Passover – New School Style

March 29th, 2010 by Webmaster

Vegan Seder Plate

Vegan Seder Plate

We all know the classic Ten Commandments movie with Charlton Heston, and the lyrics to Swing Low Sweet Chariot. But you may not know what those things have to do with the Jewish holiday Passover. Passover is the Jewish celebration of when God spared the Jews from the curse of the first born and freed them from slavery in Egypt. The traditions behind this 7 day celebration of unleavened bread and freedom have gone on for thousands of years, reminding Jews that God doesn’t approve of oppression and exploitation. So it’s about time we celebrated new school style!

So let’s break it down . . .

Can you really celebrate the end of slavery with eggs and meat on your plate?

The Passover meal and accompanying celebration is called the Sedar. The traditional Sedar plate includes an egg (Beitzah) – some say this represents a sacrifice others say it represents a new beginning. No matter why you have the egg on the plate, there is no disputing that egg laying hens suffer unthinkable cruelty – including intense confinement, debeaking and a short life in ammonia-filled sheds. I like to replace the Beitzah with an avocado. Not only does it replace the egg aesthetically – the seed inside reflects the sentiment behind this place on the plate without contributing to an industry that is completely indifferent to the suffering they profit from.

Of course there is also the roasted shank bone ( Z’roa ) – to represent the lamb who was sacrificed and eaten at the Temple of Jerusalem and also the blood that was used to mark the doors of the Israelites . . . but just like Jews have come to embrace technology like airplanes and running water . . . embracing advancements like more compassionate alternatives to meat truly reflects the spirit behind Passover. I use a piece of TVP for my plate. . . but I’ve heard of people using a beet ( which gets a big thumbs up from the Talmud ). Whatever you use – the facts are that today’s factory farms are hell on Earth for animals and even certified Kosher slaughterhouses have been exposed as being careless and wantonly inhumane, and their by-products are about as far as you can get from a celebration of freedom.

With so many recipe sites that offer vegan alternatives to traditional Passover favorites – it is easier than ever to have a Sedar that reflects the true spirit behind this celebration and what makes this one of my favorite Holidays!

I hope you’ll consider making your Sedar vegan this year. To help, here’s just a few of my favorite recipe sites:

Post Punk Kitchen Forum
Veg Source Passover Menu

And here’s an Old School Passover recipe for the traditionalists :

The Old School Sweet Potato Kugel

  • 6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 3 apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Use a food processor to grate the sweet potatoes and apples. Combine all ingredients together.
Gently press into a baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly crisp on top.