Cookbook Authors Share Passover Favorites

If you’re looking for inspiration when planning your Pesach menus, these delicious dishes shared by some of my favorite kosher cookbook authors are perfect for Passover. Their family-friendly recipes are non-gebrochts, making them ideal for anyone who follows a gluten-free diet. As an added benefit, they’re very versatile, so you can use the various components to create additional innovative dishes.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad
Reproduced from Real Life Kosher Cooking by Miriam Pascal, with permission from the copyright holders ArtScroll/Shaar Press Publications, LTD

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Miriam Pascal’s Real Life Kosher Cooking (ArtScroll/Shaar Press)
Yields 6-8 servings

Miriam Pascal originally created this salad for Rosh Hashanah and filled it with symbolic Rosh Hashanah foods. It’s been a fan favorite ever since.

1 small butternut squash, peeled, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups raw quinoa, cooked according to package directions
3 scallions, finely sliced
Seeds of 1 large pomegranate

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Prepare the butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss butternut squash with oil, honey, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
3. Assemble salad: Combine quinoa with prepared butternut squash, scallions and pomegranate seeds.
4. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour dressing over salad; stir until all components are evenly coated.

Norene’s Notes
Variation: If you can’t get fresh pomegranate seeds, use dried cranberries instead. You can also use sweet potato instead of butternut squash.
Plan Ahead: Salad can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. This salad actually tastes best after marinating for a day, when its flavors have had a chance to develop.


Red Quinoa Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from Paula Shoyer’s The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh, Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion (Sterling Epicure)
Yields 12 meatballs

This recipe is one of Paula Shoyer’s favorites in this book—these meatballs won over friends who don’t even like quinoa. You can even sprinkle cheese on top of these “meatballs.” You can also prepare the spaghetti squash and tomato sauce as a side dish with another main.

Spaghetti Squash:
1 large spaghetti squash, sliced in half the long way, seeded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Quinoa Meatballs:
3/4 cup (130 g) red quinoa
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons quinoa flour (or potato starch)
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch sugar
1 28-ounce (795 g) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup (120 ml) water

1. To make the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Drizzle squash halves with oil and place the cut side down on a jelly roll pan. Bake the squash for 45 to 50 minutes, or until it is fork-tender. Let cool. Use a fork to scrape the squash into a large bowl. Set aside until you’re ready to serve.
2. To make the meatballs, place the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Let the quinoa cool 15 minutes.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
4. Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl with the onions and garlic. Add the basil, oregano, eggs, quinoa flour and parsley and mix well. Add salt and pepper and mix well.
5. Pour some water into a small bowl. Dip your hands in the water and then scoop up about 3 tablespoons of the quinoa mixture and shape into a ball. Press the ball tightly and put it on a plate. Wet your hands before shaping each meatball. Chill the meatballs in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
6. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar and stir. Add the tomatoes and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce, covered, for 25 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto a jelly roll pan and heat in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully place the meatballs on the hot pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until firm.
8. To serve, reheat the squash and sauce. Using tongs, place some squash on a plate, ladle some sauce over it, then add the meatballs and more sauce, if desired.


Pesto Chicken and Potatoes
Reproduced from Real Life Kosher Cooking by Miriam Pascal, with permission from the copyright holders ArtScroll/Shaar Press Publications, LTD

Pesto Chicken and Potatoes
Adapted from Miriam Pascal’s Real Life Kosher Cooking (ArtScroll/Shaar Press)
Yields 6-8 servings

The bright, fresh flavors of this family favorite are reminiscent of a warm summer day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it all year round, especially on Passover. Thanks to the shortcut basil pesto, it’s a snap to make this chicken. And that built-in side dish is an extra bonus!

Shortcut Pesto:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
20 cubes frozen basil
4–5 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 4 cubes frozen garlic)
1 1/2–2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Chicken and Potatoes:
2 lb baby red potatoes
2–3 small red onions, cut into thin strips
3 lb chicken, bone-in (Miriam prefers thighs, but you can use your favorite.)

1. In a small bowl, stir together pesto ingredients until combined.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Cool; cut each potato in half and place into a 9×13-inch pan. Toss 2 tablespoons pesto and about 1/4 of the onion strips with the potatoes.
3. Spread a bit of pesto on the top and bottom of each piece of chicken, then place chicken in the pan, on top of the potatoes. Reserve about 1/2 of the pesto mixture.
4. Spread remaining onions over the chicken. Cover pan tightly; bake, covered, for 45 minutes.
5. Uncover pan. Spoon reserved pesto over the chicken; bake, uncovered, for an additional 45–55 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and is starting to brown on the edges.

Norene’s Notes
Plan Ahead: Although this chicken is best prepared the day you serve it, you can prepare it up to a day or two ahead of time, then reheat, uncovered, until heated through.


Potato Schnitzel
Adapted from Amy Stopnicki’s Kosher Taste: Plan, Prepare, Plate (Feldheim)
Yields 4–6 servings

Try this schnitzel once and you will love it always. The potato pancake mix is the key ingredient here. Alternately, try it with potato flakes for your coating. If you want to try something different, you can use veal cutlets instead of chicken breasts.

2 lb boneless chicken breasts, approximately 8 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2–2 cups dry potato pancake mix
Salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Oil for frying

1. Place the chicken between 2 sheets of heavy plastic (re-sealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound with a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4-inch.
2. On a large plate or in a shallow bowl, combine parsley flakes, paprika, garlic powder, potato pancake mix, salt and pepper.
3. Pour eggs into another large plate or shallow bowl.
4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
5. Meanwhile, dip chicken into egg, then potato flake mixture.
6. Cook chicken in heated oil, turning once or until both sides are golden brown and chicken is cooked through.

Norene’s Notes
To Plate: Serve this as a main dish with potatoes and salad. When you serve this on Pesach, your family won’t even know it’s not chametz!  


Chocolate Quinoa Cake
Adapted from Paula Shoyer’s The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh, Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion (Sterling Epicure)
Yields 12 servings

Paula Shoyer had heard the myth of chocolate cakes made with cooked quinoa and didn’t quite believe they’d actually be tasty. This cake is surprisingly moist and delicious—great for Passover and all year round.

3/4 cup (130 g) quinoa
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/3 cup (80 ml) orange juice
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons Passover vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 ml) coconut oil
1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
1 cup (80 g) dark unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz (55 g) bittersweet chocolate
Fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)

Glaze (optional):
5 oz (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
1 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract

1. Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Set the pan aside. The quinoa may be made 1 day in advance.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Use cooking spray to grease a 12-cup (2.8L) Bundt pan. Sprinkle the potato starch over the greased pan and then shake the pan to remove any excess starch.

3. Place the quinoa in the bowl of a food processor. Add the orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt and process until the mixture is very smooth.

4. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or place in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and put in a microwave for 45 seconds, stirring and then heating the chocolate for another 30 seconds, until it is melted. Add the chocolate to the quinoa batter and process until well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake it for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

5. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then remove it gently from the pan. Let it cool on a wire cooling rack.

6. To make the glaze, melt the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl in the microwave or over a double boiler. Add the oil and vanilla and whisk well. Let the glaze sit for 5 minutes and then whisk it again. Use a silicone spatula to spread the glaze all over the cake.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at or email her at

This article was featured in the Spring 2018 issue of Jewish Action.
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