Almond Butter – One of My Favorite New Passover Ingredients

On Passover, my family misses a few ingredients. No, it’s not pasta or pizza (well maybe pizza), but we love peanut butter and miss the creamy, nutty, salty sweet taste. Luckily, my kids have started to enjoy almond butter and we use it all year round. Almond butter is kosher for Passover and is one of my favorite healthy ingredients. Almond butter (tip: try to buy all natural or organic almond butter to limit the amount of added sugar) is filled with protein, has more iron than peanut butter, reduces your cholesterol and with just one tablespoon and is filed with vitamins. In addition to the great health benefits, almond butter is rich, creamy and keeps you feeling full. It’s a great ingredient to use in desserts, and snacks and in sauces. Here are some delicious and unique recipes using almond butter. Enjoy!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sweet Potato Almond Butter Muffins
Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars
Grilled Chicken with Asian Almond Butter Sauce
Asian Almond Butter Sauce
Stuffed Chocolate and Almond Butter Bananas
Brownies with Passover Peanut Butter Swirl
Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Cucumber Mint Quinoa Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

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Cucumber Mint Quinoa Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
Serves: 6

  • ¼ cup olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Passover soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves, or more to taste

For the dressing:
  1. In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until a light golden brown or until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil, the sugar, Passover soy sauce, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, and pepper to taste. Stir until the sugar dissolves and all the ingredients are well combined. Set aside to marinate briefly.
Make the salad:
  1. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, cover, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed. Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and chopped mint and stir to combine.
  2. Add the shallot dressing and toss well to coat. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator and toss again before serving.
  3. NOTE For a warm quinoa dish; toss the cucumbers and herbs with the quinoa while it is still warm. Prepare the dressing as instructed and toss with the warm quinoa mixture. Serve immediately.


Turnip Apple Soup

Turnip-Apple Soup
This is a sweet and smooth soup that is creamy and delicious. It sounds like an unusual combination but is a wonderful surprise to guests. It’s a nice appetizer on Passover.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds turnips peeled and sliced 1- inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted margarine
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer or pareve cream
  • Garnish: parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degree oven. On a large roasting pan place turnips in a single layer. Roast in oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. In the same saucepan, combine the margarine, onion, celery, shallot, garlic, apple and turnips. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the turnips are very tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat. Add the creamer and with an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Season the soup with salt and serve warm. Drizzle in a little extra creamer and parsley for a pretty presentation.
  4. MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to two months.


Super Simple Lemony Roast Chicken

Super Simple Lemony Roast Chicken
Serves: 4

  • ½ loaf stale challah, torn into pieces (for Passover use 2 lbs. baby red potatoes cut in half)
  • 4 shallots, quartered
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, each cut in half
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 chicken, cut in ⅛’s
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss bread, shallots, lemons, and garlic. Place chicken pieces on top. Drizzle everything with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
  3. Roast in oven for 50 minutes. Serve warm with pan juices and lemons squeezed on top.


Chicken Caesar Skewers

Chicken Caesar Skewers
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (for Passover use Passover mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, non-fish variety (for Passover use Passover soy sauce)
  • 2 pounds, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1–inch pieces
  • Skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Sauce, optional: Store bought pareve Caesar dressing

  1. In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, garlic, Dijon, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken, tossing to coat chicken well. Marinate for 20 minutes and up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Thread chicken on skewers. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Preheat oven to broil. Broil for 8 minutes. Serve with romaine lettuce, croutons, store-bought Caesar dressing.


Whole Wheat Fruit and Nut Granola


Whole Wheat Fruit and Nut Granola
Boxed Passover cereal gets me down for many reasons. First, it has no taste and the texture is equally awful. And finally its expensive and makes about 4 bowls in a whole box. This is our favorite morning cereal treat. It always doubles as lunch, mixed with yogurt and fruit, and is delicious as dessert, atop ice cream, fruit compote or meringue. This recipe is from Paula Shoyer’s, The Holiday Kosher Baker and its terrific.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 7 to 8 cups

  • 3 cups whole wheat or regular matzoh-farfel
  • 1 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1 cup pecan halves, chopped into ½-inch (1.25-cm) pieces
  • ½ cup cashews, chopped into ½-inch (1.25-cm) pieces
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup chopped apricots (about 10 pieces)
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes ½ inch up the sides. In a large bowl, mix together the farfel, coconut, pecans, cashews, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  2. Put the honey, oil, and brown sugar into a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl and heat in a microwave oven for 45 seconds, or until the honey and sugar have dissolved. Stir well. Pour over the farfel mixture and toss to coat. Spread evenly on the prepared baking pan and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the farfel and nuts are browned. Let the granola cool on the baking pan for 30 minutes. Mix in the dried fruit. Store the granola in a freezer bag or an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.


