6 New Passover Recipes From Chefs Who Celebrate

Amanda M. Rye

When I picture my extended family, we’re all seated around a seder table that’s covered in matzo crumbs and Manischewitz. My dad strums “Ma Nishtanah” on the guitar while I snack on salt-slicked parsley and lock eyes with my sister, silently asking when the prayers end and the meal begins.

Each spring Jewish families gather to recount the biblical tale of Exodus, when the Israelites escaped bondage in Egypt via locust swarms and parted seas. Passover is a festival of stories and song, ritual and resistance. And because we’re Jews, it’s symbolized with food. At the center of the table, a decorative platter—the seder plate—displays the foods that have guided the night’s ceremony for generations: matzo, roast shankbone, bitter herbs, spring vegetables, and charoset studded with nuts and fruit. And for eight days (or seven, if you’re in Israel), we go without the usual bagels and pita, cleansing our homes and diets of leavened foods—and, depending on the family and their heritage, grains, legumes, and seeds as well—to represent the haste of leaving Egypt without enough time for bread to rise.

Matzo may be known as the bread of affliction, but the Passover meal is a feast. As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, seder meant sweet sliced brisket, The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella, and kebabs from a Moroccan restaurant on Westwood Boulevard. Dessert was tangerines (from the garden) and sticky coconut macaroons (from the deli), while the grown-ups broke out mezcal. But no two seders are the same, and the canon of beloved Passover dishes is as expansive as the Jewish diaspora itself. We asked seven chefs to share the recipes that define their own celebrations, where their tables are perfumed with fenugreek, harissa, and schmaltz. —Aliza Abarbanel

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