A Suggested Passover Seder Menu

Can't decide what to serve your guests? Here are some delicious dishes for you to wow your friends and family with.

Vered Guttman
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Four-Way Meringue Clouds: pomegranate, dates, orange or chocolate-anise flavor.Credit: Vered Guttman
Vered Guttman

I love the art of planning menus for large parties or even just for dinners with friends. I like the menus to be colorful: purple beets, green beans, red tomatoes, yellow squashes, orange, well, oranges... then I know the menu is varied enough and, as a bonus, has all the vitamins as well. I want some dishes to be spicy, some sour, some a little sweet, some crunchy and some soft. Protein and starch.

But when it comes to holiday menu planning, especially major ones like the Passover Seder that’s approaching, it gets more complicated. To start with the obvious, it needs to be kosher for Passover. No flour, no bread. For some, no legume, rice or corn either.

Spring lamb with roasted vegetablesCredit: Vered Guttman

I want to include a dish that my grandmother used to make (that’s easy. matzo ball soup), and one of my mother’s recipes (fried leek patties, yum!). It gets harder when you come from a mixed family, like mine. I want to add something from the Iraqi side of the family, and the Iraqi charoset of dates and walnuts in the shape of little balls is perfect for that.

I love including something from other Jewish communities, why settled only for my own? I love the Middle Eastern and Italian idea of eating lamb, artichokes, green fava beans, all in season in early spring.

I still want to have a couple of contemporary dishes as well, to keep the meal fun and exciting. Dishes like quinoa, that became kosher for Passover in America only this year, cooked in coconut milk and mixed with Tuscan kale and roasted yams.

You get extra points for symbolic food, like a dish that includes your preferred bitter herbs (that’s part of the Seder plate) or the hard-boiled eggs in salted water that symbolize, according to my late grandmother, almost choking with laughter every single year, the water of the red sea in which the Israelites walked though. Water that reached right to their, well, you get it.

Oh, yes, it also needs to be tasty. And easy to make. In advance. And it should not involve too many bowls you need to wash later.

Here are some suggestions:

- how about this gorgeous-looking soup for a drink?

 (horseradish) - from Ma’ayan Ha’bira restaurant in Haifa. The best chrein ever.

- made entirely of black raisins.

- to welcome quinoa into our Passover seder.

- quinoa again and Tuscan kale that can pass as a bitter herb.

- simply replace the breadcrumbs with matzo meal. Artichoke are traditional Passover fare in the Moroccan community.

- a possible fresh substitute for gefilte fish.

- how about parsnips for ?

- a modern version of a traditional Moroccan Passover potato torte. And dandelion is definitely a bitter herb. (Substitute with Swiss chard or kale if you can’t get dandelion).

- celebrating spring and the beautiful weather outside.

- from the Iraqi cuisine. Like knishes, but really tasty.

- delicious year round.

- including one Iraqi charoset-flavored meringue.

This article was originally published in April 2017