Matzo, Matzo Man

Sundown on Monday, April 14 marks the beginning of Passover, a week devoted to celebrating spring, remembering the past, and eating cardboard instead of delicious grains, whole or otherwise processed. Needless to say, it’s that last part that really gets to me, as matzo has never been my favorite food in the world. Perhaps they would come in handy as mulch or filler for the litter box, but unadorned sheets of the unleavened bread hold little if any culinary value in my eyes. Thankfully, immense improvements in flavor can be made with just a little bit of work, and I’ve had the opportunity to photograph and give Nava Atlas’s truly tasty suggestions a test drive well in advance of the holiday. Proving the power of a well-written recipe, there are now matzo-based dishes that I can claim to genuinely enjoy!

A show-stopper for any Passover meal, this Spinach, Leek, and Potato Matzo Gratin is an impressive but surprisingly simple dish to pull together. It sounds like a humble side dish but eats like a hearty lasagna, which makes it an incredibly versatile addition to any festive menu.

Matzo toffee is a classic treat that always shows up on our seder table, but for an even quicker fix, Nava’s Chocolate Matzo Brittle takes all the boiling sugar and candy making out of the equation. Straight-up chocolate-covered matzo with any sweet toppings your heart desires, it’s perfect for keeping cravings at bay. Sliced almonds with espresso salt are a top pick around here, but it’s hard to go wrong no matter what goodies you choose.

And let’s not forget the indispensable classic, the Jewish staple known around the world: Matzo Ball Soup. This recipe is the only vegan rendition I have yet to encounter that not only yields consistently cohesive, plump dumplings, but also tastes just as good as my memories suggest. It’s the kind of dish that could make me willingly break out the matzo any time of year, which should really say it all.

17 thoughts on “Matzo, Matzo Man

  1. The matzo gratin sounds very yummy. I am not so crazy about matzo either but one can be quite creative with it.Happy Passover Hannah!

  2. I snorted with laughter when I read your blog-post title. Bahahaha. Very nice, very nice.

    You know, I’ve been aching to try matzo-ball soup since I dated my first boyfriend. He was Jewish, and the subsequent boyfriend was Jewish, too, but I never had a chance to veganize the meal, nor did their families veganize it when I was amongst them for seders. I hear nothing but good things about matzo-ball soup, which echo your sentiment about being all right with having the soup at any time of the year. My partner is a Scottish-Irish-Italian Catholic, but that should not ever stop me from getting in on the loveliness of this soup. Thanks for sharing this :-) May you and yours be blessed this Passover!

  3. I have NO idea where to go about sourcing matzo here in Tasmania. I think I might just have moved to a place that is devoid of Jewish people. Not sure why…maybe it is something to do with Tasmania being an extinct volcanic race and the Jewish folk having VERY long memories (and being well versed in categorising risk factors before relocating ;) ) whatever the reason I am devoid of matzo. You might think that is a good thing after seeing that you aren’t overly fond of the unleavened stuff BUT now I am champing at the bit to make all of these gorgeous recipes…what’s a girl to do?! Do you have a recipe for matzo? I would love to make matzo ball soup…just once…call it a bucket list thing :)

    1. Oh goodness, I always thought that you would have to be seriously committed (or terribly bored) to attempt making matzo, but I guess it’s really little different than making very thin flatbread or crackers. After asking Google, this recipe sounds pretty promising: It wouldn’t be kosher of course, but I don’t think that would matter in this case. ;) At the risk of saying something sacrilegious, I feel like you -might- be able to get away with substituting unsalted saltines to make matzo ball soup… I’d be very curious to try it out myself, too! This might call for some post-Passover experimentation.


      1. I am going to give this one a go. That soup looked amazing as did the sweets and that side dish lasagne EMMMM! Cheers for that hard slog and you can thank me later for the idea for your next blog post ;)

  4. Thanks for the nice round up. I still however do like the matzo crackers. I do not know there is just something about them but they really do make a huge mess wherever you eat them.

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  6. I must admit I took the easy way out when recently writing fake advertisements for a food zine’s “Bland Issue” and made fun of the much-maligned matzoh. Had I seen this post earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have. The brittle looks incredible, and so does that gratin!! maybe I will make that, even though I don’t celebrate Passover.

  7. What an unique Matzo spread! I have always wanted to try these plump dumplings aka Matzo Ball soup! I like dumplings in my soup. I took a look at VegKitchen recipe, wow, quinoa flakes & matzo meal!? Sounds pretty easy to make them! Your Matzo Ball soup looks so delicious esp the gratin, miam!

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