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Spinach-Matzo Lasagna

Spinach-Matzo Lasagna


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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until the garlic is fragrant and the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, ½ cup of the mozzarella, and the parsley. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

Fill a shallow baking dish with water. Dip 3 sheets of the matzo in the water and let soften for 1 to 2 minutes. (Not longer — you want the pieces to feel soft, but not mushy or soggy. They should still hold their shape.) Spoon half of the marinara into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Shake the excess water off of the softened matzo pieces and arrange in the baking dish, breaking the sheets as necessary so that they fit. Top with about half of the ricotta mixture, followed by half of the spinach mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining marinara, another 3 softened sheets of matzo, and the remaining ricotta and spinach mixtures.

Soften the remaining 3 sheets of matzo and arrange on top. Spoon the remaining marinara over the top, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 ½ cups mozzarella and the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the cheese is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand for a few minutes. Serve hot.


The captious vegetarian

For Passover this year I wanted to make Peter Berley’s spinach mushroom vegan tart, but I didn’t have enough time to figure out how to make a kosher-for-Passover crust. I did try making an almond, matzoh meal crust held together with butter, but it just turned to crumbly sand. Instead, I ended up making this matzoh spanokopita (spanomatzikah? matzokopita?) recipe from Gourmet magazine for the main dish. Although it’s certainly rich and cheesy, it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly rich. I call it spanokopita, and although the flavors are similar, it would need significantly more feta and butter to deserve the name. I simplified the recipe significantly, by using a stick blender instead of a stand blender and skipping the matzoh soaking and spinach squeezing steps. Here is my modified version of the recipe.

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped dill, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk (1.5 cups may be plenty)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups), divided
  • 6 matzos (about 6 inches square)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Oil a 13- by 9- by 2-inch (3-quart shallow) baking dish
  2. Chop the onion, then cook with the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the cottage cheese, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Use a stick blender to purée until smooth. Add in 4 ounces of the crumbled feta. Reserve 1.5 cups in a separate bowl.
  4. When the onion is golden, add the spinach to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup dill, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the spinach mixture to the large bowl with the milk mixture.
  5. Arrange 2 matzos side by side in the baking dish. Break up matzohs to fill in any cracks. Pour in half of the pinach filling. Cover with 2 more matzos, then pour in remaining filling. Put remaining 2 matzos on top and pour the reserved cottage-cheese mixture over them. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup feta.
  6. Bake, uncovered, until golden and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then serve sprinkled with remaining 2 tablespoons dill.

This recipe is relatively easy to make–just one skillet and a big bowl are required. I didn’t time it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I could make it and clean up in under 30 minutes. The lasagna held together very well when sliced (probably due to the eggs), and looked quite pretty on the plate. I baked it ahead of time for the Passover seder, and then reheated it. The topping became slightly hard and dried out, but otherwise it was very good. The first time I made this, I only had about 1 cup of feta, so I didn’t put any on top. Even without the melted cheese topping, I quite liked the recipe, and the top looked beautiful. Both times I forgot to sprinkle dill on top after baking. There are only a few more things that I might change about this recipe. I might try reducing the amount of milk slightly, to 1.75 or 1.5 cups, since I’m not soaking the matzoh ahead of time. I might also try it sometime with lowfat milk, as I usually don’t have whole milk around, and had to buy it just for this recipe. Finally, to simplify the recipe, it would be worth skipping the “reserve the milk mixture” step, and just pouring a bit of the spinach mixture on top of the final matzoh.

Derek said this recipe is “very good, tasty, B+”.

Update March 2011: We reserved some of the feta for the top, as the recipe instructs. But it got over-browned and turned into hard, dry little pellets that we had to pick off.

Update April 2011: For Passover this year I doubled the spinach matzoh pie recipe, but baked it in the regular 9x13x2 shallow 3-quart rectangular pyrex pan instead of my 15吆 inch 4-quart (or two square 2-quart) pans. Again I skipped the soaking step. I didn’t cook the pie until we were almost ready to eat, and I think I didn’t cook it enough because it was still rather soupy. I think that since the pan was larger I should have cooked it longer. Also, since I used a larger pan we probably should have added another layer of matzoh to compensate for the decreased surface area. Finally, we accidentally used up all the filling before placing the final matzoh on top. As a result, we had the matzoh as the top layer rather than the spinach mixture, so I think less of the liquid evaporated. But the pie tasted really good in any case.

