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Crowd-Pleasing Passover Recipes for Your Family's Seder

Crowd-Pleasing Passover Recipes for Your Family's Seder


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Photo: Courtesy of Oxmoor House

Passover is a time for friends, family, and food. Think of the seder like you would any major holiday meal and look for a balance of hearty dishes with colorful and fresh ones. Use these recipes as a guide, or mix and match with your own favorite family recipes. We follow a basic interpretation of the Passover requirements; be sure to adjust accordingly if you adhere to additional restrictions.

Strawberry, Basil, and Balsamic “Slablova”

Inspired by a pavlova-for-a-crowd “slablova” recipe on Food52, we created our own Passover version of the fruit-topped dessert. The meringue slowly bakes to achieve a crackly crust and an irresistibly soft, melt-in-your-mouth interior texture somewhere between a marshmallow and angel food cake. We like the look of white balsamic in the berry topping, but red balsamic will taste just as delicious (it will just have a darker color). Though potato starch is a common go-to for Passover baked goods, we did not have good success with it here; tapioca starch works better. For a non-Passover occasion, cornstarch or arrowroot starch makes a beautiful pavlova

Orange-Almond Cake

Surprisingly moist, light, and springy, this almond cake is a delicious departure from the dense, rustic ones you might be accustomed to. We use six beaten egg whites to give the cake lots of lift—without the use of leavening agents, which are forbidden on Passover. Because traditional versions of almond extract and powdered sugar can contain spirits and cornstarch (respectively), be sure to seek out kosher-for-Passover versions.

Matzo Ball Soup

This staple Passover food can be enjoyed whether you're celebrating a Jewish holiday or not. Cookbook author Amelia Saltzman shares her recipe for simple mazto ball soup in an incredibly rich and well-balanced broth, a lighter note to balance the other dishes of the seder. Featuring soft, dumpling-like matzo balls made from matzo meal and eggs, this soup is the ultimate comfort food. While requiring a bit more effort than a jarred version, this homemade alternative is easy and definitely worth the results. Enjoy it as is, or garnish with parsley leaves. If you're making this for a crowd, make sure to start the day before so that it's served fresh and hot, and double the recipe to make sure everyone gets seconds.

Smoked Salmon Salad in Cucumber Cups

Skip the cracker and serve this creamy smoked salmon and caper mixture in hollowed cucumber cups—crisp, refreshing, and kosher for Passover. Substitute gravlax or even flaked canned salmon if you prefer salmon that has not been smoked. Wasabi mayonnaise is available in the condiment section of most supermarkets. Or make your own by blending 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon wasabi paste, or more wasabi to taste.

Haricots Verts with Shallots and Pine Nuts

A simple side of crisp-tender, slender green beans is a kid and adult favorite, and goes well with many dishes. Instead of pine nuts, you could use sliced toasted almonds or just omit them.

Arugula, Tomato, and Almond Salad

Fresh salads are a great way to break up the heavier dishes of a holiday seder. Juicy tomatoes and tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar do just that.

Spanish-Style Roasted Potatoes

Paprika, fresh oregano, and olives turn everyday roasted potatoes into a spectacular side. Serve with a chorizo-flecked frittata or pan-grilled steak or chicken.

Shiitake-and-Sesame Bok Choy

Shiitake mushrooms are thinner and denser than cremini or button mushrooms; they’ll brown quickly in the pan without releasing too much liquid. These mushrooms also have a rich, meaty flavor that boosts the bok choy and marries well with the toasted sesame oil.

Classic Beef Pot Roast

This dish is our most popular recipe ever. It has kept that distinction since it was first published in October 2006, probably because it’s such a crowd-pleaser. To serve, carve the roast into large pieces, ladle the rich broth over the top, and sprinkle with fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Crispy Chicken Thighs With Schmaltzy Vinaigrette

You'll get all the deliciousness of a roast chicken in a fraction of the time when you opt for bone-in thighs as opposed to a whole bird. Schmaltz, a Yiddish word for chicken fat, is the base for a bright pan sauce that's drizzled over the vegetables and crispy chicken thighs. A cast-iron skillet will maintain an even heat so the hot drippings don't smoke or scorch. Plan out your moves, like steps in a dance, so you can cook efficiently without losing focus. Prep vegetables while the oven preheats, sear chicken while the potatoes roast, and make the sauce just as the chicken finishes baking.

Apricot-Sage Chicken with Carrots

Dinner doesn't get much easier than this eight-ingredient, one-pan dish. The secret is jarred apricot preserves; much more than a spread for toast, it balances the earthy sage and pungent mustard in the pan sauce and gives everything a glossy coat. You can also thin the preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat and brush over roasted pork tenderloin, salmon fillets, or a rustic apple tart. A little butter stirred in at the end adds body to the sauce.

Red Wine-Marinated Steak With Balsamic Onions and Slaw

Cook this with either hanger or flank steak, whichever you prefer. The onions add a hit of umami, but feel free to omit them.

Chicken Thighs With Harissa Vegetables

Home cooks often complain that their slow cooker meals always end up as soup, and they wonder where all the liquid comes from. Anything you put in the slow cooker will release liquid as it cooks, and there's no way for that liquid to evaporate. If you're not careful, you will indeed end up with soup. Sometimes, it's best to add no liquid to the cooker.

Here, we toss onion wedges, baby potatoes, and large carrot chunks with oil and harissa (look for it with the hot sauces or in the global foods section). We then arrange seared chicken thighs on top and cook the mixture with no liquid added. Over the long cooking period, the chicken releases juices that baste the veggies underneath and create just enough sauce.

Sumac Chicken with Caulifower and Carrots

This sheet-pan dinner made chicken a winner in January 2017, with a ground sumac and brown sugar rub. You can also use sumac on roasted vegetables, stir it into vinaigrette, or try it in our Maple-Sumac Roasted Walnuts recipe.

Cantaloupe-White Balsamic Sorbet

This sorbet is refreshing with an almost creamy texture. The white balsamic vinegar is subtle, but it adds depth of flavor that enhances the melon.

Coconut Macaroons with Bittersweet Chocolate and Pistachios

Photo: Courtesy of Oxmoor House

Macaroons are a traditional Passover dessert. You won't believe how easy it is to make them at home. The extra chocolate dip and pistachio garnish takes these cookies over the top.


Watch the video: The Passover Seder: What to Expect


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