This year, Passover will begin at sundown on Saturday, March 27 whether or not you can host or attend a big seder. Time marches on, so if you’re looking for some fresh recipes for the holiday — and trust me, eight straight days of matzah can be daunting for any cook — you’ve come to the right place! Here are eight recipes that you can rely on to make your holiday a touch more celebratory this year. Share the recipes with far-flung family members and you can all enjoy them together over Zoom. Next year in Jerusalem? Here’s hoping.
If you don’t serve Matzo Ball Soup, did Passover ever even happen? The answer, of course, is no. You don’t want to be THAT person. And what about the eternal question about the humble matzo ball: is it better to sink or swim? Avey tackles the controversy head on by offering recipes for both sinkers and floaters, as well as a gluten-free option. I also love her addition of saffron and cloves to the chicken broth, which adds subtle color and depth of flavor. There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of home-made chicken soup.
Charoset is an important element of the Seder meal, representing the mortar that the enslaved Jews used to help build edifices for the Pharaoh. The sweet, paste-like mixture is typically a blend of fruit and nuts in some combination (Ashkenazic Jews tend to favor the apples, walnut, and cinnamon version moistened with sweet kosher wine, while Sephardic Jews skew more to the pistachio/dried fruit/cardamom version), but either way, it’s a highlight of the meal. Writer Anita Schecter has combined elements of the two to create a happy hybrid: a sweet paste of dates, apples, walnuts, and pistachios, formed into a bite-size ball and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Can’t wait to spread this on my matzo!
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The doyenne of Jewish cooking is an unimpeachable source for Passover recipes, and this one is no exception. She takes a cue from Moroccan Jews with this delectable chicken tagine made with artichokes, onions, garlic, and the bright tang of fresh lemon juice. Saffron and cinnamon bring the Moroccan spice, and the dish comes together in about an hour. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (or cilantro) to finish the dish before serving.
Recipe contributor Josh Cohen looks to his beloved bubbe, Libbie Miller, for this killer Passover brisket. Like with all the best braised meat recipes, the finished dish is moist and tender, and the sauce is (touches fingers to lips) mwah! You’ll first season and sear the brisket, then smear the meat with a paste of paprika, tomato paste, and brown sugar, then top with onions and garlic. Add the liquid and braise in a Dutch oven for a few hours, and the results are meat magic.
Not feeling the kugel this year? This side dish has definite Israeli vibes, the sweet roasted tubers drizzled with tahini and roasted sesame oil, sprinkled with chopped cilantro and sesame oil (I like to use both toasted white and black sesame seeds for this, so pretty!) and served up on a platter. Beautiful colors, packed with vitamins, and a crowd pleaser.
My daughter has made this one for the first night of Passover a few years running, and it’s a stunner. It also has the benefit of being gluten-free, because cooking goddess Deb Perelman can’t stand the taste of matzo meal in desserts. So, there’s nothing gumming up the works here, just four layers of baked hazelnut macaroon slathered with coffee-tinged chocolate and plenty of sweetened whipped cream. What’s not to love?
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Let’s be real. We’re all just here for the matzah toffee, am I right? There’s a reason they call it “Matzah Crack,” and it is definitely habit forming. Feel free to play with the recipe; if, like me, you think that white chocolate is an abomination, just sub in more chocolate chips, preferably of the bittersweet variety. Either way, matzo that is slathered with caramel, baked, then gilded with chocolate and sprinkles is going to make everything alright.
This is the go-to Passover brunch recipe, a cross between a matzo quiche and a frittata. Molly Yeh of Girl Meets Farm fame often brings her Jewish and Chinese heritages together in her cooking, but this dish is just her modern take on the age-old Passover favorite. Spinach, fresh herbs, and onions bring the vegetal edge to keep the richness of the heavy cream in check, and the za’atar and paprika kick it up a notch. And there’s cheddar, of course, to bring the whole dish together. Spice lovers can serve it with hot sauce or harissa.
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Julie Chernoff, Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits. She currently serves on the national board of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group addressing hunger issues in the U.S. and Israel for the nearly 46 million people — veterans, children, seniors, tribal nations, and more — who go to bed hungry every night.