Guide to Vegan Passover Seder
Get down with the Haggadah, gulp Kosher wine, find the afikoman, and enjoy grub from the old country.
One of Judaism's most important holidays, Passover, begins this week, commemorating the emancipation of the Israelites from enslavement under the pharaoh in ancient Egypt. According to the Torah, the prophet Moses beseeched the pharaoh to release the Jewish people from bondage. When the pharaoh refused, plagues of biblical—literally—proportions ensued. Drinking water turned into blood, people broke out into boils, and death befell every first-born son—except the Israelites, whose sons god spared. Passover celebrates the night The Angel of Death "passed over" their homes.
Today, the story is commemorated with an annual feast called the Passover Seder. Participants recline on pillows, chug wine, sing songs, play hide-the-afikoman (flat bread), read aloud from a personal Haggadah (religious text containing the story), and eat traditional food. The centerpiece of the evening is the Seder plate, which displays symbolic foods that helps tell the story of Passover. Since the holiday is all about the celebration of freedom and release from bondage, why not walk-the-walk with an ethical, vegan Seder plate?
The Seder Plate
Matzoh (unleavened flat bread)
This traditional cracker is the centerpiece of the Passover holiday. It symbolizes how quickly the Jews had to flee Egypt. In their haste to get the heck out of Cairo, they didn't have time for their bread rise before baking it. Thus, crunchy matzoh was born. No other breads or leavened grains may be consumed during Passover (a boon for you gluten-free folks). Be sure to snag egg-free matzoh.
Charoset (mixture of chopped nuts and apples, agave, spices, and wine)
Substitute agave for the traditional honey, and you have yourself some vegan charoset. Its texture resembles the mortar used to layer bricks, symbolizing the backbreaking work performed by the enslaved Israelites. Also, remind us—why are we only eating this delicious, succulent sweet at Passover?
Zeroa (fresh beet)
Although tradition calls for use of a shankbone to honor the sacrificial lamb, a red beet is scripturally permitted on the Seder plate—in fact, it's common for even omnivores to use this substitution instead.
Maror (bitter herbs)
Horseradish is typically used to symbolize the bitterness and anguish of slavery. (Matzoh slathered with maror—delicious!)
Beitzah (avocado or eggplant)
While the beitzah actually calls for a hard-boiled egg to symbolize fertility, try a silky avocado or a small, de-stemmed white eggplant.
Karpas (vegetable dipped into salt water)
Springtime parsley is dipped in salt water to represent the tears that the Jewish people shed during captivity under the pharaoh's rule.
The Haggadah also calls for four—yes, four—cups of wine to be consumed over the course of the Passover Seder ceremony. In Judaism, wine and religious observances go hand-in-hand. Be sure to find a vegan wine that's specifically marked with a P, denoting that it's Kosher-for-Passover.
The Seder ceremony can take several hours—but it's all good because you're getting drunk and lounging on the floor, anyway. Once it's complete, everybody is ready to chow down in a big way. Being vegan makes it easy to keep Kosher, but remember that no grains are permitted on the banquet table. The following fare can serve as a launch pad for developing your own, delectable Passover menu from the Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, and Sephardi traditions—it takes a village! Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover!
Vegan Stuff to Stuff
This Thanksgiving, get stuffed (literally) by filling one delicious food with another.
Read More »
11 Best Vegan Thanksgiving Instagram Posts
From quinoa stuffing to pumpkin pie smoothies, weve rounded up the most like-worthy Thanksgiving posts on Instagram.
Read More »
Two-Ingredient Thanksgiving Hacks from Trader Joe's
Throw a holiday feast with enough items to breeze through the express line at TJ's.
Read More »
5 Ways to Veganize Desserts for Diwali
Celebrate the Hindu festival of light with dairy-free versions of some of Indias favorite sweet treats.
Read More »
The 2015 Veggie Awards
Our annual list of the very best of all-things vegan is here! Read on for this years reader and editors picks for todays hottest vegan people, places, and products.
Read More »
- 5 Weeds You Should Be Eating
- The VegNews Guide to Vegan Cheese
- The VegNews Guide to Vegan Halloween Candy
- Ultimate Guide to Vegan Caramel
- Move Over Hummus: There's a New Dip in Town!
- 5 Vegan Bachelor Hacks
- Cape Cod Restaurants Take On Vegan Challenge
- The 9 Best Vegan Breakfasts on Instagram
- 10 Drinks with Benefits
- Watermelon Cucumber Salad
- Blueberry Lavender Popsicles
- Mango Slushie
- Three Cool-Down Treats for Hot Summer Days
- 8 Best Places for Vegan Frozen Yogurt
- Guide to Vegan Ethiopian Food
- Vegan Meal Delivery Services (with Discount Codes!)
- 9 Game-Changing Nut Butters Were Loving
- An Open Letter to Coffeehouses Who Charge for Soy Milk ...
- 5 Ways to Create a Great Vegan Picnic
- The VegNews Guide to Vegan Milk