If you’re like my family, your shopping list includes a variety of seasonally appropriate items. Many of these items fall into the category of “Passover foods” – you know what I’m talking about. Not the simple items that you eat year round and can easily enjoy on Passover (fruit salad, veggies & dip, etc.), but these packaged processed foods that somehow always end up in your grocery cart. They often tend to be “instant dessert” items with their main ingredient being potato starch and matzah meal. And, if you’re like my family, while these foods are easy to make, they are expensive, and are usually quite disappointing when they make it to the table.
Since Passover is the holiday of renewal, what would it look like for us to relinquish our relationship with packaged and processed foods? Instead of relying on the foods in the center aisles, let’s consider some ways to enjoy Passover foods that are healthy and delicious.
Even if you and your family is not planning a vegan Passover this year, here are a few tips for renewing your Passover shopping list.
Fresh and frozen fruit: All fruits are naturally kosher for Passover. Plain frozen unsweetened fruit pieces are acceptable without special Passover certification. A delicious pareve dessert is simply a few frozen bananas blended in a food processor – feel free to sprinkle with berries.
Raw nuts: Raw nuts (except peanuts) in their shell do not require Passover certification. In the case of shelled nuts, they must be whole; also, be sure that they do not list BHA or BHT (preservatives) in the ingredients – in that case they do require special Passover certification. They are sprayed on the nuts using corn derivatives (kitniyot – if this is part of your tradition). Mixed nuts can be served plain or blended together for a delicious pâté.
Fresh vegetables: All raw vegetables are naturally kosher for Passover, with the exception of legumes such as beans, including green beans, as well as some other items such as corn and certain seeds. Passover is a fabulous time to get creative with raw vegetables – from salads to smoothies, there are an infinite number of options. Try a shredded carrot salad with raisins or massaged kale with olive oil, pine nuts, and sea salt.
Frozen vegetables: Frozen, uncooked vegetables may be processed on shared equipment that uses hametz. It is preferable to purchase those with a kosher l’Pesach label. If they have a “gluten free” label or you have other reason to know they have not been processed on shared equipment with hametz, it is permissible to purchase them before the holiday begins. If you are simply looking to incorporate more vegetables in to your Passover diet, we suggest frozen spinach, kale, broccoli and carrots.
Have a favorite year-round recipe that we should all try on Passover? Post it in the comments!