Update August 2011:

I made this decidedly non summery dish on a chilly day in August. I took one of the commenters suggestions and used two quite large leeks instead of the onion. I felt like the recipe had enough fat so I cut the olive oil to 1.5 tablespoons. It was plenty for sauteeing the leek. I only had 450 grams of frozen, chopped spinach (about 16 ounces), but I figured it was okay because I had more chopped leek than you’d get from one large onion. I used a mix of lowfat and full fat cottage cheese, and a full 200 grams (7 ounces) of feta. I used whole milk, but cut the amount to 1.5 cups. All the dill at the market was flowering, so instead I used 1/2 cup (packed) of mixed parsley and mint. I used four regular german eggs, and the full amounts of salt, nutmeg, and pepper.

I skipped all the complicated soaking and reserving steps, and just mixed the feta, herbs, cooked leek, and cooked spinach in with all the other ingredients (after blending them with my stick blender). I didn’t grease the pan, but I did put down a thin layer of the filling (mostly the milk) before I put down the first layer of matzoh. Last time Derek hadn’t liked the matzoh texture so much so I made the dish with matzoh on the left half and Barilla no-cook pasta noodles on the right half. I cooked the dish uncovered at 400 degrees (with the fan on) for 35 minutes. The top was brown and the noodles and matzoh were soft at that point. It was not soupy at all. All the extra moisture had been absorbed. It held together well when cut.

I couldn’t taste the nutmeg, mint, or parsley. I did taste a lot of salt. Even Derek (crazy salt man) said it was too salty. It’s weird. I don’t remember the dish being particularly salty before. I went back and checked the original recipe and indeed it calls for 1.25 teaspoons of salt. I checked the reviews and some of them complain that it’s too salty, and others say it’s not salty enough. Maybe it depends on the brand of feta and cottage cheese? Or maybe I somehow mis-measured. Despite the salt, I liked the dish. The matzoh and lasagne noodle halves were surprisingly similar, but both Derek and I liked the matzoh half better. Next time I want to try whole wheat matzoh. Derek (as always) wasn’t excited about the dish. But it’s pretty easy and I find it very satisfying, so I’m going to play around more to see if I can get Derek to like it more. I think next time I’ll use less salt, more herbs, more nutmeg, and some garlic. I might also try using lowfat milk (which I tend to have on hand) and putting back all the olive oil or using all full fat cottage cheese. I also need to try to find a better feta.

Update December 2011:

I made this recipe again, with a few modifications. I used 2 Tbs. olive oil, and instead of dill I used mostly oregano with a little parsley. Next time I’d put in more herbs though (maybe 1/2 cup, packed), as I couldn’t taste the oregano at all, and the parsley barely at all. I was a bit short on cottage cheese (14 oz) so I put in the whole pack of feta (6.5-7 ounces I think). I used low-fat milk and reduced the amount to 1 cup. I cut the salt to 1 tsp. Instead of matzohs I used three no-boil barilla lasagna noodles (all I had). I was worried that the dish wouldn’t hold together, since I cut the amount of noodles so much, but it actually held together quite well. It tasted good, but it was again way too salty. Maybe the matzoh absorbs a lot of the salt? It certainly adds (unsalted) bulk to the recipe. Derek liked the dish a lot this time, maybe because of all the salt. Next time I’d cut the salt down to 1/2 teaspoon I think.

Without a lot of matzoh this dish ends up being a bit more like a (cheesy) kookoo (Iranian frittata-like dish) than a lasagne. When cooked in a 9吉 dish at least, it’s very low and flat.

Update September 2012:

Here’s the non-kosher-for-passover, simplified version I made today:

