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The Passover story is a pretty dramatic affair. According to the Bible, Jews were slaves to the Egyptian Pharaoh until the prophet Moses came to set them free, and God sent 10 horrendous plagues to punish the Egyptian taskmasters. There were frogs, vicious hailstorms, and locusts that destroyed all the crops. When the Jews finally got the “okay” to leave Egypt after the plagues hit, they had to pack up so quickly that they didn’t have time to finish baking, and so they took their unleavened bread with them. To commemorate that experience, Jews today observe Passover by avoiding bread products for a solid eight days.
Personally, I’ve always thought of the no-bread thing as the eleventh plague, since to me a week without cereal, cookies, bagels, or granola bars is something akin to torture. Beyond the unbearable cravings, a stomach full of matzo, eggs, potatoes, and oil is rarely a happy one.
But I’ve learned that Passover doesn’t have to be so stressful on the body. In fact, the holiday’s a great opportunity to experiment in the kitchen, finding new easy, healthy, and—most importantly—tasty recipes that meet the kosher-for-Passover criteria. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 34 Passover recipes, from matzo brei with veggies to quinoa almond butter cookies, sure to please those observing Passover and even those who aren’t.
First off, we’d like to let everyone know that it’s possible to make your own matzo instead of chowing down on the store-bought variety. It’s pretty simple, too: This recipe calls for just flour and water, plus a little mixing, cutting, rolling, and baking. And nothing tastes better than the satisfaction of knowing you’re an awesome homesteader.
Breakfast and Brunch
Store-bought kosher-for-Passover cereal tastes okay—if you like the taste of cardboard. Avoid starting the morning with a gag-fest and try this DIY granola featuring walnuts (which pack a healthy-fat punch), honey, and dried fruit. Add it to protein-rich yogurt or milk or just bag it and munch on it as a snack.
The word “porridge” always reminds me of the story of Goldilocks, but something tells me those bears weren’t the quinoa-eating type. This recipe is sort of like French toast in a bowl, since it combines milk, sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and nuts. Those watching their sugar intake can go easy on the brown sugar. (Note: There’s some debate over whether quinoa is kosher for Passover, so this recipe might not suit everyone’s style of observance.)
This rendition of matzo brie (Yiddish for “fried matzo”) is more sweet than savory, but it’s still nutritious enough to meet our criteria for a healthy Passover meal, and the recipe’s pretty easy to follow. Bananas, pecans, milk, and maple syrup add a hefty dose of potassium, protein, and calcium to traditional matzo brei (Those watching their sugar intake can use less syrup.).
It wouldn’t be a Passover morning without the smell of egg-y matzo sizzling in a frying pan. Traditional matzo brei calls for a lot of eggs and butter, and not much else. But the classic recipe is easily green-ified (and at least a little health-ified) thanks to superfood spinach, which packs a ton of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Bagels with cream cheese and lox are off-limits during Passover, but this dish seems like it would go perfectly with a piece of matzo and cream cheese (otherwise known as “shmear”). The photo’s enough to make our mouths water in expectation of a protein- and omega-3-packed morning treat.
Passover falls right at the start of spring, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the return of greens like asparagus and sugar snap peas. Don’t worry about blandness—fresh dill, lemon, and black pepper keep things flavorful.
Shakshuka’s an Israeli egg dish that’s just as tasty for breakfast as it is for dinner. Adding spinach and feta cheese makes it a little more omelet-y, while spices like superfood cinnamon, cumin, and coriander add a powerful punch of flavor (and some super nutrients). We can see this breakfast going well with a piece of matzo drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of Zaatar (an Israeli spice).
Let’s admit it: Passover breakfasts are pretty much all about eggs. But this pancake recipe’s the perfect way to add some healthy variety into our diets so we don’t turn into a giant yolk by the end of the holiday. Almond meal, tapioca flour, and a bit of butter form the base of this tasty (swap in unsweetened applesauce for the butter if you want to cut down on sugar). Serve ’em up to friends and fam and top with fresh berries for some added nutrients and that extra “wow” factor.
A surprising combination of ingredients are featured in this recipe for slightly sweeter ’cakes. We’re talking raisins and cottage cheese in the batter and sour cream and honey in the topping. Slap two (or three) on a plate for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast or save one for a mid-day snack.
This mom-approved recipe uses almond flour in place of regular flour, plus wholesome ingredients like honey and olive oil. We’ll see if we can restrict ourselves to just one potassium-packed slice…
Veggies and Side Dishes
Here’s another tasty twist on a traditional Passover seder dish. A bowl of bitter herbs (usually in the form of horseradish) on the table symbolizes the bitter lot of the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt. This salad is a little less sad, and a lot more colorful—the nutrient-packed combo of radicchio, endives, and watercress gets its flavor from lemon and olive oil dressing.
What?! Spaghetti on Passover? Don’t freak—it’s just spaghetti squash. This kugel is sweet enough to be dessert, thanks to raisins, coconut sugar, and superfood cinnamon. But vitamin-packed squash and apples make it a nutritious side dish on Passover or any time of year.
14. Amazing Charoset
Charoset’s a traditional dish on the seder plate—the crunchy paste is supposed to represent the bricks and mortar the Jews used to build statues for the Egyptian pharaoh. The dish itself is a sweet treat made with relatively healthy ingredients: raisins, pecans, almonds (a superfood in our book!), dates, and figs mashed into applesauce. It works really well as a snack on top of matzo or even paired with a meaty main dish at Passover dinner.
