What To Make For Your First Passover Seder

Oh crap: Passover is next week! If you’re like me, then you’ve suddenly found yourself hosting a party of 14 people and promising at least five courses to said party. The only part of the evening that’s planned is the mandatory screening of The Prince of Egypt (am I the only one who still absolutely loves this movie?) or The Ten Commandments.

Hosting your first Passover Seder can be a pretty daunting task, but fret thee not: Sweet Lemon has you covered!

Charoset
Image: Epicurious

The Seder Plate

Most grocery stores will sell fully-stocked Seder plates. If pre-made is not your style though, just remember what you need: beitzah (hard boiled eggs), charoset, maror (horseradish), z’roa (shank bone), karpas (parsley and salt water), and matzo. Even if you’re being adventurous with your cooking, make your life at least somewhat simple: buy the horseradish, shank bone, and matzo. Hard boiled eggs and salt water are easy enough to make (if you don’t know how to make them then you have bigger problems on your hands), but what about the charoset? I’m a big fan of traditional charoset (like this charoset recipe), but the non-traditional can be pretty deliciously awesome too (check out this recipe for Apple Beet Charoset).

martha matzoh ball
Image: Martha Stewart

Traditional Passover Foods

Remember Passover as a kid? Endless bowls of Matzo Ball Soup (I had six bowls one year–don’t judge me!), looking around disgusted as the adults ate gefilte fish? Well, Matzo Ball Soup is still delicious and–just in case you missed the memo–gefilte fish is totally great now.

I’m a big fan of Martha Stewart’s Matzo Ball Soup recipe. Simply add some shredded chicken to your bowl to get a delicious Kosher For Passover (“KFP”) version of the classic chicken noodle soup. Alternatively, you can also use the Maneschewitz boxed Matzo Ball Soup mix. Instead of letting the matzo balls “poof” in the soup, follow my trick: place the matzoh balls in boiling water to poof (and then transfer them over into the soup)–they’ll taste less salty that way.

Every family has their own gefilte fish recipe. I have a family friend whose gefilte fish takes two full days of cooking to complete (on the plus side, it’s totally delicious). Don’t have multiple days to devote to a dish? Make What Jew Wanna Eat’s yummy (and easy) Gefilte Fish recipe instead. I usually serve gefilte fish cold on a bed of lettuce as part of the first course (in place of a salad). 

Matzah-Nachos-6
Image: What Jew Wanna Eat

Mains: Both Traditional and Non-Traditional

From Sweet Potato Kugel to Matzo Pizza, the world is your oyster when it comes to Passover cooking (but keep in mind that you cannot serve oysters… seeing as they are most definitely not KFP).

Doing a more eclectic Passover? Try making What Jew Wanna Eat’s Matzah Nachos and 4 Bloggers Dish’s epic-looking Shakshuka with Feta and Cilantro. Aiming for the traditional? Pull out your slow cooker and make Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker Brisket and Onions while having a Matzoh and Spinach Casserole baking in the oven. I’d suggest having at least one meat dish and one vegetarian dish to serve during your Seder–perhaps more or less of each depending on how carnivorous your guests are.

Flourless-Chocolate-Ganache-Cake
Image: Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Dessert: Delicious Despite the Absence of Chametz

Wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt… it’s nearly impossible to imagine a decadent dessert without at least one of these key ingredients (also known as “chametz”). However, I solemnly swear that it is possible.

From Martha Stewart’s traditional Almond-Coconut Macaroons to The Shiksa in the Kitchen’s Matzo Crisp with Pear, Apple, and Cranberries, What Jew Wanna Eat’s Matzah Bark to The Shiksa in the Kitchen’s Coconut Pavlova with Pudding and Caramel Sauce, there is a way to have a decadent dessert at your Seder–even while staying within the bounds of KFP.

Chag Sameach and good luck with your cooking!

Are you hosting your first Passover Seder this year? What are you planning on making?

By Amanda Kushner

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