A Vegetarian Passover Seder Is Easier Than You Think!
During Passover, just buying kosher food isn't enough. The food must also be "kosher for Passover," which means it doesn't include any leavening agents. Also, its storage and preparation must be closely monitored and certified by rabbinic authorities. From that basic requirement, things quickly get more complicated.
Sephardic Jews of Middle Eastern, Greek, Yemenite, or Spanish heritage omit any foods with leavening or grain products, but eat rice and beans during Passover. Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern European heritage don't eat rice, corn, or beans (called kitniyot) because 13th century Jewish authorities ruled that those products could be ground into flour and used like bread products. There was also the danger of contamination since those products were often stored in bags that had held wheat or flour.
When you exclude grains, corn, beans, and rice, there's not much left! As a result, the ingredient lists for traditional Passover foods tend to be full of meat, cheese, eggs, and dairy.
That can make menu planning a little stressful for vegetarians - and anyone on a restricted diet. But relax: this sample Vegetarian seder menu should please your guests and satisfy your taste buds.
Hosting a Vegetarian Seder
Vegetarian seders are growing in popularity. The holiday, with its emphasis on liberation, renewal, and justice, lends itself to a meal also based on compassion and sustainability. The reasons people host vegetarian seders are as varied as the reasons people become vegetarian in the first place:
* Concern for social justice
* Environmental awareness
* Health reasons
* Support of animal rights
* Cost - meat is expensive!
Remember that the seder plate is an important part of the ritual meal - and the shank bone of a lamb is one of the six symbolic items. The most common replacement is a roasted beet. Southern Jews, though, often use a small, roasted sweet potato instead, referring to it as the "Paschal Yam."
Vegetarian Passover Seder Menu
If you've invited a few vegetarians to your seder this year, then it's easy to offer a vegetarian Passover main dish (link to veggie visitors) or some extra side dishes (link to veggie visitors) to accompany your regular menu.
A completely vegetarian seder requires a bit more thought and planning, but isn't hard. Here's a sample menu that serves 6 adults.
Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup
Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa Pilaf
Steamed Asparagus Topped with Mushrooms
Sweet Potato Tzimmies
Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Almonds, & Oranges
Fudgy Passover Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream