Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Very Veggie Pesach: Matzah Lasagna; Vegan Passover Nut Loaf

I've been mostly vegetarian for many years now.  When I first started cooking for myself full-time, I was in law school in Athens, Georgia, more than an hour's drive away from the nearest source of kosher meat.  I would drive down there once a month, freeze some meat, cook it for Shabbat and maybe one or two other times a week, but I got out of the habit of eating meat and came to enjoy pareve and dairy meals.  It's now reached the point where I hardly ever cook meat.  Don't get me wrong: I still enjoy meat occasionally.  I grill some burgers and dogs on the American barbeque holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day).  I make a chicken with a lemon-wine-dill sauce as my last meal before Yom Kippur.  And I stood on long lines for Max and David's pulled brisket sandwiches when they were catering Jewish Heritage Night at the Phillies and Sixers games (they were delicious).  I find, though, that I can't eat like that on a regular basis.

At Passover, I don't have much choice: my regular diet is mostly beans, grains and pasta, and they're not kosher for Passover!  In the past, I have stuck with mostly meat during Passover, but as the years go on, it just doesn't sit well with me.  At the end of last Passover, I was not feeling well at all, and I decided that I was going to come up with vegetarian options for Passover. I've been working on ideas on and off for the last year, and I now have eight different main course options, one for each night of Passover. I'll be posting the recipes here over the next week or two.  Note that many of these options are not vegan (they contain dairy and/or eggs), and many of them are gebrochts (they combine matzah prodcuts with liquid), and not gluten-free.  I will identify these things. 

Of course, one vegetarian recipe is already on my website: matzah lasagna.  This recipe is not vegan (contains eggs and dairy) and is gebrochts and not gluten-free (contains matzah).

But here's something new: Passover Nut Loaf.  This recipe is vegan, but does contain matzah farfel, so it is gebrochts and not gluten-free .


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or other kosher-for-Passover cooking oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery or other chopped vegetables
  • 2 cups chopped, sliced or slivered nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans... whatever you can find, preferably not salted)
  • 1 package of Passover stuffing mix
Kashrut notes:
  • OU's website currently states that all extra virgin olive oils are kosher for Passover without any certification.
  • Star K's website says that fresh supermarket produce is not a Passover problem, though some will only eat peelable fruits and vegetables.  If so, substitute a peelable vegetable like zucchini for the celery
  • Nuts are a Passover problem: they are normally packaged with preservatives BHA and BHT, suspended in corn oil.  Make sure the nuts you use are marked kosher for Passover.  These will normally be in the Passover section of stores with a better selection.  Use whatever kind of nuts you can find with certification.  If you can't find them locally, online vendor Oh! Nuts had a nice selection.
  • Stuffing mix: both Manischewitz and Streits make a good kosher-for-Passover stuffing mix, really just a package of matzah farfel and a package of herbs and spices.  If you can't find the mix, you can use two cups of farfel in its place, but a good mix of Passover herbs and spices is hard to find.  Manischewitz's is available on Amazon.com, but only in a pack of 6.
Equipment:
  • large, deep saute pan, or 5 quart pot
  • deep 8x8 baking pan
Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Heat oil in saute pan or pot
  3. Add onions and saute until they begin to brown
  4. Add remaining vegetables and nuts and continue to saute for 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables soften
  5. Add farfel packet from stuffing mix and saute for 3-5 minutes, until the last of the oil is absorbed
  6. Add spice packet from stuffing mix and carefully add 3 cups of hot water (may spatter if you're not careful).  NOTE: the instructions on the stuffing mix call for 2 cups of water, not 3; this recipe needs extra water because of the extra ingredients and differences in consistency.
  7. Stir on medium-low heat until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes
  8. Grease the baking pan with some olive oil or Passover margarine
  9. Spread the mixture into the baking pan
  10. Cook covered (foil is sufficient) for 20 minutes
  11. Uncover and cook an additional 20 minutes to brown
I won't speculate as to how many this serves; it's so tasty that I eat way too much of it by myself!

For more vegetarian idea for Passover, see Pesach Options for Vegetarians and Vegans.

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1 comment:

KleoPatra said...

GREAT stuff!! Thank you from a Jewish almost-vegan!!