  • 1 very large leek, white and light green parts, chopped (about 300g edible part) [next time add some onion as well?]
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil [next time increase to 2 Tbs.?]
  • 2/3 tsp. fine sea salt [next time cut to 1/2 tsp.]
  • just over 21 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed (600g) [maybe next time use 650g?]
  • 40g frozen chopped dill (I used a box of frozen pre-chopped dill) [maybe next time add some parsley or oregano or mint as well?]
  • 400g 4% cottage cheese (about 14 oz.)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 very large eggs (about 175g total without the shells)
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg [next time try 1/2 tsp.]
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 200g feta, crumbled (about 7 oz) feta
  • 6 whole wheat lasagne noodles
  1. Wash and chop the leek. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Get out a 13-by-9 inch (3-quart shallow) baking dish.
  2. Saute the leek with the oil and salt in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the cottage cheese, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and pepper. Use a stick blender to purée until smooth. Use a bit of the mixture to “grease” the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Crumble in the feta and add the chopped dill.
  4. When the leek is golden, add the spinach to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the spinach mixture to the large bowl with the milk mixture.
  5. Arrange 3 lasagne noodles in the baking dish. Pour in half of the spinach filling. Cover with 3 more noodles, then pour in remaining filling.
  6. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake tightly covered for 30 minutes. Uncover, reduce the temperature to 350 and cook until golden and set, about another 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Makes 6 servings. Each serving has 375 calories (26% protein, 31% carbs, 41% fat). My simplified version with frozen spinach and dill is pretty easy to make—just one skillet and a big bowl are required, and you have to chop the leek. I was worried since I used regular whole wheat lasagne noodles, and didn’t boil them first, but they softened up fine after 45 minutes of baking and another 15 or so minutes sitting in the hot oven. I used leaf (not chopped) frozen spinach, and was a bit worried that the spinach pieces would be stringy, but they weren’t at all. The lasagna held together very well when sliced (probably due to the eggs), and looked quite pretty on the plate. Again, however, it was too salty. Also, I wished it was a bit more sour. I wonder what it would taste like if I used buttermilk instead of regular milk.

I wonder if this recipe could be multiplied by 1.5, to make 12 servings. Just add one more layer of noodles. There’s plenty of vertical room in the pan. It will probably just take a little extra time to cook through. Derek thinks the texture will end up too soggy.

Derek said he “loved it” and rated it an A-.

Update Feb 2013: I modified this recipe a bit to use up some items in the fridge. For the herbs I used a mix of dill, mint, and oregano. I didn’t have enough cottage cheese so I used a bit of goat cheese and parmesan for some of the cheese. I didn’t have any leeks so sautéed just onions, some scallions, and a little bit of green peppers. And I was a bit short on milk. The texture of the lasagne came out fine, but the taste was not good at all. I thought all my substitutions would work, and maybe individually they would have, but apparently I can’t futz with this recipe to the extent that I thought.

Update Feb 2013: I modified this recipe a bit to use up some items in the fridge. For the herbs I used a mix of dill, mint, and oregano. I didn’t have enough cottage cheese so I used a bit of goat cheese and parmesan for some of the cheese. I didn’t have any leeks so sautéed just onions, some scallions, and a little bit of green peppers. And I was a bit short on milk. The texture of the lasagne came out fine, but the taste was not good at all. I thought all my substitutions would work, and maybe individually they would have, but apparently I can’t futz with this recipe to the extent that I thought.

Update April 2013:

I made this again for Passover this year, but I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 to serve 13 people. I used 1 medium onion (8 ounces) but added 8 ounces of chopped leek. I used 30 oz / 850g of frozen spinach, 4 Tbs. of olive oil (instead of 4.5 Tbs.), 600g of cottage cheese (instead of 24 oz / 680g), and two German packs of feta (400g instead of 9 oz / 255g). I cut back on the milk (3 cups instead of 4), increased the dill a bit (maybe 3/4 of 1 tightly packed cups?), and added a little bit of chopped parsley. I used a bit more nutmeg than the recipe calls for (1/2? tsp.) and cut the salt back as well (1 tsp. instead of about 2 tsp.).

I skipped all the soaking/separating steps in the original recipe, and just layered the filling onto the crisp matzoh. I used a deep lasagne pan and made three layers, ending with the filling (not the matzoh). Since the dish was deeper than normal it took longer to cook, maybe 45 minutes to an hour. But it turned out really well. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and the 13 of us at the seder polished off almost the entire thing.

I still want to try replacing some (or all) of the milk with buttermilk or maybe thinned yogurt.

Update May 2014:

Here’s the non-kosher-for-passover, simplified version I made today, but multiplied by 1.33. The lasagne was a bit short and we ate it up quickly (one dinner and two lunches). Derek only rated it a B this time, not quite sure why the rating went down. Maybe I cooked it a bit too long?

