If there’s no brisket, it’s no problem. For fish eaters, there are many traditional and unique ways to celebrate Passover with meat-free dishes. Passover Seder is an opportunity to cook up a sumptuous feast, sans meat, that can be enjoyed by vegetarians, pescetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Barbara Wasser of Niskayuna eats meat, but two of her three children don’t. “When we visit, we eat like they do,” Wasser said, who heads to the Pacific Northwest for the holiday. She helps to prepare elaborate meals for the 22 guests present in keeping with traditional Passover foods, but without meat. This includes gefilte fish and matzo ball soup, without the chicken base. “The people who don’t eat gefilte fish get a fruit plate,” she said.
The main event for the first night is salmon with a mango salsa, and baked sole topped with onions and red and green peppers sauteed in wine for the second night. There will also be a mixed green salad and an avocado with hearts of palm salad.
The family also includes roasted vegetable dishes like asparagus, potatoes and sweet potato fries.
The meat isn’t even missed. Guests, both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, are thrilled, Wasser said.
Passover in Joe and Susan Sharfstein’s Niskayuna home is different every year and usually has an ethnic twist. The couple have made a Peruvian fish stew for a Latin American flavor and rice and beans for a Miami theme as well as fish dishes including fish stuffed with matzo farfel, fish wrapped in parchment, and last year when their oven was unavailable, Joe made the grill kosher for Passover and barbecued fish.
This year, Susan is thinking of making sushi and having an Asian-themed Seder. “It’s very, very eclectic,” she said. The couple experiment with something new every year.
When vegetarian Cheryl Ratner of Niskayuna visits another house for Passover, she brings a quinoa casserole.
Ratner didn’t realize that quinoa was approved for Passover (it’s now under the supervision of the Kashrut Division of the Orthodox Union) until she and her family went to a Passover retreat in Georgia several years ago. Many mistake quinoa for a grain, which would make it off-limits for Passover, but it is actually in the same botanical family as the beet.
Quinoa is a great food for vegetarians because of its high protein content with just over 8 grams per cooked cup.
Roasted vegetables are always a favorite with vegetarians and meat-eaters. “Even the most staunch carnivores can’t resist a good roasted vegetable if it’s made with some good herbs and spices,” Ratner said.
The following recipes are from “Divine Kosher Cuisine” by Risé Routenberg and Barbara Wasser (2006)
1⁄3 cup butter
1⁄3 cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter for sauteing
1⁄2 cup chopped onions
11⁄2 cups dry stuffing mix (use matzoh farfel for Passover)
10 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 sole fillets
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease 9-by-13-inch square baking pan.
Melt 1⁄3 cup butter in saucepan and add juice, salt, pepper, basil, parsley and garlic.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in small skillet and saute onions until soft.
Moisten stuffing or matzoh farfel with hot water until soft and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine with broccoli, onions, half the cheese and half the butter-lemon mixture.
Top fillets with equal portions of stuffing mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in pan. Pour remaining butter-lemon mixture over fish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.
Fruited Quinoa Primavera
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quinoa
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 cup dried apricots, diced
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
Bring broth, bay leaf and salt to boil in soup pot.
Add quinoa and return to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa absorbs liquid. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and cool
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet and saute vegetables until lightly browned. Add to quinoa.
Drizzle remaining oil and juice over mixture. Stir in fruit, herbs, salt and pepper.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
1⁄4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 9 X 13-inch pan.
Prepare Fruited Quinoa Primavera.
Cut 1⁄2-inch off bottoms of squash. Brush inside with oil.
Stuff each half generously with quinoa mixture and place in pan. Cover and bake 45 minutes until squash is tender.