A few weeks ago, as I was in the midst of testing out new Passover recipes, my dear friend Mat pleaded: “Please come up with ideas to bring for lunch!” I love a Passover challenge. It feels like my very own game of Iron Chef: Passover Edition.
Passover lunches. A real quandry. I mean, how much matzah + cream cheese should one person be expected to eat!? I say NONE! My eggplant tomato & mozzarella stacks are like a deconstructed eggplant parm that are healthy, delicious and best part? No matzah required!
Tuna Nicoise Salad is an ideal lunch choice either for at home, or bring to work. And what better way to use up those extra boiled potatoes and hard boiled eggs from the Seder!? Note: use whatever Kosher for Passover salad dressing you prefer.
Some other Passover-friendly lunch options:
Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella Stacks (recipe below)
At home or have access to a kosher-for-Passover microwave?
1 medium eggplant
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large tomato
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil (optional)
Cut a brown paper bag and lay out on the counter or table. Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices and lay out on top of paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow eggplant to sit for 1 hour. Flip eggplant slices and let sit for another hour.
Blot eggplant with towel to remove excess water.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with oil.
Lay eggplant slices in one layer and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until just brown.
Stack eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and repeat. Drizzle small amount of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on each stack. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
This is a simple and delicious side dish anytime, that is perfect for the transition from heartier winter root vegetable dishes to light, garden-fresh spring dishes. It also adds wonderful color and meaning to the seder table, too, as an theme-extension of the whole beet that is halachically permissible as a replacement to the zeroa (shankbone) on vegetarian seder plates.
6-8 medium-sized beets, stems and leaves attached (red, purple, gold or a mixture)
2 oranges + zest
1 small onion
1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
sprig of fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Trim beets at stems, but leave unpeeled. Set beet green aside.
Wash beets thoroughly. Lightly coat beets in olive oil. Wrap whole beets individually in foil and place foil-covered beets on a baking sheet. Place into oven. Roast beets about an hour to an hour and a half or until beets are tender throughout when pierced with a knife.
Once beets are in the oven, pull beet greens from stems and coarsely chop. Submerge chopped greens in boiling water about 2 minutes, just enough to brighten and make tender. Drain greens, and pat them in-between paper towel or a clean, dry cloth to remove excess water. Place greens in a large bowl. Set aside.
Chop onion into long, thin slivers. Place into bowl with beet greens. Set aside.
Zest about ¼ of one of the oranges. Set zest aside. Working over a small bowl, segment oranges, reserving juice in the bowl below. Add orange segments to large bowl of beet greens and onion. Set aside.
In small bowl with reserved orange juice, add minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dill, orange zest and salt and pepper to taste.
When beets are tender and have cooled at least enough to handle comfortably, unwrap foil from beets completely. Rub each beat gently with a paper towel to remove skins (they will come off very easily). Chop peeled beets into thin wedges. Place chopped beets into large bowl with greens, onion and orange segments. Pour olive oil and vinegar mixture into bowl with other ingredients and toss lightly. Toss in cubed avocado. Serve immediately or refrigerate if prepared in advance.
This dish can be finished with coarsely chopped roasted/salted hazelnuts if desired.
I’m gluten-free so quinoa is part of my everyday life, but I think most gluten eaters appreciate quinoa the most on Passover, when more mainstream grains like wheat, barley, and rice are off-limits. This quinoa salad is very versatile in that you can use pretty much whatever vegetables you like depending what is in season. Here I do a roasted veggie medley of sweet potatoes, onions, zucchini, and bell peppers, but asparagus, tomato and scallion would be just as delicious.
1 sweet potato, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease two baking sheets. Spread sweet potatoes and onions on one baking sheet and zucchini and bell peppers on another. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over each baking sheet. Roast zucchini and peppers for 10 minutes, sweet potatoes and onions for 25 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.
In the meantime, place quinoa, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and rest for 10 minute before fluffing with a fork.
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Add quinoa to vegetables and drizzle dressing over top, mixing to combine.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
This is as simple as it gets, but it’s better than the sum of its parts. In fact, given the amount of rich, heavy food we consume during Passover, this salad is a welcome reprieve at the seder table. It cleanses your palate while wetting your appetite for more traditional dishes to come: matzah ball soup, brisket, gefilte fish, potato kugel, or whatever your family traditionally serves. I’ve served this at many a dinner party (and a few seders) and it gets rave reviews every time. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do just fine.
Olga Massov blogs at The Sassy Radish. She was born in Russia, moved to Boston when she was 11, went to Pittsburgh for college, and lived in DC for one sweltering summer. She jokes that she’s a Russian expat by way of New England with Southern inclinations, but her love of pickles, lobster, and bourbon (though maybe not necessarily together) proves the point.
Now, she lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé, Andrew, a journalist, and a linebacker-sized tabby cat, Forrest Whittaker. After a decade in finance fiddling with spreadsheets while yearning to be a food writer full time, Olga decided to take the plunge. She is now working on co-authoring her first book, The Kimchi Cookbook, which will offer seasonally-driven kimchi recipes, as well as recipes using kimchi in cooking. The book will be published last week of November 2012 by Ten Speed Press..
1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin
2 celery ribs, shaved paper thin
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon or regular lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Celery leaves, for garnish
On a large plate or platter, spread out the fennel slices. Layer the celery slices on top. Drizzle the lemon juice and the olive oil, and sprinkle some flaky sea salt and black pepper on top. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for 1 to 2 hours before serving. The salad gets better the longer it sits. Serve, garnished with celery leaves.