If you had plans to attend a Passover Seder in 2020, it's safe to say that they're probably canceled due to the COVID-19 quarantines. While it's definitely a bummer that Jewish families and friends can't get together to celebrate Passover this year, there are still plenty of ways to observe the holiday from home, whether you're quarantined with your family, partner, roommate, or by yourself. (And hey, even if you're alone, just put out an extra glass of wine and crack your front door, and Elijah will be there to join you.)
One of my favorite parts of Passover is all the food served at the Seder, and I intend to whip up a few of my favorite Passover dishes for myself this year, even though I won't be cooking them for my family as planned. And even though you may not have access to all the same groceries that you usually do, the current era of pantry staples is a great opportunity to make planet-friendly, vegan Passover recipes.
Eating vegan is one of the most positive lifestyle changes we can make for the planet — not to mention, a vegan lifestyle does not contribute to animal abuse, and a healthy plant-based diet can have incredible effects on the body. Plus, matzah is vegan!
Vegan Passover Recipes
The internet is filled with various plant-based Passover recipes, but right now, many of us have limited access to ingredients due to the novel coronavirus. So on the following list, you'll find recipes for some of the simplest (but delicious, of course) vegan kosher for Passover dishes that the internet has to offer. And if you need a refresher on which foods are and aren't kosher for Passover, here's a guide from Reform Judaism.
Vegan Matzah Ball Soup
Luckily, matzah is vegan — so why not whip up a quick vegan matzah ball soup? To make PETA's matzah balls, all you need is matzah meal, potato starch, oil, water, baking soda, salt, and garlic powder; the Edgy Veg's recipe takes things up a notch by including seltzer water and coconut oil.
Chances are, your favorite charoset recipe is already vegan! This charoset recipe from Epicurious is super simple — all you'll need are apples, walnuts, red wine, ground cinnamon, and brown sugar.
Vegan Gefilte Fish
Not-so-fun fact: There are no gefilte fish swimming around the ocean — gefilte fish is just the ground up flesh of a variety of species of fish. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to replicate this dish (and its customary giant carrot slice) without any fish. Check out this recipe for vegan gefilte fish from the Jewish Vegetarian Society, which uses a blend of cauliflower, parsnip, onion, and spices to replicate a fishy flavor.
Vegan Matzah Brei
Passover's version of French Toast, matzah brei (Yiddish for fried matzah), is typically made with eggs — but there are numerous options for making your matzah brei vegan this year.
The simplest recipe I could find is this one from Vegan Start, which simply uses water and potato starch to soften and bind your matzah into a brei; this recipe from the blog SunnysideHanne uses silken tofu instead of eggs (though some Ashkenazi Jews do not eat tofu or any legume products on Passover); or, follow your favorite matzah brei recipe, and replace the eggs with Just Egg, Follow Your Heart's VeganEgg, or, my personal (lazy) favorite: non-dairy milk with a dash of black salt.
The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik is both Jewish and vegan — and on her YouTube channel (and in her cookbook), you'll find a variety of vegan and kosher for Passover recipes. One of her most intriguing is her recipe for vegan matzah lasagna, which essentially uses matzah instead of lasagna noodles. The recipe features a homemade vegan ricotta recipe made from macadamia nuts (though store-bought vegan cheese works too) mixed with jarred tomato sauce and whatever vegetables you have on hand, making this recipe super quarantine-friendly.
Vegan Jackfruit Brisket
Making a vegan brisket out of jackfruit may sound like a big undertaking — but the two main ingredients in this recipe for vegan jackfruit brisket from My Jewish Learning are canned jackfruit and canned tomatoes, making this a super simple option for those consuming mostly canned goods right now. Consider this practice for next year's Seder, when you can wow all your meat-eating family and friends with your cow-free brisket.
Tzimmes is another quarantine-friendly recipe. Not only is it often vegan as is, but it's also super customizable — feel free to mix up the root vegetables and fruits in your tzimmes based on what you have in your kitchen. This recipe for vegan tzimmes from the Vegan Atlas features sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, apples or pears, prunes, apricots, orange juice, and more.
Vegan Passover Dessert Recipes
If you're going to forgo leavened bread for eight days, you'll probably be needing some dessert. Here are a few kosher for Passover vegan dessert recipes.
Vegan Matzah Bark
All you need to make matzah bark (aka matzah brittle or matzah crack) is matzah, dark chocolate, and the toppings of your choice, such as nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, dried fruit, and sea salt. This Vegetarian Times' matzah bark is a great guide, as is this recipe by Cinnamon Sweet Shoppe.
It wouldn't be Passover without macaroons. If you're a fan of coconut-based desserts, check out this straightforward recipe for vegan coconut macaroons for Passover by Fran Costigan.
A Vegan Seder Plate
While you may not be hosting a formal Seder this year, you can still make a Seder plate. Four of the six Seder plate items — matzah, charoset, maror (bitter herbs), and karpas (vegetables, typically parsley) — are already vegan. Woohoo! The two remaining items — the zeroa (usually a shankbone) and baytzah (usually a hard-boiled egg) — both come from animals. What's interesting is, these items are not actually used or eaten during the Seder — and there are easy ways to replace them.
According to JewishVeg, the Talmud mentions that the sage Rav Huna used a beet to symbolize the Passover lamb, making a beet a solid choice to replace the shankbone on your Seder plate.
As for the baytzah, you have a few options. The baytzah symbolizes fertility and renewal, according to JewishVeg. One Green Planet suggests representing that sense of rebirth by using seeds, ripe fruit with a pit, a flower, an avocado pit, or an orange to represent the baytzah on your Seder plate.
For ideas on how to keep all eight days of Passover eco-friendly, click here for our best zero-waste Passover tips.