchy crunchy matza
Matza is of course, completely vegan, and makes the perfect base for all manner of vegan Passover meals. Whizz up a vegan pesto and top with sliced tomatoes, or spread on some nut butter and sprinkle with dark chocolate chips and a tiny pinch of sea salt. The topping options are limited only by your imagination.
You can also still make Matza pizza, even without the cheese! Top a piece of matza with tomato sauce or vegan pesto, add your choice of thinly sliced veggies, olives and seasonings, and drizzle with olive oil before baking for a few minutes in a hot oven. Scatter over some torn basil and enjoy! Delicious!
The humble spud
Finally, it’s worth remembering that everyone’s favourite Passover standby, the potato, is completely vegan! Whether you make jacket spuds, potato wedges, mash, hash browns or potato salad, there are plenty of vegan Pesach options that will provide the basis for a week’s worth of meals. Throw in a few sweet potatoes for variety if you feel the urge.
Here are some recipe suggestions that will ensure you’ve something tasty, kosher-for-Passover, and vegan, to eat at every meal. (By and large, these recipes don’t contain any kitniot, because while it’s easy to enjoy prepared kitniot foods like humous, making rice or beans from scratch on Pesach is an altogether more challenging proposition.)
Beet, cranberry and ginger smoothie, from Veggie Desserts.
Cinnamon apple breakfast quinoa, from Simply Quinoa.
Paleo porridge, from Family Friends Food.
Pesach pop tarts, from Family Friends Food.
Traffic light fruit smoothie, from Eats Amazing.
Salads & side dishes
Aubergine dip, from Tin & Thyme.
Avocado, apple and hazelnut salad, from Tinned Tomatoes.
Bitter greens salad with orange, from Ronnie Fein.
Carrot & parsnip fries, from Ronnie Fein.
Garlic & rosemary scalloped potato roast, from Family Friends Food.
Greek potatoes with lemon & garlic, from Family Friends Food.
Moroccan carrot salad, from Family Friends Food.
Quinoa tabbouleh salad, from Veggies Save the Day.
Summer salad with grilled vegetables, from Family Friends Food.
Zoodle salad with avocado pesto dressing and baby plum tomatoes, from Family Friends Food.
Vegan soups and main dishes
Artichoke soup, from Poppy and Prune.
Carrot and tomato soup with ginger and orange, from Family Friends Food.
Creamy courgette and potato soup, from Family Friends Food.
Leek and potato soup, from Oh! You Cook!
Mushroom soup with thyme, from Kosher by Gloria.
Roasted broccoli, almond and mint soup, from Waitrose.com.
Aubergine, hummus and avocado matza pizza, from Rakusens.
Aubergine, sweet potato and Metis tagine, from Tinned Tomatoes.
Cranberry, chestnut and quinoa stuffed squash, from Caroline’s Cooking.
Cypriot vegetable stew, from Tin & Thyme.
Imam Bayildi, from Ronnie Fein.
Mushroom and vegetable bourguignon, from Family Friends Food.
Potato and cauliflower curry, from Tinned Tomatoes.
Ratatouille with olives, from Family Friends Food.
Warm quinoa salad with garlic mushrooms, from Family Friends Food.
Snacks, sweets, cakes and desserts
Cinnamon sugar matza nachos with fruit salsa, from Family Friends Food.
Chocolate cherry truffles, from Hungry Healthy Happy.
Chocolate fruit and nut clusters, from Kellie’s Food to Glow.
Duke of Cambridge matza cake, from Family Friends Food.
Grandma’s dried fruit compote, from Family Friends Food.
Incredible 1-ingredient chocolate mousse, from Family Friends Food.
Lemon & cinnamon charoset with pine nuts, from Family Friends Food.
No bake chocolate coconut balls, from Family Friends Food.
Pesach gingernuts, from Family Friends Food via Hungry Healthy Happy.
Raw vegan brownies, from Planet Veggie.
Watermelon & berry salad with basil-mint sugar, from Family Friends Food.
Do you have any advice for making vegan Passover palatable? Please share it in the comments below!
Don’t forget to check out my Secrets of a Stress-free Pesach, and take a look at this fun Pesach food trivia quiz – a great way to liven up your seder.
Want deliciously easy, family-friendly recipes and articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up. (Of course, I’ll never pass on your email address to anyone.)