Braised Brisket with Tzimmes


Braised Brisket with Tzimmes
This is from a great cookbook called “Brisket”, that has great recipes and lots of anecdotes about making brisket plus its terrific history in Jewish cooking.
Recipe type: meat
Serves: 8-10[url:1][img:1][/url]

  • Brisket
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 pint apple cider
  • Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or beef fat
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • Tzimmes
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite size coins
  • 3 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups pitted prunes

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. For the brisket, heat the oil in a large skillet until hot. Sear the brisket on each side, 3 to 4 minutes, then place it in a large roasting pan, pouring the stock and cider over the brisket. Braise the brisket, covered, for 3 hours before preparing the tzimmes.
  3. For the tzimmes, after the brisket has cooked for 3 hours, add the carrots and sweet potatoes or yams to the pan. Cook for another hour. Add the prunes to the pan, increase the heat to 375 degrees, and continue to cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the brisket to a serving dish to rest and scoop up the tzimmes with a slotted spoon, placing them around the brisket. Strain the liquid from the pan into a container, remove any fat, and set the liquid aside. Keep the brisket and tzimmes warm in your oven with the heat turned off while you prepare the sauce.
  5. For the sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat then add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally. When the shallots begin to caramelize a bit, add the reserved liquid and the cider. Simmer slowly until the liquids are reduced by half. Adjust the seasonings. Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with the tzimmes and the sauce.

Roast Balsamic Chicken and Potatoes


Roasted Balsamic Chicken and Potatoes
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4

  • ¼ medium onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram,optional
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 3 ½ to 4 pound chicken, in pieces
  • 6 medium Yukon Gold, or red potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ½-1 cup dry white wine
  • Fresh parsley or fresh thyme, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processor puree the onion, garlic, and herbs. Blend in 2 teaspoons of the balsamic vinegar, the oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Wiggle your fingers under the skin of the chicken, to loosen it, then stuff most of the herb mixture under the skin. Run the rest all over the chicken, place the pieces side up in a large shallow pan. Scatter the potatoes around it and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then pour in ½ cup wine and remaining balsamic vinegar. Roast for 70 minutes more, or until the inner thigh reaches about 175 degrees on an in instant-read thermometer. Baste with the pan juices, turning the potatoes to brown evenly and prevent them from sticking. Add more wine if the pan is dry.
  5. If you like, turn the oven to broil and broil the chicken for 3 – 5 minutes or until browned and crispy.


Salmon with Green Herbs and Lemon


Salmon with Green Herbs and Lemon
This is an adapted recipe from Ina Garten. The herbs add flavor and the lemon gives it freshness. I added Dijon mustard and lemon zest to her original recipe. I also added the roasted lemons and squeeze the juice over the cooked salmon. Roasted sweet lemon is delicious.
Recipe type: Fish
Serves: 6

  • 1 (2- to 2½-pound) salmon fillet, skin removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup minced scallions, white and green parts (4 scallions)
  • ½ cup minced fresh dill
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the salmon fillet in an oven-proof dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the Dijon mustard, olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the scallions, dill, and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet. Sprinkle the lemon zest all over the herbs. Pour the wine around the fish fillet. Dip the cut lemon (each half) in the sugar. Place in the pan next to the fish.
  4. Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. The center will be firm with just a line of uncooked salmon in the very center. (I peek by inserting the tip of a small knife.) Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon crosswise into serving pieces and serve hot with squeezed sugared lemon on top.


Brisket with Sauerkraut and Tomatoes


Brisket with Sauerkraut and Tomatoes
This is a great sweet and sour brisket. The sauerkraut gives a terrific tartness and the sugar and tomatoes add the necessary sweetness. Make it a few days ahead of time for best results.
Recipe type: meat
Serves: 8

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (4 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (27 ounce) can sauerkraut (with juice)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar

  1. Heat the oil in an ovenproof roasting pan or other heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid just large enough to hold the brisket snugly over medium-high heat until hot. Add the brisket and brown well on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Place the onion, sauerkraut and tomatoes on top of and around the brisket, then sprinkle with the salt. Cover, and bring to a boil, then simmer gently on top of the stove for 45 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with some cooking liquid from the pot, then pour the sugar mixture over the brisket. Continue to simmer gently, covered until fork-tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours. Turn the brisket over a couple of times while simmering, spooning some sauerkraut and liquid on top of the brisket each time. If there isn’t enough liquid, just add some water.
  3. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board, allow it to cool slightly, then slice it against the grain. Place the slices in an oven-safe baking dis, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. Spoon the sauerkraut mixture and sauce over the meat, cover the dish with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for up u to 2 days. (The dish may also be frozen.)