Lighter Passover Dishes You’ll Love


Passover, the Jewish celebration of the liberation of Jewish slaves from Egypt, can be a joyous time for family and friends, but can wreak havoc on the old body.

Traditional Passover Seders—festive dinners that kick off the week of Passover—are laden with carbohydrates such as potatoes, matzohs, matzoh balls, and matzoh casseroles called kugel. And there are often leftovers to munch. Did we mention that Passover lasts a full week? That’s a lot of carbo-loading with no marathon to burn it off.

Looking ahead just a few short months to bathing suit season, we would do well to find ways to lighten up our Seder dinners. Here, we update the traditional dishes and add new ones for a healthy holiday menu that’s still K for P—Kosher for Passover. As we say in Hebrew, b’teyavon! (Hearty appetite)

1- Quinoa with Pecans and Dried Cherries

Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is a seed, not a grain, so it’s permissible for Passover, which prohibits the use of grains. Quinoa is also a complete protein, which will provide a nice alternative to meat for the vegans, vegetarians and even the omnivores at your table. This dish can also be made in advance—a  bonus when you’re pressed for time.


6 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (about 3 cups raw: Cook 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water until tender)

6-8 thinly sliced scallions, white and green part
2-3 tsp salt
One cup chopped pecans or almonds
1 cup chopped dried cherries (or dried cranberries if need be)
1 TBSP orange zest from 1-2 oranges
ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad and drizzle with the dressing recipe below.


2/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
(you will only use about 1/2 to 3/4 of this dressing, so save the rest for another time)

Whisk together until completely emulsified. Pour some dressing over the salad, and stir until all quinoa is coated with dressing. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

2- Baby spinach, Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Greens are often absent at the Passover table as they are not traditional for the Seder, but here’s where our innovation begins! If dairy is a no-no at your table (because you’re also serving meat—and the two are traditionally kept separate), you can add a vegan cheese alternative.


1 lb. of fresh strawberries, washed, hulled & sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, walnuts, roasted and salted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
7-8 oz. of washed baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
3 oz. of goat cheese (sprinkle of goat cheese or take about 2 TBSP of goat cheese, form into a small patty, coat in matzoh meal crumbs and brown in a little olive oil—YUM!)

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • One TBSP mayo
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped red onion
  • 1 TBSP poppy seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Mix above ingredients in a bowl until fully combined.

Combine salad ingredients, place goat cheese on top and pour on desired amount of dressing. Serves about 4.

3- Trail Mix Charoset

Charoset, a food symbolizing the mortar that Jewish slaves used to lay bricks in Egypt, is one of those forgiving recipes you can tweak freely and it will still be tasty. This version includes extra dried fruit to add nutrients and to compensate for reduced sugar.

Delicious Charoset:

3 cups chopped walnuts (or almonds)
1 cup dried cranberries (I like them chopped)
1 cup dried prunes or dates, chopped in a food processor
3 peeled, chopped apples
1 cup red wine (Kosher wine if need be, or grape juice)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 1/2 tsp. brown sugar

Combine all ingredients together and leave as is or stew together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until it reaches the desired texture. Serve on matzoh during the Seder, or atop  yogurt or ice cream for dessert. Serves at least 15 for the Seder.

4- Alma’s Butternut Squash Soup

Yes, matzoh ball soup is traditional, but no one said we have to have heavy, wheat-filled dumplings to enjoy the holiday. Here’s a lighter soup that is packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids and beta-carotene.

Alma’s Butternut Squash Soup:

1 large butternut squash, cut into big chunks, placed on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and roasted at 475 degrees until it is tender (about 45 minutes to an hour)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (more if needed if soup gets too thick)
2 TBSP maple syrup
3 TBSP sour cream (or coconut or soy yogurt if keeping kosher)
1/2 tsp crushed fresh rosemary
salt to taste


After squash is roasted, let it cool and peel off the skin.
Put it into a large saucepan with broth and simmer for a few minutes. Add maple syrup and rosemary, and stir until well combined. Let cool. When cool, place in a blender or food processor or use a hand blender and mix until smooth.
Add sour cream and salt to taste.

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