The word “tzimmes” might look hard to pronounce, but this bright-colored meal is relatively easy to make. Everything about this dish screams sweetness, and yet the ingredients ain’t half bad—think sweet potatoes, apples (another superfood), prunes, and apricots. Walnuts add some crunch, some healthy fats, and some protein, making this meal a hearty side dish for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
This recipe, created by the former star of the TV show Blossom, is perfect in so many ways. For one thing, the individual mini kugels mean insta-portion control (assuming we eat just one). It’s also one of the simplest recipes on this list—nothing but potatoes, potato starch, and olive oil—meaning it’s also vegan and gluten-free.
We already know that casseroles can be way more exciting than a bucket of soggy tuna and cheese, and this dish is no exception. Vitamin-packed potatoes, carrots, superfood beets, and celeriac star in this recipe, which is topped by unsweetened applesauce and lots o’spices. It’s perfect for ditching the matzo and eggs and getting in touch with our earthier side.
18. Carrot Salad
Orange you glad we found this recipe? This blindingly-bright dish looks way fancier than it actually is: just vitamin-packed carrots, spices, and lemon juice. It makes for a light, tasty appetizer or side dish at a holiday dinner.
Meats and Main Dishes
Everyone always talks about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and this Passover is the perfect time to go Middle Eastern. This chicken recipe involves some unexpected ingredients, such as lime juice, honey, and red pepper, which make for a fragrant and flavorful main dish.
Eggs and potatoes too bland? Spice things up with this brisket recipe featuring good-for-you onion, superfood garlic, paprika, thyme, and oregano. Just don’t leave this one ’til the last minute—it takes a few hours to bake in the oven.
Brisket’s often the main attraction at the Passover seder. Brighten up the batch (and add some nutrients) with carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga. Then enliven the flavor with spices like thyme, paprika, and pepper.
A sweet seder, or a sour one? How about both? This dish scores major points in the health category, since it uses lean ground beef plus a veggie medley of carrots, celery, and onions.
Whoever said veggie dishes can’t be filling clearly never had a bowlful of this stuff. No-meat matzo ball soup, filled with vitamins and minerals from veggies like sweet potatoes and parsnips, works well as a main dish or an appetizer, depending on serving size. The preparation’s a little more work-intensive than some of the other recipes on this list, but the look on guests’ faces when they start slurping will more than make up for it.
24. Matzo Pizza
Any kid growing up in a Jewish household knows the real Passover fun starts when it’s time to whip up a batch of matzo pizza. Unlike the regular greasy variety, this Passover pie calls for just a few basic, natural ingredients: matzo (try whole wheat for a healthier twist), canned tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, basil leaves, and some healthy fats courtesy of olive oil. Choose your favorite veggies (we’re fans of spinach and mushroom) for the topping.
Not pizza-d out yet? Eliminate the grains entirely and check out this lower-calorie, cauliflower-based creation. Use a cheese grater to shred the cauliflower into small crumbles and mix with eggs, cheese, and spices. Top with onions and peppers, and voila! You’ve just proved a vegetarian, kosher-for-Passover concoction can still look and taste awesome.
26. Matzo Lasagna
Matzo mia! Leave the lasagna noodles behind and use matzo instead. The rest of the recipe is basically the same as the non-kosher-for-Passover variety: marinara sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and some nutrient-dense spinach. Be sure to snap a photo of the masterpiece before digging in!
For those who spend Passover staring hungrily through the windows of Italian restaurants (just me?), here’s a reason to head home. It’s totally possible to make this classic vegetarian dish using matzo meal instead of bread products, plus tomato sauce and cottage cheese. Eggplant packs an antioxidant punch while the cheese amps up the protein value. And look how pretty they are all stacked up on a dish!
Cake with brandy in it? Yes, please. The recipe also calls for nutrient-rich pears, almonds, superfoods blueberries and ginger, and lemon. It’s technically a dessert, but we give you permission to eat it for a snack, or breakfast, or all day long…
It wouldn’t be Passover unless some guest brought chocolate-covered matzo as a contribution to the seder. This version takes the sweet stuff to a slightly more sophisticated (and slightly more nutrient-dense) level, using dark chocolate, honey, and superfood pistachios for the coating. Crunch away, and don’t blame us when a whole batch mysteriously disappears.
I’ve made these before as a treat for gluten-free friends, and no one seemed to miss the flour in these fudgy bites of wonder. They’re easy to make, too: All that’s required is walnuts, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, salt, egg whites, and vanilla—plus some quick mixing. It’s an easy way to reap the benefits of chocolate without going overboard, making it the perfect snack to have on hand throughout the week of Passover.
This one’s super simple: All you need is some bananas (yet another superfood), the nut butter of your choice (avoid peanut butter if you’re keeping Kosher), a handful of chocolate chips (optional), and some cocoa powder. It’s the perfect way to indulge a sweet tooth without consuming a ton of sugar.
Miss those non-kosher-for-Passover granola bars? Don’t. Matzo cake meal and matzo meal take the place of flour in these nutty goodies, which also feature only a little bit of sugar, butter, and maple syrup (all for under 100 calories per serving).
You know what they say: You can never have too much quinoa. This recipe is like a batch of wholesome sweetness that combines protein-packed quinoa and almond butter, plus bananas, chocolate chips, and honey. One batch takes just 12 minutes to bake—now if only it took that long to eat.
These no-bake treats are vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and kosher for Passover. No, you’re not dreaming, and you may have just found the perfect ending to a Passover seder that’s sure to please the palate of every guest at the table.
Originally published April 2014. Updated April 2015.