It would be nice to get at least one more meal out of the dish, thus I’m multiplying everything below by 1.33 because I want to try adding another layer next time:

  • 1.33 very large leek, white and light green parts, chopped (about 400g edible part)
  • 1.33 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 900g frozen chopped spinach, thawed [maybe next time try 1kg?]
  • 50g frozen chopped dill (I used a box of frozen pre-chopped dill)
  • 25g mixed chopped herb (from another frozen box)
  • 533g 4% cottage cheese (about 14 oz.) [I actually only had about 440g]
  • 1.333 cup whole milk
  • 5 large eggs (about 250g total without the shells)
  • 2/3 teaspoon grated nutmeg [next time try 3/4 tsp.]
  • 1.33 teaspoon pepper
  • 267g feta, crumbled (about 9.4 oz) feta
  • 9 whole wheat lasagne noodles
  1. Wash and chop the leek. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Get out a 13-by-9 inch (3-quart shallow) baking dish.
  2. Saute the leek with the oil and salt in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the cottage cheese, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and pepper. Use a stick blender to purée until smooth. Use a bit of the mixture to “grease” the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Crumble in the feta and add the chopped dill.
  4. When the leek is golden, add the spinach to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the spinach mixture to the large bowl with the milk mixture. (Add it slowly so that the milk doesn’t curdle.)
  5. Arrange 3 lasagne noodles in the baking dish. Pour in one third of the spinach filling. Cover with 3 more noodles, then pour in another third of filling. Add the final three noodle, and end with a final layer of spinach filling.
  6. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake tightly covered for 30 minutes. Uncover, reduce the temperature to 350 and cook until golden and set, about another 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

It should make 8 servings. Maybe I should actually multiply it by 1.5 and get 9 servings out? But maybe then I’d need to add one more layer of noodles?


Spinach-Matzo Lasagna

Image by Sang An

Over the last decade, matzo lasagna has quickly and emphatically entered the Passover mainstream. Its rise has partly to do with the need it fills for a substantive main dish to serve during the holiday’s weeklong bread ban. The other reason for its popularity? It’s delicious, and remarkably so.

Softened matzo provides a convincingly noodle-like base for the rich ricotta and mozzarella, tangy marinara, and tender spinach threaded throughout the layers. I like to imagine that, fifty years from now, my future children and grandchildren will swear that Passover is not Passover without spinach-matzo lasagna.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 ounces/140 grams baby spinach
4 cups/910 grams full-fat or low-fat ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups/200 grams grated mozzarella
¼ cup/10 grams roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 sheets matzo
4 cups/960 mililiters good-quality marinara
¼ cup/20 grams grated parmesan

1) Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2) Heat the olive oil in a medium pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until the garlic is fragrant and the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, ½ cup of the mozzarella and the parsley. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

4) Fill a shallow baking dish with water. Dip 3 sheets of the matzo in the water and let soften for 1 to 2 minutes. (Not longer—you want the pieces to feel soft, but not mushy or soggy. They should still hold their shape.) Spoon half of the marinara into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Shake the excess water off of the softened matzo pieces and arrange in the baking dish, breaking the sheets as necessary to fit. Top with about half of the ricotta mixture, followed by half of the spinach mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining marinara, another 3 softened sheets of matzo, and the remaining ricotta and spinach mixtures.

5) Soften the remaining 3 sheets of matzo and arrange on top. Spoon the remaining marinara over the top, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 ½ cups mozzarella and the Parmesan.

6) Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the cheese is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand for a few minutes. Serve hot.

Recipes reprinted with permission from “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen,” Chronicle Books (2015), by Leah Koenig.


Spinach-Matzo Lasagna - Recipes

Adding mushrooms would probably be delicious - spinach mushroom lasagna is such a classic as well.

Excerpt From: Leah Koenig - Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen

Over the last decade, matzo lasagna has quickly and emphatically entered the Passover mainstream. Its rise has partly to do with the need it fills for a substantive main dish to serve during the holiday’s weeklong bread ban. The other reason for its popularity? It’s delicious, and remarkably so. Softened matzo provides a convincingly noodle-like base for the rich ricotta and mozzarella, tangy marinara, and tender spinach threaded throughout the layers. I like to imagine that, fifty years from now, my future children and grandchildren will swear that Passover is not Passover without spinach-matzo lasagna.

