Why Matzah Farfel Is Your Secret Weapon for Passover Cooking

This overlooked ingredient is actually amazing.

Unless your family did a lot of Passover cooking, you probably don’t know how many delicious things you can make with that box of matzah farfel you always see in the Passover food section. With a bit of creativity, you can brighten up any meal from appetizers right through to dessert.

Matzah farfel are tiny bite-sized pieces of matzah usually no bigger than an aspirin tablet. According to the dictionary, the word ‘farfel’ means” noodle dough cooked in boiling water to form small pellets. Most often farfel are used in soups. The Spruce Eats describes it as “An Ashkenazi Jewish egg pasta similar to spaetzle or (Hungarian) nokedli.” But since the pasta wasn’t kosher for Passover, home cooks turned to the crushed up bits of matzah farfel, to replicate the tiny pasta pieces. Since so many of us are safely tucked away at home this year, why not explore some of the delicious dishes you can make with just one box of matzah farfel.

 

Breakfast, sweet treats, and toppings

If you don’t cook at all, sprinkle a handful of farfel over salads to add something carby and crunchy to your greens. Try sprinkling some on top of anything you think needs a bit of crunch where you’d typically use croutons or other crunchies.

From here you can get a little bit more adventurous and make your own Passover farfel granola. Instead of rolled oats, the recipe calls for farfel, along with coconut, raisins, honey, and dried apricots – but there’s nothing to prevent you from adding your own granola favorites to the mix. I used this recipe to create my granola batch last year, and it was delicious right out of the container.

If you love desserts but are wary of too much Passover baking, you can use farfel to make some sweets ideal for noshing in front of the TV or the laptop. Epicurious has a quick recipe for matzah almond brittle that requires not much more than pouring a simple caramel over toasted matzah farfel and almonds. Matzah farfel haystacks are tasty piles of farfel, coconut, nuts, and dried fruit covered in melted chocolate that are fun and easy to make.

 

Family favorite matzah farfel muffins

In my family, we love to use farfel for the one thing that for us has always symbolized Passover – matzah farfel muffins. My Aunt Bert got this recipe from her sister-in-law, who was known for her mad baking skills. The farfel is soaked and drained in hot but not boiling water, then mixed with eggs, oil, and seasoned to taste. Pour the batter into muffin tins and bake until they are golden brown and crunchy on top. The result is a light, almost popover-like muffin that is eggy and delicious. We serve them at the seder in soup for a festive change from matzah balls while my uncle likes to split them in half and fill them with tuna or egg salad for weekday lunches. I will eat them any way I can get them, including right out of the pan. This recipe looks almost exactly like Aunt Bert’s recipe right down to the handwritten directions.

 

Savory stuffings and casseroles

With a little imagination and some basic pantry ingredients, farfel can make an endless number of satisfying side dishes. Cookbook author Jamie Geller created a Passover twist on the greek orzo salad. She combines farfel, feta, tomatoes, basil, and lemon into a crunchy, savory dish that’s tasty enough to whip up all year round.

Probably the most traditional use for farfel is to make stuffing to go along with the seder meal. Believe it or not, Martha Stewart has a farfel stuffing recipe that calls for duck fat and sounds delicious. It’s also an excellent way to use schmaltz if you’ve got it. Technically, Helen Greenberg calls her recipe matzah farfel pudding, but it’s more like a satisfying casserole with the addition of mushroom stock and gravy replacing condensed soup. Meanwhile, cookbook author Geller leaves out the vegetables and adds raisins or pitted dates to make a slightly sweeter version of this traditional side dish.

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