How to celebrate a vegan Passover – written by Lara Balsam, Director of the Jewish Vegetarian Society.
Increasing numbers of people are on the hunt for alternatives to eggs over Pesach.
Whether you are steering clear because of an allergy, intolerance or ethics (mass cruelty is endemic in modern production), here are my top tips for a delicious and hassle-free, egg-free Pesach.
When it comes to the Seder plate, a common replacement is a decorative wooden egg.
You can go further and use a flower – a symbol of spring and new life. I like to use edible flowers; visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s website for information about the various flavours and how to grow your own.
For your Passover meals, let vegetables take centre stage. I would highly recommend downloading a seasonal vegetable chart for inspiration, and flicking through Ottolenghi’s books Plenty and Plenty More.
I love baking chunks of sweet potato with cinnamon, paprika, a drizzle of oil and a sprinkling of salt. Whole baked cauliflower makes a great centrepiece.
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My other go-to dishes are: Asian curries with lots of fresh ginger, garlic, lemongrass and fresh coriander, soups (pea, coconut and mint is a particular favourite), spicy shakshuka with baked portobello mushrooms or roasted aubergines instead of eggs, crunchy salads with exciting dressings (my new speciality is black pepper and blueberry).
Keep ‘em Quinoa
Quinoa is a fantastic source of vegan protein, and you can buy packets that have been processed with Passover supervision. Did you know it can be used in desserts too?
There are many recipes online that use popped quinoa (which you can make at home) to add crunch. Two years ago the Jewish Vegetarian Society hosted a vegan seder at JW3.
The most popular dish was the chocolate mousse – Sheryl Crowe’s recipe, which uses avocado among just a handful of other healthy ingredients.
More Top Tips for a vegan passover
- Stock up on fresh herbs, and your favourite spices.
- Make homemade pesto (recipe below) and keep it in a sealed jar in the fridge, ready to drizzle over roasted veggies, soups, warm potato salad and even on matzah.
- Stock up on nuts – they add texture and are full of goodness — and taste even better once toasted. Cashew nuts can be quickly transformed into a delicious savoury sauce – see recipe below
- When baking, use ¼ cup (65g) of pureed cooked apple or mashed banana to replace each egg.
- Recipe swap with friends.
Lara’s Suggested Recipes
Makes enough as an accompaniment for 5 people:
- 100g cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in cold water or soaked for 15 minutes in boiling water
- 360ml vegetable stock
- Drain the cashews and blitz in a blender with the vegetable stock.
- After a minute, check on the sauce and use a spatula to push down any nuts that have not been incorporated.
- Add black pepper, and continue to blend until completely smooth.
- Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and gently heat, stirring continuously so it does not stick.
- To boost the flavour, add a small handful sundried tomatoes or a medium handful of dried mushrooms (which need soaking in boiling water for 15 minutes and straining) before blending.
- 70g almonds/brazil nuts/walnuts
- One standard bunch of fresh basil, washed and stalks removed
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- Sea salt
- In a powerful food processor, pulse your chosen nuts for about ten seconds, then add the basil and garlic.
- Whilst pulsing it, slowly pour in the olive oil until everything is combined. Add a pinch of salt. If you prefer the pesto to be smooth, continue to blitz.
Find out more about the great work that happens over at The Jewish Vegetarian Society, including the grand launch of their newly renovated space, the world’s first Jewish, vegan centre.
If you can’t wait to get started trying plant-based food, we have lots and lots of vegan recipes for you to try now!