Passover is the Jewish holiday that celebrates freedom from slavery. We are commanded to retell the story so that we will never forget that we were once slaves in the land of Egypt.
This year, our Passover seder will be one that celebrates freedom in more than one way. I am celebrating freedom from a lifelong habit of eating the flesh and secretions of animals. In no way do I want to force my beliefs on others (though in reality, since I’m cooking and the food is gluten-free and vegan, my guests will be trying it out). This is my path, my truth, my journey, a personal one that rings true for me.
If you’ve read this far but aren’t really sure about this gluten-free and/or vegan thing, please believe me when I say that our Passover feast will be full of delicious AND healthful dishes. While I’ve been exploring and redirecting my values and beliefs around the food I eat, I’m still hugely interested and passionate about cooking really kick-ass tasting food!
Without further ado:
Matzah (see new adapted recipe below)
Stuffed Mushrooms with Curried Eggless Tofu Salad
Roasted Vegetable Soup & Matzoh Balls
Chickpea-Tastes-Like-Tuna made into Faux Gefilte Fish Loaf
Kickin’ Hot Horseradish (grated by you-know-who)
Charoset (traditional Ashkenazic)
Lentil, Mushroom, & Walnut Pate (see link for cookbook source)
Cauliflower Leek Kugel (see link for cookbook source)
Potato Broccoli Knish
Arugula Salad without the cheese
Raw Chocolate Bliss (I made and froze this – it is fabulous!)
I’m very pleased with the matzah. It is a variation on a variation on a variation. You see the theme, eh? Great pun, don’t you think?!
The original recipe can be traced to here. I’ve made some adaptations to it.
In order for matzah to be acceptable for a seder, it has to be made from at least one of five grains (among other rules). And since one of the grains can be oatmeal, I believe this matzah is perfectly suitable for a Passover seder.
Gluten-Free and Vegan Matzah
recipe adapted by Ellen Allard
Makes two round matzah crackers about 6 inches in diameter
1 tbsp flaxmeal + 3 tbsp water
3 tbsp + 2 tsp potato starch (can be potato starch flour but NOT potato flour)
3 tbsp + 2 tsp almond meal
3 tbsp + 2 tsp ground oatmeal (rolled oats ground in food processor or blender)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
white rice flour for dusting hands and/or kneading surfaces
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If using pizza stone to bake matzo, place in oven before preheating.
Mix the flaxmeal and water in a blender until combined. Pour into small dish and let sit on counter for about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can mix the flaxmeal and water with a spoon and let rest in dish for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine remaining DRY ingredients. Use your fingers to blend them all together.
Add flaxmeal/water mixture to dry ingredients and blend with fingers. It will appear weird and wrong and you will want to throw in the towel. Don’t! Stay the course. In about 30 seconds it will begin to feel like playdough. Keep kneading by hand until the dough comes together without falling apart. Though I didn’t find it necessary, if you find that the dough is too dry, add more water. If it’s too wet, add a little more potato starch or almond meal or oatmeal.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Place one dough ball on a piece of parchment or waxed paper, silpat mat or directly on your counter. In all cases, keep the surface dusted with white rice flour to keep your dough from sticking.
If using the parchment or waxed paper, place another piece of parchment or waxed paper on top of the dough ball. Press the dough down with your hand to flatten. I found it helpful to use a rolling pin at this point. DON’T PRESS TOO HARD WITH THE ROLLING PIN. Just press until the dough is about 6 – 8 inches in diameter or until it’s thin, but not too thin. If it’s too thin, you won’t be able to peel it from the waxed paper. If this happens, use your fingers to peel it off the paper and then start the rolling process again.
Once the dough reaches your desired thinness, gently peel the top layer of parchment or waxed paper off the dough. Use a spatula (you might need to dip the end of it in white rice flour) to gently remove the dough from the bottom layer of parchment or waxed paper OR flip the dough over so that the parchment or waxed paper is on top and then gently peel it off the dough.
Alternatively, if not using parchment or waxed paper, roll the dough out on a silpat mat or counter which you dust with white rice flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
Prick with fork. Then place dough on cookie sheet or pizza baking stone which has been preheating in oven. Bake for ten minutes OR until browned and crisp around the edges. Every oven is different, so please watch your matzot and make sure they don’t burn. When done, remove from oven, place on rack to cool.
My oven is large enough to allow me to bake nine matzot (plural for matzah) at a time. I’m making enough so that each person can have 2 matzot plus extra for the seder plate and extra for the afikomen (a traditional part of the seder where a piece of matzah is hidden and children are sent to find it – the child who finds it first wins a prize – needless to say, the most fun part of the seder for the kids, next to the listing of the Ten Plagues!).
May you have a zissen Pesach! Next year in Jerusalem!