Does your Passover menu need a refresher? Tired of same old, same old? I won’t beat around the (burning) bush: The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen is your new best friend; it’s filled with recipes and ideas to reboot your Seder. In this video, I share one of my all-time favorite recipes with Christina Ferrare and the gang at Hallmark’s Home & Family. Here are four fresh ways to change up your Passover celebrations! 

Go Global

Jewish food is not just Eastern European food. Celebrate the global diversity of Jewish cuisine with elements from the Passover traditions of Italy, Romania, Iraq, Morocco, and more. Call it Jewish fusion: as long as the flavors are compatible, go ahead and mix up your Seder with both Ashkenazic- and Sephardic-inspired dishes. It’s one more way to retell the great Jewish migration story that began with the first Exodus 3,500 years ago and that we commemorate on Passover. Here are a handful of possibilities:

roasted-carrot-sweet-potato-tzimmes

Refresh the Classics with a Seasonal Twist

Brighten traditional recipes and make them market-driven. While still true to their roots, they’ll be right in step with today’s lighter, seasonal approach. In fact, using spring’s best harkens back to the fact that Passover is one of the three agriculturally important festivals in Judaism. It occurs during Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar, a New Year for the growing season. So go biblical and spruce up your Seder plate, too, with flowering chives, tiny spring onions, young radishes, lettuce, and chicories. Did you know that lettuce, not horseradish, was probably the original bitter herb? The ancient Mediterranean forerunner of our sweet salad greens was very bitter, and even today, the bit of milky sap released when lettuce is cut, still is.

spring-greens-saute

Go Vegan or Vegetarian

A plant-based feast for Passover has delicious significance viewed through this seasonal produce-driven lens. The Seder plate, an array of seasonal universal symbols of birth and renewal, is a readymade shopping list for a vegetarian celebration of the birth of a Jewish nation (okay, except for the shank bone). You’ll never miss the meat; there are plenty of beautiful center-of-the-plate main dish options. (Many of the other suggested recipes in this post are also naturally vegan or vegetarian.)

Go Timeless Classic

Do you long for the perfect, foolproof brisket, matzah ball soup, and gefilte fish? DIY horseradish? Timeless classics are just that: recipes that are as relevant today as when they were first created. Like Shakespeare. A version of my matzah ball soup is in this month’s Cooking Light magazine (and you get to see what I looked like when I was four years old).

  • My Family’s Matzah Ball Soup
  • Pure and Simple Beef Brisket (SJK, p. 63)
  • My Family’s Gefilte Fish (SJK, p. 172)
  • Bat-Seva’s Horseradish (SJK, p. 174)

Happy cooking and Hag Sameach! (That’s how to say happy holiday in Hebrew.)