3 TBSP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 LARGE YELLOW ONIONS, FINELY CHOPPED
4 GARLIC CLOVES, FINELY CHOPPED
5 OZ/140 G BABY SPINACH
4 CUPS/910 G FULL-FAT OR LOW-FAT RICOTTA CHEESE
2 EGGS, LIGHTLY BEATEN
2 CUPS/200 G GRATED MOZZARELLA
1/4 CUP/10 G ROUGHLY CHOPPED FRESH FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY
KOSHER SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
9 SHEETS MATZO
4 CUPS/960 ML GOOD-QUALITY MARINARA
1/4 CUP/20 G GRATED PARMESAN

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until the garlic is fragrant and the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup/50 g of the mozzarella, and the parsley. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

4. Fill a shallow baking dish with water. Dip 3 sheets of the matzo in the water and let soften for 1 to 2 minutes. (Not longer—you want the pieces to feel soft, but not mushy or soggy. They should still hold their shape.) Spoon half of the marinara into the bottom of a 9-by-13-in/23-by-33-cm baking dish. Shake the excess water off of the softened matzo pieces and arrange in the baking dish, breaking the sheets as necessary to fit. Top with about half of the ricotta mixture, followed by half of the spinach mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining marinara, another 3 softened sheets of matzo, and the remaining ricotta and spinach mixtures.

5. Soften the remaining 3 sheets of matzo and arrange on top. Spoon the remaining marinara over the top, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 11/2 cups/150 g mozzarella and the Parmesan.

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Reviews

I made this with gluten-free onion matzoh, followed the recipe exactly. Disappointed. While it tastes good, it has a gluey texture that I don't like.

Made this exactly according to the recipe despite my doubts it came out delicious. Definitely adding it to the Passover dinner rotation--love having tasty dishes to rely on.

one more thing, if you're going to bake this a few hours ahead of time you should undertake it and then let it finish cooking in oven for 10 min. or so just before serving.

I make this every passover. Good mid week dinner. You need to add a few more boards of matzah. It doesn't really need more filling, but you could add a little more -maybe extra egg, milk, cheese if you want. But the 6 matzo boards do not look like enough in the 9 x 13 pan. I do 8 matzahs. Its very good as is, I don't think it has too much dill.

Good but not great. Way too salty. The feta adds a lot of salt so the amount of salt called for in the recipe is too much. I would cut down on the salt by half or more the next time, plus add mushrooms or some other vegetable. Also - recipe doesn't make enough filling for a 13x9 dish. I used an 8x8 glass dish and it filled up to the top.

I have made this 2 years in a row, and as far as Passover food goes, it's 5 stars. This year what I did different: 1) I used 2 pieces gluten-free matzah and 4 regular 2) I put feta in blender with cottage cheese because my picky nine-year-old won't eat anything with even a hint of cheese giveaways! 3) I used almond milk because I ran out of regular. This year's came out the best yet! Terrific recipe. so very much like spanikopita.

So good. I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage and halved the dill as others suggested and it was a perfect dish for passover! Everyone loved it. I also added some garlic powder to the spinach mix.

Made this tonight and it turned out great. I added garlic with the onion and also soaked the matzoh in all of the liquid as a first step. I might decrease the recipe by one egg next time, as it did seem a little eggy.

Great dish for mid-week during Passover. Everyone loved it, including folks not observing Passover. Used ricotta instead of cottage cheese. Nice flavor, and no need for blender just used whisk. Threw in a little grated mozzarella too.

Recipe process needs re-writing, but is otherwise great. Here are my changes: 1. Make the sauce first. That way, Matzo can soak while cooking onion and spinach. 2. Only cook the onions for 5 min, Spinach for 1-2 min. Times quoted are way too long. 3. To make 13"x9" pan, use 4.5 standard size matzos. To make a 9" square pan, use 3 standard size matzos and reduce all ingredients by 1/4-1/3.

This was extraordinary. My new favorite Passover recipe. It doesn't need any adjustments at all. The amount of dill is perfect. I am thinking of modifying it for a non Passover quiche, by reducing the milk and cottage cheese, since the soaking step would be skipped.

We loved this dish. Friends dropped in when I started soaking the matzos so they soaked for over an hour - and they were delicious. Used fresh spinach - the chopping was time consuming - and no dill, used instead fresh basil and oregano.

This was a big hit for Easter/Passover brunch. It was delicious! Prepared it the night before and baked it in the morning. Since I was letting it sit all night, I skipped the soaking of the matzoh. As I layered it, I just poured some of the reserved cottage cheese mixture over the matzoh before layering on the spinach mixture (used fresh spinach). I also used extra feta (6 oz in the mixture and 2 oz on top before baking. It was really good and I would make it again for brunch or dinner.

