When you ask people about Jewish foods a few things come to mind — sometimes it’s gefilte fish, for others it’s bagels with a schmere. For some, however, the first thing they think of is matzo.
Try as you might, eating matzo is nearly unavoidable. Once a year Jews around the world are called to give up their bagels, artisanal loaves of bread and other leavened delicacies we otherwise take for granted for eight long days. That time is called Pesach, or Passover. Some, like myself, dread it. Sure, matzo ball soup is delicious and there are other non-leavened options available, but you know what they say — you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.
With the passover seder nearing closer, we know you’re probably strapped for new and innovative ways to impress your hungry guests. Here are 24 recipes sure to get your through both nights kvetch-free:
Brisket: This is a staple in the homes of Jewish people everywhere. It has graced many a table at various holiday tables, but you can only eat the same recipe for so long before it gets old (Sorry, Bubbe). We recommend trying this one from Serious Eats or Real Simple’s coffee-braised brisket, though there are several other options out there.
Lamb: Much of the Passover seder revolves around symbolism — from the seder plate’s contents to leaving the door open for Elijah — why not take it a step further with your food? Traditionally lambs have served as a sacrifice during passover. While no one is expecting you to kill your own lamb for the sake of the seder, many families include this as a seder option. Give this Real Simple recipe a try!
Chicken: Chicken is often overlooked during the holidays, but let’s face it — you can’t go wrong with this versatile option. Dress it up, stuff it, pair it with fruits and vegetables. Any way you slice it, your guests are sure to be pleased — and full. Try The Jerusalem Post’s stuffed chicken or any one of these listed on Chabad’s website.
Fish: I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to explain that despite it’s prevalence on grocery store shelves, most people don’t eat gefilte fish out of a jar. It is, however, a common addition to the Passover table and, say what you will, it isn’t half bad when properly prepared. Both Chabad and Chowhound have kosher passover options for making gefilte fish even the youngest seder attendees are sure to enjoy. If that’s not really your thing there are countless other kosher fish options, hold the chametz.
Vegetables: I know what you’re thinking — picking seder vegetables is simple, isn’t it? In short, no. During Passover, Jews are forbidden from eating wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye flour that’s come into contact with water and was not fully baked within eight minutes. Because of their similar textures, some Ashkenazi Jews avoid eating legumes. Sephardic Jews, on the other hand, are urged to speak with their rabbi. Vegetables like asparagus, spinach, carrots and more are great options that are easy to dress up. Bon Appetit has an amazing charoset recipe as well as an easy to cook and sure to please roasted carrot recipe.
Desserts: Cakes, cookies and pies are often viewed as major no-nos on Passover, but trust me on this one. Even with the strict dietary restrictions that accompany this holiday, it is possible to eat things that don’t include matzo (or do so deliciously). For example, Bon Appetit’s fallen chocolate cake, Food 52’s super simple mousse, and much, much more.
Wine: Alcohol — particularly wine — is an important part of every seder. Each year we leave out a glass for Elijah in the hopes that he'll show up, while also indulging in a few glasses both symbolically and in celebration. Passover's strict guidelines also dictate which wines are kosher for the holiday. Vogue offers several well-crafted and classy options that would be a great addition to any seder.
While reading this list keep in mind the laws of kashrus — some recipes included have incorporated dairy, which is not to be served alongside meat. Simple modifications can rectify this dilemma, making for a delicious and kosher passover.
Chag sameach and happy eating!