Midway through Passover, a friend grumbled about the holiday’s food, saying that
she’s tired of potato dishes which make her Passover menus too
Aviva Kanoff felt the same way. “As I found myself dreading the
very thought of another potato-filled Passover,” she writes, ”someone proposed a
fantastic idea to me: creating a low-carb Passover cookbook.”
decided to force herself “to think outside the box and come up with lots of
potato alternatives.” The result is her new book, The No-Potato
Two foods that Kanoff recommends adding to Passover menus are
quinoa, a high protein grain-like seed that many rabbis do not consider to be
kitniyot and is therefore acceptable for Passover for Ashkenazim as well as
Sephardim; and spaghetti squash, which is low in calories and, when cooked,
looks somewhat like spaghetti. Compared to spaghetti, wrote Kanoff, “it’s much
lower in carbohydrates and won’t leave you feeling lethargic.” She makes it into
spaghetti squash kugel by mixing the shredded squash with eggs, salt, pepper,
sugar and a little matza meal, then bakes the mixture in a pan in which she has
heated a little vegetable oil.
For a simpler recipe, she makes garlic
spaghetti squash with basil by heating baked, shredded squash with sauteed onion
and garlic, baby tomatoes and fresh basil. Another tasty side dish is roasted
cauliflower, which she prepares by mixing cauliflower florets with olive oil,
minced garlic, salt and pepper and baking them until they turn golden
My own Passover meals aren’t too heavy because my menus during the
holiday follow the same pattern as those of the rest of the year – I include a
high proportion of vegetables, especially cooked ones. Preparing satisfying side
dishes from vegetables is the key to Passover meals that are filling without too
many potato dishes. For me, a good way to get ideas and inspiration is to learn
what my vegetarian friends are cooking and to consult vegetarian
Deb Roussou, author of 350 Best Vegan Recipes, makes vegetable
dishes that are simple to prepare and are suitable for Passover. Her festive
side dish of lime- and saffron-caramelized carrots is made by sauteing carrot
slices in olive oil with lime juice and zest, saffron, salt and
Another dish that’s perfect as an appetizer for the Holiday of
Spring is her balsamic asparagus with walnuts, for which she cooks asparagus
pieces with minced shallot sauteed in olive oil and then simmers them briefly
with the vinegar and walnuts.
Roussou also makes an easy Mediterranean
casserole that requires no separate sauteing of the components. She layers
salted eggplant slices, after patting them dry, in a baking pan with sliced red
onion, mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes, drizzles them with olive oil and
sprinkles them with chopped fresh oregano, salt and pepper; she then bakes the
casserole in a medium oven until the vegetables are tender. Roussou serves the
casserole for lunch with a Greek salad but you could also bake it alongside a
chicken for an easy-to-make holiday or Shabbat dinner.
THIS YEAR, many
will be eating Passover food for an extra day because in Israel the last day of
the holiday falls on Friday. For practical purposes, in observant households the
food served on Shabbat will be cooked on Friday and will therefore be Passover
In addition, there’s a special halachic procedure to allow people
to cook on this Friday for Shabbat. Lise Stern, author of How to Keep Kosher,
explains how it works: “The restrictions for cooking on Yom Tov are that you can
cook on that day – but only for that day. There is a special challenge when...
Yom Tov is followed by Shabbat, with no break in between.
“In order to
prepare food for Shabbat on a Yom Tov day, you need to perform a ceremonial
procedure called eruv tavshilin, literally a “mixing of dishes.” Before... Yom
Tov, you need to prepare a symbolic amount of food... Often a hard-boiled egg is
You say a blessing on this food, along with a piece of matza, and
then set the two pieces of food aside and save them to eat on Shabbat. “The eruv
tavshilin,” writes Stern, “symbolically indicates that you already started
Shabbat food preparation before the Yom Tov began, so anything you might make on
Friday is actually a continuation of that process.”
For the last few days
of this longer-than-usual Passover, lighter meals with fewer potatoes are
particularly welcome.Faye Levy is the author of Healthy Cooking for the
Jewish Home.CAULIFLOWER KUGEL WITH SAUTEED ONION
This light kugel, made with only a
tablespoon of matza meal, was a favorite of my mother’s. She seasoned hers only
with salt, pepper and paprika; I like to add cayenne pepper for extra zip.
Sometimes I add a pinch of turmeric while sauteing the onions, to give the kugel
a slightly spicy aroma and a delicate golden hue. The kugel is good with roasted
or braised chicken, or for a vegetarian meal with sauteed vegetables and a big
salad.Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 large cauliflower (900 gr. or 2 pounds)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or
1 medium onion, chopped
1⁄4 tsp. turmeric (optional)
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. matza meal
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
About 1⁄2 tsp. paprika (optional)
Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF). Divide cauliflower into medium florets. Cut peel
from large stalk and slice stalk. Boil cauliflower in a large saucepan of
boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until stalks are very tender. Drain
well and cool. Mash with a potato masher or puree in a food processor, leaving a
few small chunks.
Transfer to a bowl.
Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons oil
in a medium nonstick skillet. Add onion and saute over mediumlow heat, stirring
occasionally, for 7 minutes or until onions are golden brown. Add turmeric and
saute, stirring, for another few seconds.
Add eggs and matza meal to
Season well with salt and pepper. Lightly stir in
onion mixture and any oil in pan.
Oil a shallow 20-cm. (8-inch) square
baking dish. Add cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon oil over top.
Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in upper third of oven for 40 minutes or until set
and very lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and run a knife around edges.
To serve, cut carefully in squares. Use a spoon to remove
portions.LEMON- AND SAFFRON-CARAMELIZED CARROTS
This recipe is adapted
from 350 Best Vegan Recipes. Author Deb Roussou makes these sweet and savory
candied carrots with lime zest and juice, but lemon works well too. No sugar is
added; the recipe gains its sweetness from the natural flavor of the carrots and
from caramelizing them.Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 Tbsp. olive oil
30 gr. (2 Tbsp.) margarine
6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into coins
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. salt
Pinch of saffron
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and let pan get hot. Add oil and
when hot, add margarine to melt, tipping pan to coat. Add carrots, lemon zest, 2
teaspoons lemon juice, pepper, salt and saffron and toss to coat.
heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are tender and very
caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.
Variation: Omit the saffron and
lemon zest and simply sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and a drizzle of lemon