Delicious, but needs less dill. I would also soak the matzohs first, while you are doing the other preparations. I used only 1 Tbsp olive oil and fat free milk.

This was a huge hit! The filling is fabulous--we used full-fat organic cottage cheese and whole milk, but it didn't seem overly rich. We didn't adjust the recipe at all and were very happy with how it came out. I think this filling would work wonderfully with layers of fillo dough, but the matzoh worked out quite well. It's also a very easy recipe!

Very tasty, crowd pleaser. Have made this recipe a few times. Last year, added a layer of mozzarella. Think I will add mushrooms and a bit of garlic to the onion mixture.

Used pesto instead of dill. Served with optional pesto, tapenade, chutney and horseradish mustard to provide more umph. Think I'll include roasted tomatoes in the pie next time.

So delicious. I live with a pair off egg allergic boys so made this as stated but just left out the eggs. I added a few tablespoons extra milk to the soak for the matzah just for extra liquid but otherwise made no attempt to sub anything for the eggs. Guests raved and it was definitely the star of the passover table.

Great tasty recipe, and super easy. I would recommend using less dill - while not bad as is, it was a bit overpowering. Maybe halve the amount of dill. I also added a bit more feta because, let's face it, why not? Extra cheese rarely hurts a recipe. :)

This is definitely one of my favorite passover recipes. It's so delicious and so easy. I often split it in half since there are just me and my husband. Just writing this review makes me want to make it again soon!

The dill in this pie is over the top! I followed the recipe but used slightly less dill than is called for and it still tasted like a dill pickle. I liked the basic concept though, but next time will cut the dill to a tablespoon and add swiss cheese instead of Feta.

Really yummy, and easy! Great middle of Passover main dish. Unfortunately, the dill was too much for the kids, but the grown ups in the house loved it! I'll keep making it, and hope that the kids grow into liking it,

Can someone please help me with this recipe? I want to make this for Passover, but I'm a little unclear on the instructions - when you soak the matzoh squares, are they really supposed to be stacked? And if so, how high? 2 stacks of 3 squares? 3 stackes of 2? I want to make sure I don't end up with half-soggy/half-hard matzoh! Thanks so much!

Great recipe. Simple, really tasty, and excellent for getting rid of lots of matzoh. So good I would make it during non-Passover times. Didn't change a thing.


Matzo sandwiches always seem like a good idea, except as soon as you take a bite, cracks appear everywhere and your sandwich turns into just a pile of stuff. Soaked matzo comes to the rescue and allows you to wrap brisket leftovers burrito-style before heating the wrap and digging into your first intact sandwich in days.

Seders at my aunt’s house always included matzo pie, a layered dish stuffed with spinach, artichokes and cheese that resembled a lasagna. I loved it even though I refused to eat green vegetables at any other meal. Turns out, our matzo pie is actually a traditional Sephardic dish called mina that can be layered with all sorts of fillings. This spinach and artichoke filling is reminiscent of spanakopita and will always be my personal favorite.


Carrot Salad with Mint and Dates, Spinach Matzo-Lasagna, and Sweet Hamantaschen from MODERN JEWISH COOKING by Leah Koenig

From a leading voice of the new generation of young Jewish cooks who are reworking the food of their forebears, this take on the cuisine of the diaspora pays homage to tradition while reflecting the values of the modern-day food movement. Author Leah Koenig shares 175 recipes showcasing handmade, seasonal, vegetable-forward dishes. Classics of Jewish culinary culture—such as latkes, matzoh balls, challah, and hamantaschen—are updated with smart techniques and vibrant spices. Approachable recipes for everything from soups to sweets go beyond the traditional, incorporating regional influences from North Africa to Central Europe. Featuring holiday menus and rich photography, this collection is at once a guide to establishing traditions and a celebration of the way we eat now.

Leah Koenig signs copies of Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen at Omnivore Books on Food on Wednesday, March 25 from 6:30-7:30pm. Free.

Reprinted with permission from Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen by Leah Koenig, ©2015. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs copyright ©2015 by Sang An. You can buy an autographed copy of Modern Jewish Cooking at Onmnivore. We urge you to support your local bookstore. They can order it for you if not in stock. Otherwise you can purchase through our affiliate links with Amazon and Indiebound or at your local bookshop.

