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Passover Cooking: Getting Started

April 3, 2019 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

Kosher for Passover recipes that are fantastic to make ahead and defrost.

These recipes are not only perfect for Passover but have a fantastic make ahead option. I freeze them and defrost them in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before serving. Rewarm them gently or slowly to prevent overcooking. I love the fresh herb component to soup, chicken and meat, no heavy starches or fillers, just wholesome and delicious flavors. The salad has a wonderful dressing and fantastic crunch from the gremolata – don’t skip this! I use it on roasted vegetables and atop a good veal or chicken stew too. And the dessert is just wonderful for any warm day, and definitely not just for Passover.

Albondiga Soup

This exotic Spanish soup is a Passover favorite for my family, precisely because it tastes nothing like Passover. Carrots and zucchinis, fresh cilantro, wonderful rich broth, and flavorful meatballs – albondigas – make a filling first course that your family and guests will love.

makes 10 servings


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup matzo meal
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped, for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish

To prepare the meatballs: Combine turkey, matzo meal, cilantro, parsley, cumin, and salt in a medium bowl. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the mixture until blended. Add egg, mixing just until combined. Form into 1-inch balls.

To prepare the soup: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, water, and tomato paste, stirring to dissolve.

Add carrots; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and add meatballs; cook 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Add zucchini; cook until carrots and zucchini are tender and meatballs are cooked through, an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Add chopped cilantro, oregano, salt, and pepper. Serve warm with avocado, lime wedges, and a sprinkle of minced cilantro.

Chicken Piccata

Serves 6

Pan seared chicken that is super soft and light. I serve this at day time meals because it can be made ahead of time and rewarmed without drying out the chicken. It can be made with thin sliced veal too.


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup margarine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1- 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup pareve cream or almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons capers

For the chicken: Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat the margarine and oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken breasts until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add garlic to skillet and soften for 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth and wine, and squeeze in juice of the lemon. Whisk the sauce, scraping the bottom of the skillet. Allow sauce to cook and thicken until reduced by about half. Season with a bit more kosher salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in pareve cream. Add capers, and cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Place chicken back in pan and heat through with sauce.

Italian Romaine Salad with Tomato-Shallot Dressing and Crunchy Gremolata

Serves 8–10

Make both the dressing and gremolata ahead of time. They both keep for up to a week. The dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and the gremolata can stored in a covered container in a dry pantry. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

  • 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
  • ½ cup pitted olives, Kalamata or green
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced salami, optional


  • ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes (approximately 10)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1 cup Passover panko crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½–1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For the dressing: Using an immersion blender, puree tomatoes, lemon juice, shallot, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. With the blender on, slowly pour in olive oil in a steady stream and blend until emulsified.

For gremolata: In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and add panko and garlic. Cook until garlic is soft and bread crumbs are toasted. Add lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and parsley, and cook an additional minute so that all the juice is absorbed and the flavors are incorporated.

To assemble: In a large bowl, mix romaine, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and tomatoes. Toss with desired amount of dressing. Top with gremolata and serve.

Slow Cooked Brisket with Thyme and Rosemary

Serves 10

Traditional, savory and delicious. This meat is soft enough to cut with a fork. It freezes well but make sure it has come to room temperature before you freeze it.

  • One 6 pound brisket
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 onions, cut into big chunks
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced into 2-inch chunks
  • 2½ cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine, Cabernet or Merlot
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Passover soy sauce, optional
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One 4-ounce can tomato paste
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Season the brisket on both sides with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown brisket on both sides for 6 to 8 minutes per side. Set aside.

Add the onions, carrots and parsnips and saute for a minute until lightly browned. Add the broth, wine, brown sugar, Passover soy sauce, garlic and tomato paste and stir together. Put the brisket on top and place the sprigs of rosemary and thyme around the brisket. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is fork-tender, about 5 hours.

Remove the brisket from the pot and cover it in foil to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the herbs from the sauce and skim off any fat from the top. Slice the meat and return it to the pot to warm up. Sprinkle with the parsley before serving.

Chocolate Layered Ice Cream Bars

Serves 12-16

These are a fantastic treat on Passover. They taste sweet and salty and are a favorite for Yom Tov day meals. They are also great because they can be made weeks ahead of time and stored in the freezer, tightly covered. Defrost slightly before cutting.

  • ½ cup walnuts (2 ounces)
  • ¾ cup matzo farfel, toasted, and coarsely crumbled or ½ cup matzo cake meal
  • ½ cup broken Passover cookies or macaroons
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into tablespoons
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pints pareve Passover ice cream, (I like to use mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip or vanilla swirl), slightly softened
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pareve whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Cool, chop and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the matzo farfel until fine crumbs form; add to the walnuts. In a resealable plastic bag, crush the cookies/macaroons with a rolling pin until small chunks form; add to the walnuts.

In a large saucepan, melt 1 stick margarine over very low heat. Add the brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle the egg and vanilla into the saucepan, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Mix in the walnut mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is the cookie base.

Spread 1-1/2 pints of the ice cream over the cookie base and freeze for 2 hours. Reserve the remaining ice cream for another use.

In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and pareve cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons of margarine. Heat over very low flame and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Pour melted over the ice cream and spread it evenly. Freeze for 2 hours, until set. Cut into small bars and serve. Defrost slightly before cutting.

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