Passover is fast approaching, which means if you’re hosting a Seder it’s almost time to start cooking. Each year we publish recipes for Passover, updated takes on the classic holiday dishes and time-honored recipes that remain delicious to this day (see: Joan Nathan’s homemade matzo-ball soup).
We’ve combed through our archives to bring you some of our favorite recipes we’ve published over the years, as well as creative offerings we’ve found around the web.
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about the Passover menu, it’s matzo-ball soup. “Historically, matzo is the symbolic food of Passover.” Joan Nathan admits. “But let’s be honest: Matzo-ball soup is the holiday’s truly iconic dish.”
Nathan, a self-described matzo-ball purist, explains, “Before boxed matzo meal appeared at the turn of the last century cooks made humble dumplings knows as kneidlich by pounding their matzos with a large wooden mortar and pestle, or by softening a whole sheet of matzo in water, adding a little sautéed onion, some eggs, a lot of schmaltz, maybe some soda water to add lightness.”
Shannon Sarna may have revolutionized the kosher for Passover dessert game with her out-of-the-box (literally) thinking. “I couldn’t understand the obsession with all these boxed kugel and cake mixes, Passover “noodles” and jelly rings,” she writes. “At some point in our history, the narrative of affliction from the Seder translated into a narrative of culinary suffering for American Jews. But this accepted norm didn’t have to be my reality, and I was determined to find a better way to eat during Passover.”
“Gefilte fish is about as polarizing as a Jewish dish can be,” writes Leah Koenig. “At any given Passover Seder, there are the people who love these ground fish balls, served cold and crowned with horseradish or a floppy carrot medallion—diehards who ask for seconds, then stand around after dinner sneaking spoonfuls of “jelly” from the pan (or worse, the jar).”
But, Koenig points out, “there is a whole world of delicious equivalents available in Sephardic cuisine.” Dishes from places like Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia, which are flavored and prepared in entirely different ways than the Ashkenazi version many of us grew up with. She suggests Boulettes de Poisson à la Sauce Tomate (in English the less glamourous sounding Fish Balls in Tomato Sauce), which calls for ginger and nutmeg and will surely spice up your Seder. You can get the recipe here.
It’s the best Passover snack you’ve never heard of. “Matzos Coffee, also known as Matza Café, is a European Passover treat that has become forgotten for reasons I can’t fathom,” Carol Ungar laments, “since not only is this dish deceptively simple—it’s really nothing more than its name, matzo soaked in coffee—it’s delicious and especially loved by children.”
Try the recipe, which Ungar’s father grew up with in Romania and later made for his family, here.
Chicken Marbella has become one of those Seder table staples, popular among many Jewish families, whose Passover provenance no one can quite pinpoint. “My theory is that it’s not only the lack of last-minute fuss that makes Chicken Marbella a natural for Passover and all other Jewish holidays,” Elin Schoen Brockman writes. “The dish resonates in a far deeper, more subliminal sense: Its flavors and aromas throb with Sephardic soul and Ashkenazic soul—this dish covers both bases.”
Try Brockman’s favorite version of the dish—the classic Silver Palate Cookbook recipe—here.
“There’s no better time to cook with young children than for holidays,” Chop-Chop Kids founder Sally Sampson writes. “Whether you’re recreating a traditional family meal or starting your own new tradition, it’s the perfect opportunity to invite kids into the kitchen.”
Sampson shared three simple, fun Passover dishes to make with children: matzo brei, charoset, and a greens frittata. You can find the recipes here.
The queen of Christmas crafting tried her hand at a Passover snack, and if the 17,000 shares our post with the recipe got last year is any indication, she knows what she’s doing. (Just make sure to use kosher for Passover marshmallows if you’re keeping Passover; Martha doesn’t mention it.)
Ready for a drink? Get started early with a Passover Bloody Mary made with the Gefilteria’s Carrot Ginger Horseradish. Serve Passover-inspired cocktails like the Mah Nishtana (Gin, Campari, Cynar) and the Paschal Punch (potato vodka, apple brandy, pomegranate juice, etc). Or go all out and make these kosher for Passover cocktails for each of the 10 Plagues.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.