CARROT SALAD WITH MINT AND DATES

Moroccan carrot salads flavored with cumin and coriander have become a staple of the Jewish table. But to be honest, they’re not really my thing. I offer this dish as an alternative. Grated carrots get paired with Mediterranean ingredients like dates, fresh mint, and hazelnuts for a sweet, crunchy, lemon-kissed salad that might just become your new favorite.

  • 1/2 cup/60 g raw hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp extra-kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb/ 455 g carrots, peeled
  • 1/3 cup/50 g finely chopped pitted Deglet Noor dates
  • 1/4 cup/10 g roughly chopped mint leaves
  • 3 cups/75 g baby arugula
  1. Place the hazelnuts in a small pan set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl to cool completely, then peel off the skins with your fingers and roughly chop.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and olive oil in a small bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grate the carrots on the large holes of a box grater or with a food processor fit with a shredding blade. Combine the grated carrots, toasted hazelnuts, dates, mint, and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and gently toss to combine. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired. Divide the salad among plates and serve immediately. (If not serving right away, keep the dressing and salad in separate containers combine and toss just before serving.)

SPINACH-MATZO LASAGNA

Over the last decade, matzo lasagna has quickly and emphatically entered the Passover mainstream. Its rise has partly to do with the need it fills for a substantive main dish to serve during the holiday’s weeklong bread ban. The other reason for its popularity? It’s delicious, and remarkably so. Softened matzo provides a convincingly noodle-like base for the rich ricotta and mozzarella, tangy marinara, and tender spinach threaded throughout the layers. I like to imagine that, fifty years from now, my future children and grandchildren will swear that Passover is not Passover without spinach-matzo lasagna.

  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 oz/140 g baby spinach
  • 4 cups/910 g full-fat or low-fat Ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups/200 g grated mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup/10g roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 sheets matzo
  • 4 cups/960 ml good-quality marinara
  • 1/4 cup/20 g grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until the garlic is fragrant and the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup/50 g of the mozzarella, and the parsley. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Fill a shallow baking dish with water. Dip 3 sheets of the matzo in the water and let soften for 1 to 2 minutes. (Not longer—you want the pieces to feel soft, but not mushy or soggy. They should still hold their shape.) Spoon half of the marinara into the bottom of a 9-by-13-in/23-by-33-cm baking dish. Shake the excess water off of the softened matzo pieces and arrange in the baking dish, breaking the sheets as necessary to fit. Top with about half of the ricotta mixture, followed by half of the spinach mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining marinara, another 3 softened sheets of matzo, and the remaining ricotta and spinach mixtures.
  5. Soften the remaining 3 sheets of matzo and arrange on top. Spoon the remaining marinara over the top, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 1/2 cups/150 g mozzarella and the Parmesan.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the cheese is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand for a few minutes. Serve hot.

SWEET HAMANTASCHEN

The first time I made hamantaschen—the traditional triangle-shaped Purim cookie—by myself, I was twenty-five and was working with a sketchy dough recipe I found on the Internet. The dough tasted fine but was super-delicate, and I ended up with a sorry-looking batch of cracked, leaky hamantaschen and two baking sheets caked with burnt jam. If only I had made this dough recipe instead. Bound with egg and oil and sweetened with orange juice, it rolls out and shapes with relative ease, making it ideal for beginners and skilled hamantaschen makers alike.

Note: For this recipe, I strongly recommend using the “spoon and sweep” method for accurately measuring the flour with measuring cups. (Find out how in Modern Jewish Cooking.)

  • 2 1/2 cups/315 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup 130 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Possible fillings: Lekvar, golden apricot filling, chocolate-poppy seed filling, raspberry jam, blueberry jam, strawberry jam, Nutella, peanut butter, chocolate chips
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest until combined. Slowly stir in the flour mixture, mixing until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead a few times with your hands until it is smooth, but not sticky. (If the dough appears too dry, knead in more orange juice, 1 tsp—and no more!—at a time. If it looks too wet, knead in up to 1/4 cup/30 g more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, until you reach the right consistency.)
  3. Gather the dough, then divide it in half with a knife and form into two flat disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator (keep the other half wrapped and chilled). On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to 1/8-in 4-mm thickness. Use a 3-in/7.5-cm round cookie cutter or glass to cut out as many as circles as possible and carefully transfer them, about 1/2 in/12 mm apart to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps, reroll, cut out additional circles, and transfer them to the baking sheet.

