Today we have a review, guest post and recipe sample all wrapped up in one! Rena Reich of the VeganStart blog, has written a very special e-cookbook of Vegan, Non-Kitniyot Passover recipes. Before I hand it over to Rena, I wanted to say a few things: First of all, although there is an affiliate program for this book (ask Rena for details if you are interested in that), I am NOT enrolled and not receiving financial reimbursement for sales. I did however, receive a free copy of the cookbook to review as is customary. (Just wanted you to know I have pure intentions in recommending this book).
The second thing is that although every year I put up a post or two directing readers to vegan Passover recipes, I have not shared my own recipes for a very particular reason. The whole vegan, plus kitniyot-observant, plus Israeli issue is complicated and I am uncomfortable discussing it. I figured my Jewish readers already know what I’m talking about and my non-Jewish readers probably don’t care. But maybe I presume too much so let me explain the issue here briefly: for a food to be kosher for Passover, it cannot contain leavening of any sort. But there is an additional prohibition for some people based on one’s ethnic heritage, and that is against Kitniyot, which includes all legumes, and other some other non-wheat seeds and grains like rice and corn. So that means, a vegan Ashkenazi Jew (that’s someone who identifies as from predominantly European heritage), who follows their tradition’s prohibitions, cannot eat any beans, rice, corn, soy or derivatives of those during the week of Passover. So for instance, they cannot have hummus on their matzoh, nor can they spread it with peanut butter or tofutti cream cheese, or pretty much anything else save for jam. The only proteins this person can eat for the week are quinoa, non-legume nuts, and vegetables. While, no one in a developed nation will die of protein deficiency from one week of low protein consumption, for someone like me, who feels like ca-ca without a substantial amount of vegan protein daily, it makes for a long, hungry, and sad week. Personally I found my own “unauthorized” solution (I have adopted Israeli/Sephardic tradition and eat kitniyot) but for many, that is not an option.
What Rena has done with this cookbook then, is to throw many vegan Jews a life-line. She has created some very creative vegan Passover recipes for those who do not eat kitniyot. If you are in this boat, or know someone who is, honestly, this cookbook is going to give you hope. She’s got mayo and spreads, and kugels, desserts, and even matzo balls! Nothing uses strange ingredients or things not readily available in a supermarket. Most of the recipes are quite healthy, others, like some of the desserts, less so. Here are the details:
The cookbook is in e-format only.
- You can download a kindle version from amazon HERE.
- Or the PDF, MOBI or Epub versions from Rena’s website HERE.
- The PDF version is 95 pages.
- There are seder tips, suggested seder menu and seder recipes, then additional recipes for the intermediate days.
- Recipes include: Matzo Meal Pancakes, Matzo Brei, Chopped “Liver”, several salads, soups, spreads, kugels, “meatballs”, burgers, gnocchi, and desserts such as Turtle Bars, Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Almond Mousse and several other cookies and cakes. Yes, ALL vegan and all kitniyot-free. It’s a little mind-boggling actually!
- Not just for Passover, as these recipes are naturally gluten-free, these would also be great for gluten-free vegans year-round.
- The price is only $4.99 (some readers have told me it comes up as $6.99 from amazon for those ordering from Israel).
Now, let’s hear from Rena herself and get that sample recipe!
Hi, I’m Rena. I’m so happy that Emily has given me the opportunity to write a blog post on Triumph Wellness about my new Vegan Kosher for Passover Cookbook. Let me tell you where this brain child came from: I became vegan after reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, about 5 years ago. There are some books out there that have a profound effect on your life. This was definitely one of them. I grew up with animals all my life. I’ve even built a website completely devoted to pet knowledge. It’s just one of my things. Once I had the knowledge of how our food was treated before it made it to the table, I stopped eating animal products cold turkey (I see the irony here).
When I became vegan, it was just starting to become a thing. You couldn’t go out to a restaurant and get more than a salad, and even then you had to ask them to hold the cheese and eggs and salad dressing. I can’t tell you how amazing it is now to be able to go out now and get a good meal, feel full, and not have to ask what’s inside it. Those of us that are in the know, are in the know.
Because being vegan wasn’t as popular as it is today, there was really no place to look for vegan Pesach recipes that had no kitniyot (legumes). I thought about asking my Rabbi for an allowance to eat kitniyot, but that really wouldn’t help me all that much – I still needed to make food for my family. Even if I got the OK for myself, there was no way that my children (who are vegetarians) or my husband (who is an omnivore) would be able to as well. I was not willing to cook twice – food for me and food for them. I had to come up with another solution.
That’s where my blog (Vegan Start) and cookbook have come in. All the recipes in my book are completely kitnyot free and Ashkenazi friendly. I like to call what I’ve put together Jewish Soul Food. They are mostly recipes that I have grown up with, with a vegan twist.
Passover is my favorite holiday. I hope that everyone has a fun and stress-free time. Perhaps now you will also know what you are making before the holiday starts. I hope that this recipe and my cookbook give a good place to start.
I want to wish everyone a Chag Kasher v’Sameach. ~ Rena
Here’s one of my more popular Passover recipes that I’d like to share with you:
- 1 cup matzoh meal
- 3 tablespoons potato starch
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic
- Mix all ingredients together
- Refrigerate for 1/2 hour
- Roll into balls and place in boiling soup
- Simmer in soup until they grow (about 20 minutes)
- Take out of soup with a slotted spoon and let harden for 30 minutes to 1 hour (If you don’t take the balls out of the soup, they will fall apart. Taking them out gives them a chance to get firm. Once they have firmed up, you can put them back in the soup without any fears.)
- Put the balls back in the soup about 1/2 hour before it's ready to be served to heat up