The Jew And The Carrot

How To Host an Elegant Vegetarian Seder

By Jessica Fisher

  • Print
  • Share Share
Thinkstock

Whether it’s eating a fish head on Rosh Hashanah or mom’s turkey on Thanksgiving, traditional holiday foods are often not vegetarian friendly. Meat consumption on holidays is deeply embedded in Jewish tradition, where Maimonides and others propagate the idea that one cannot properly observe a holiday or celebration without consuming meat. Even the seder plate calls for a lamb shank (though there are sources that do permit replacing it with a roasted beet). And while the meat issue complicates all holidays for vegetarians, Passover adds a level complexity by taking so many staples off the table, especially if you don’t eat kitnyot. But, contrary to Maimonides’ position, vegetarians will tell you it is possible to enjoy a feast without serving meat, even on Passover.

To make the meal feel decadent, make sure to start with an appetizer. While many mock chopped liver recipes involve peas, which are kitnyot, there are a number of fantastic recipes for mushroom-based mock chopped liver, which provides a lot of flavor and “meatiness” to your appetizer course (if you want to be even fancier, you can call it a pâté). If you have vegans at the table, this can easily be adapted for them by taking out the eggs. The next crucial element of a fancy meal is, of course, soup. This recipe from Whole Foods suggests adding assorted root vegetables to your vegetarian matza ball soup. If you want to depart from the matza ball tradition or give your guests options, try a pureed vegetable soup (substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock) or roasted garlic and artichoke soup.

Once the little plates have been cleared, it’s time to move to the entrée, which is always a point of stress for meat-eaters serving vegetarians. Many fear not having a centerpiece on their plates and eating a dinner of side dishes. Well, fear no more: meet the cauliflower steak. This is a fairly simple dish with flavor, contrasting textures, and substance. If you go this route, serve the steaks with a vibrantly green side dish, like roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli, and a crisp Meditteranean salad (you can leave out the cheese). You can also add some zest to the main course with these harissa-spiced carrots carrots or braised artichokes. If you’re feeling antsy about lack of proteins, there’s always quinoa (although quinoa is a bit controversial). These quinoa patties would add heftiness to the plate, but make sure to switch out the breadcrumbs for matza meal and leave out the feta if you’re looking for something pareve. Also keep in mind that cumin is considered kitnyot, so if you don’t eat kitnyot during Passover you could omit it or consider using turmeric or paprika.

As for dessert, you really can’t go wrong with lemon meringues and fresh berries. Just ditch the lemon curd out of the recipe if you want it dairy free. If you are looking to please vegan guests there is always a lot of fun to be had with truffles.

The truth is, I wouldn’t even wait for Passover to eat this meal!


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Vegetarian Seder, Seder, Passover2 2013

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.