  1. Spoon 1 tsp of filling into the center of each dough circle. Fold the left side over an angle, followed by the right side. Fold the bottom flap up, tucking one end under the side flap to make a triangle-shaped pocket (the filling should still be visible in the center) pinch the seams firmly to seal. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling.
  2. Bake until lightly golden and browned at the corners, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Leah Koenig is a writer and cookbook author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Gastronomica, Modern Farmer, Food Arts, CHOW, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Tablet, and The Jewish Daily Forward. Her first cookbook, The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook: Daily Meals for the Contemporary Jewish Kitchen (via Amazon or Indiebound) , was named one of the Best Books of 2011 by Library Journal. Leah lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband Yoshie Fruchter, and leads cooking demonstrations around the country. Visit her at www.LeahKoenig.com.


You may think pancakes are off-limits during Passover, but these smart Passover breakfast pancakes put them back on the menu! Matzo cake meal and tapioca starch give these golden-brown flapjacks a satisfying texture. Drizzle with warm maple syrup for serving.


Spinach-Matzo Pie

When I saw the Spinach and Matzo Pie recipe in this month’s Gourmet , I thought, “Wow, an easier way to make a spinach pie! No fooling with thin sheets of phyllo, just lay down some matzos instead.” I figured it’d be a snap to take my Spinach and Artichoke Pie and just substitute matzos for the phyllo. But then I read the recipe.

Since matzos are on the dense side, the Gourmet recipe would have you soak them in a mixture of cottage cheese, whole milk, and eggs for 15 minutes before picking them up and layering them in the baking dish. Never mind that I wasn’t planning on using any of those ingredients I just couldn’t imagine picking up soaking wet matzos, which are basically thick crackers, and being able to transfer them intact to the baking dish. But since there wasn’t that much liquid in my original recipe, I also couldn’t imagine them getting soft enough if I didn’t add some more moisture.

In the end I wound up with a recipe that bears little resemblance to either Gourmet’s recipe or my old recipe. Instead of cottage cheese and eggs, I used a mixture of Toffuti cream cheese and soymilk, and instead of the feta that tops Gourmet’s pie, I used pine nuts. I stuck with the seasonings of my original recipe–oregano and cumin–and skipped the dill in Gourmet’s (besides the fact that we’re not big fans, I had no fresh dill on-hand). The result is this delicious, though not really easy-to-make, main dish.

The addition of vegan cream cheese and pine nuts takes this out of the realm of low-fat eating and right into feast-food territory. If you want to cut the fat, I suggest sticking with my Spinach and Artichoke Pie. Or, if you want to avoid the problem of soaking the matzos altogether, try using matzo meal instead and skip the Tofutti mixture. For a gluten-free version, try using either gluten-free bread crumbs or crackers.

I should also mentioned that though the Gourmet recipe was kosher for Passover, this one is not: The soy products make it off-limits for anyone observing the Passover dietary laws. (I took this to a Unitarian-Universalist Seder where, like most things Unitarian, anything goes.) I was unable to get a photo of it once it was cut, but you can see an important detail in the photo below: the matzos don’t reach all the way to the edge of the pan, so keeping it intact after cutting is nearly impossible. For a beautiful presentation, phyllo dough wins hands-down.


Matzo Lasagna

The recipes included in the cookbook were submitted by residents of the Denver metro area and were tested and by the women on the Friends of Shalom Park cookbook committee.

Sauce:
1/4 cup pareve margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or veal
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine (kosher for Passover)
1 28-ounce can Italian-style tomatoes, crushed

Lasagna:
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
6 cups loosely packed spinach, washed, stemmed and patted dry
5 matzos
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided

For the sauce: Melt margarine with olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute over medium heat until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add meat. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase heat and stir in wine. Cook until wine has evaporated. Add tomatoes, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until sauce becomes medium thick, stirring occasionally, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

For the lasagna: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and spinach about 4 minutes. Spread bottom of a 7-by-11-inch casserole with remaining olive oil.

Line dish with one layer of matzo. Top with one-third of spinach mixture, one-third of sauce and 1 tablespoon basil. Repeat layers twice, ending with a layer of sauce. Bake until top is bubbly, about 35 minutes.


Watch the video: How To Master Matzo Lasagna For A Perfect Passover. Epicurious (June 2022).