In many families, the go-to meals for the seder include chicken soup and a variety of beef or chicken. More and more, however, people are searching for vegetarian or vegan dishes to satisfy family or guests who have adopted this lifestyle.
Frances Kraft, a former reporter at The CJN, says she has been making vegetarian seders for a number of years because she has up to seven vegetarians at her table, including three or four vegans. “I serve buffet-style, and all dishes are labelled as vegetarian, vegan, nut-free etc. A number of guests bring food, so I also include who made it, in case someone has questions.”
Her seders have always been successful, she says. “My cousin, who loves meat, enjoys the fish very much, and my son who is a meat eater, says the seder is about the people, not the meat. There are a lot of things you can do without the meat.”
Vegetarian chopped liver
Kraft adapted this vegetarian chopped liver from cookbook author Joan Nathan.
o 225 g (½ lb) mushrooms, chopped
o 1 small onion, chopped
o 45 ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
o 250 ml (1 cup) chopped walnuts
o salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
o 15 ml (1 tbsp) water
To prepare, sauté the mushrooms and onion in the vegetable oil over a medium heat until the onion is clear.
Turn into a blender or food processor, add the walnuts, salt and pepper, and the water. Process until blended but not too smooth. Serve as a spread with matzah.
Yields about 250 ml (1 cup).
SIDE DISHES AND DESSERTS
Kraft received the following two recipes from Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, the rabbi emeritus of Beth Tzedec Congregation. The kugel is a particularly favourite side dish at his family seder.
o 4 matzot
o 3 eggs, beaten
o 2 ml (½ tsp) salt
o 50 ml (¼ cup) pareve margarine, melted
o 50 ml (½ cup) sugar
o 5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon
o 125 ml (½ cup) ground or chopped nuts (they like almonds)
o 2 to 3 apples, peeled and chopped
o 125 ml (½ cup) raisins, if desired
Soak matzot in water to soften then drain. Beat eggs, salt, sugar, margarine and cinnamon, and add to matzot and beat. Add chopped nuts, apples and raisins, if using.
Place in a 20-cm (8-inch) square or round pan. Drizzle margarine on surface. Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 40 to 50 minutes or until surface is lightly browned.
Serves six to eight people.
Chocolate mousse cake
o 10 eggs, separated
o 1 cup sugar
o 175 ml (6 fl. oz.) semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
o 30 ml (1/8 cup) melted margarine
o 500 ml (2 cups) ground nuts
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Beat yolks and sugar until lemon coloured. Fold in melted chocolate, margarine and nuts.
Retain one-quarter of this mixture on the side.
Beat egg whites until they form peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Place in a 25-cm (10-inch) springform pan. Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 45 to 60 minutes, until surface bounces back.
After cooling, place remaining chocolate mixture on top. Cool in refrigerator.