Welcoming Vegetarian Guests to Your Passover Seder
Vegetarians as a group already think before they eat, but Passover vegetarian food requires some extra effort. A traditional Seder meal usually includes gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup with chicken broth, brisket, and some sort of egg-laden dessert - not a vegetarian-friendly menu. Many vegetarian guests long ago resigned themselves to just charoses, matzoh, and salad at seder meals.
That's hardly filling or festive! If you're hosting vegetarian guests at your seder this year, don't worry. You can still serve traditional favorites and make sure that nobody leaves the table hungry. It's as easy as adding or modifying a dish or two.
Add Vegetarian Dishes to Your Seder Table
Most vegetarians are used to "making do" at big holiday meals. They cobble together a mix of different meat-free side dishes, salads, and breads.
But Passover is special. For one thing, there's won't be any bread at the table! The Passover holiday isn't just an excuse to cook a big meal and have company. It's a ritual meal that includes foods that have specific, symbolic meaning. The Passover seder is part of Jewish religious observance.
At the beginning of the meal, "all who are hungry" are invited to the table. Make sure your vegetarian guests are able to fill stomachs along with their spirits.
A selection of these vegetarian Passover recipes should please all your guests:
Vegetarian Passover Side Dishes
These vegan Passover recipes fit the more stringent Ashkenazic Passover traditions, but should please your Sephardic guests as well. There are also many vegetarian Passover recipes available in print cookbooks or online, including complete vegetarian seder menus.
- Zucchini Pritti: a traditional Israeli recipe with bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, and basil.
- Toasted Quinoa Pilaf: Pronounced "keen wa," this is technically a fruit, but is often used like a grain. It's high in protein and acceptable to a majority of Jews during Passover.
- Steamed Asparagus with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce: This sauce goes well with many spring vegetables. The mix of mushrooms, garlic, and soy sauce complement steamed green vegetables like asparagus and bok choy.
- Roasted Vegetables with Rosemary and Garlic; Good by itself, or it can easily be made into a Passover main dish when served over a quinoa or rice pilaf.
- Eggplant Salad: This delicious salad should be made a day ahead to allow the flavors to mix. It's also good served with a sprinkle of cheese over the top, but omit for vegan guests.
Vegetarian Passover Main Dishes
During Passover, many strictly observant Jews prefer to eat at home or only in the homes of family and very close friends. That's because Passover traditions and observance vary widely between countries and even local communities.
But, chances are, if vegetarians have accepted your seder invitation, they're planning to eat! Here are five vegan main dish recipes that can be served alongside your meat meal.
- Tofu Stuffed Mushrooms: A Sephardic-style dish loaded with delicious garlic and Italian flavor. Can also be served as appetizers.
- Passover Potato Patties with Tomato Sauce: A delicious version of the traditional veggie burger, but without the wheat products.
- Elegant Roasted Vegetable Torte: Guests will think they're eating at a four-star restaurant when they see this beautiful entrée.
- Grilled Ratatouille over Quinoa: High in protein, flavor, and visually appealing.
- Stuffed Cabbage: Familiar Eastern European favorite with a vegetarian twist.