Celebrate Passover this year with classic recipes for your Seder table with foods that celebrate this special spring festival. These Passover plates are also lighter and healthier than traditional fare, so you can feel great about that, too.
Red Wine and Onion-Braised Passover BrisketThis classic brisket is slow-braised in the oven with plenty of onions, which get nice and soft and sweet. Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, of the extremely popular Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco, gave us the recipe.
An inextricable part of the Seder, haroseth represents the mortar that the Jews were forced to work with as slaves in ancient Egypt. Recipes vary widely, depending on region; this one leans toward the Mediterranean, with its dates and warm spices. It was given to us by Tanya Holland, chef-owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side Baking Co. in Oakland.
Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and ParsleyParsley has its own spot on the seder plate, representing spring. Although quinoa is considered a whole grain, it is, in fact, a seed—making it a welcome addition to a Passover meal.
Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cake
Oakland chef Tanya Holland puts a Southern spin on this classic Passover cake. It will rise as it bakes, and then sink rather dramatically in the center. Don't worry about this--just trim the top with a large serrated knife and save the pieces for snacks.
Becka's Passover Apple CakeThis great cake is so light and fluffy, it's hard to believe there's no flour in it.
If you've only eaten matzos from a box, homemade ones are a revelation—light, fresh, and totally addictive. And even inexperienced bakers can make them; this recipe from Blake Joffe and Amy Remsen, owners of Beauty's Bagel Shop in Oakland, California, has enough olive oil to make the dough supple and easy to handle.
Israeli CarrotsThe vivid garlic-and-herb vinaigrette contrasts with the sweet carrots.
Lemon-Coconut-Almond HarosetHaroset is a sweet, chunky paste made primarily of fruit and nuts. It's served during the Passover Seder to symbolize the mortar the Israelites used when they were slaves in Egypt. There are many different variations of haroset–this one is bright with color and flavor from the lemon and the coconut.
Matzo Ball SoupA Passover tradition, these matzo meal dumplings are shaped by hand and dropped into a pot of simmering chicken broth. Because you make the broth with skinned chicken pieces and strain out the solids, the broth is quite low in fat.
Passover Chremslach with Mixed Fruit CompoteChremslach is a pancake made with matzo meal instead of flour. The pancakes are usually deep-fried, resembling fritters, but these are briefly pan-fried then baked.
Safta's Mock Liver (Green Bean and Pea Pâté)
"My grandmother (safta is Hebrew for grandma) always made this mock liver because she felt it to be healthier than one made with liver and schmaltz (chicken fat)," says Evan Bloom of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco. Bloom and Wise Sons co-owner Leo Beckerman put this fresh-tasting pâté on the menu for Passover.
Matzo, Mushroom, and Onion KugelA kugel is a baked pudding usually made with potatoes or noodles, but toasted matzo crackers are the base in this savory version. Its hearty flavor comes from the addition of mushrooms, carrot, and onion. Serve as a side dish for roasted chicken or lamb.
Sweet Vegetable KugelMade with matzo meal and freshly grated veggies, this side dish makes the perfect accompaniment to the Passover table.
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Lemon RindSimply seasoned with fresh herbs and cooked in the skillet, this asparagus dish is a quick and easy addition to the Passover meal.
Wise Sons' Gefilte FishAs an answer to gefilte fish from a jar, which can be heavy, gluey, and strong-flavored, Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco, created this very fresh and mild-tasting homemade version for Passover. The gefilte fish have a texture like light matzo balls, and are served with a carrot applesauce; Wise Sons also serves it with fresh horseradish sauce, but we've opted to buy prepared horseradish.
Brisket with Olives and Preserved LemonsAlong with the sweet-hot spiciness of ginger and turmeric, the preserved lemon adds a distinct Moroccan flair to the baked beef brisket.
Lemon-Herb Roasted ChickenThere are roasted chickens and there are memorable roasted chickens. This one stands out from the rest because of the wet rub of crushed lemon sections, herbs, and black pepper. The golden brown color, the rich flavor and the juiciness make it a perfect choice for your holiday menu.
Sponge Cake with Orange Curd and StrawberriesDairy- and flour-free, this cake is a winner year-round. Matzo cake meal—finely ground matzo—stands in for wheat flour.
Passover Baklava CakeThis rich, nutty matzo meal cake is soaked in a honey-citrus syrup, giving it a flavor much like baklava. For the best flavor, soak the cake overnight, and serve chilled.
Almond-Apricot MacaroonsClassic macaroons are made with almond paste or ground almonds mixed with sugar and egg whites. They're typically low in fat because they have egg whites instead of eggs. The fat in these cookies comes from the almonds, but it's a heart-healthy kind of fat.
Brownies For Passover
Passover Chopped Layered SaladUse jarred beets and jarred bell peppers to speed the process. Assemble up to three days ahead, but reserve the beets and eggs, adding them just before you serve.
Passover Pecan BarsThis dessert is reminiscent of pecan pie--with the extra sweetness of maple syrup and flaked coconut baked right in.
Fallen Chocolate Cake with Cherry Red Wine SauceThis moist, dense, rich cake contains no flour or other grains, making it appropriate for Passover. You can find kosher-for-Passover wine, vanilla, and almond extract in grocery stores this time of year or at www.kosher.com. To achieve the cake's fudgy texture, be sure to pull it from the oven when a wooden pick comes out nearly clean. You can prepare and chill the sauce a day ahead.
Passover Pear-Ginger CrispThe crisp topping for this dessert is made with a matzo meal base and features different spices for a warm and cozy flavor.