Our Guide To Passover Dinner Perfection

By Carolyn Stine April 15, 2019 

I’m the Passover host with the most… on my plate. Help!

Whether you’ve been commemorating the Passover holiday since childhood or are new to the celebration, Passover is a momentous occasion in the Jewish faith. Not only is the religious significance and meaning great, but it’s truly a holiday that is centered around bringing loved ones together, sharing a meal, and breaking (unleavened) bread with one another. It doesn’t matter if this is your first or one hundredth Passover - it’s a multicourse meal with a food-based ritual component that can be daunting for any host or hostess. So Bashed is here to tackle the dinner portion of the celebration via planning, menu inspiration, and execution tactics. Consider this the ground zero of Passover prep, people. So uncork the manischewitz, gather the matzoh, and get ready to host a Passover dinner that is both meaningful and delicious, surrounded by the ones you love.

Perfect Passover Meal Plan | Bashed
Lily Diamond | Kale & Caramel

The Seder Plate

The seder, or the ceremony associated with Passover, is centered around the seder plate, which is a visual manifestation of Passover storytelling. We’ve outlined the key ingredients on the seder plate, so you’re prepped and ready to make a shopping list and hit the ground running. And don’t forget to have plenty of matzoh on the side.

  • Beitzah - This is the whole, roasted egg that rests on the seder plate and symbolizes rebirth. Many people use a hard-boiled egg as a substitute for roasting.
  • Maror - Also known as the bitter herb, maror is represented on the seder plate as horseradish.
  • Z’roa - This is a literal lamb shank bone, but can be substituted for other interpretations if a lamb shank is not at your immediate disposal. We attended a seder once that used a mini dog bone on the plate as a whimsical touch.
  • Karpas - Also known as the spring greens, karpas is often represented by sprigs of fresh parsley.
  • Charoset - This divine and delectable mixture of apples, walnuts, honey, and spices is meant to represent the clay from which the Israelites made bricks and mortar in Egypt. Check out our favorite charoset recipe here!
  • Chazeret - This is a leaf of romaine lettuce that is paired with matzoh for a tasty seder ritual.

Main Courses

Unlike the seder plate, which is a strictly defined and laid out set of ingredients, the main course at Passover dinner often varies from household to household.

Many Passover feasts will serve a course of matzoh ball soup in between the seder ritual and main entree, which is one of our personal favorite dishes. This recipe is our go-to and is highly delicious.

Brisket is a popular and well-known main course that we love because it is hearty, great for feeding a crowd, and large format, which makes cooking for a group more effortless.

If red meat is not in the cards, then a simple, classic roast chicken is the ultimate crowd-pleaser (plus… leftovers). This roast chicken is infused with lemon and garlic, and guests of all ages will be licking their fingers.

Sides

In a meal that is not incredibly heavy on the veggies, the side dishes that you serve alongside the main course are the perfect place to insert some healthified options. We love looking to seasonal, springtime produce to guide our decisions on what to bring to the table.

These brown butter radishes are a rich twist on a crunchy springtime staple.

A crisp, crunchy cabbage and kohlrabi salad has a bright lemon maple dressing that you’re sure to use on all of your salads going forward.

We love fresh dill atop absolutely everything, but when paired with these baby carrots it is absolute perfection.

Bashed Passover Guide
Baked Bree

Desserts

Even though the Passover meal is a marathon not a sprint in terms of eating, you know that your guests have saved room for dessert. The challenge with serving dessert at Passover is that traditionally, any food made with wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt that has come into contact with water and been allowed to ferment and rise (called chametz) cannot be consumed (hence, the matzoh bread), so classic baked goods pretty much go out the window. But never fear, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite sweet treats that fit the Passover bill and won’t have you missing the chocolate cake.

These coconut macaroons are a cinch to make, and are a light and airy finish to the meal.

Incorporating matzoh into a candy-like dessert is always a crowd-pleaser, and this salted toffee matzoh bark can be broken up into bite size pieces so guests can help themselves to a lot or a little.

Speaking of matzoh, if you’re looking to make a show stopping dessert, we cannot recommend this matzoh icebox cake more highly. It’s layered with whipped cream and chocolate ganache for the most decadent flavors and texture.

Drinks

The beverage situation is another of the more challenging aspects of hosting a Passover dinner, as the chametz restriction also applies to alcohols. This eliminates bourbon, rye, Irish whiskey, and scotch, as well as vodka or gin that has a base made from wheat (yup, beer is out too).

We recommend having grape juice or sparkling wine out for any kiddos or non-drinkers in the crowd, and Manischewitz is a must for the ceremonial portion of the evening. During the main course and dessert, we like to stick to serving wine for guests (have a favorite white and red on hand) in order to avoid any potential chametz conflicts.

Food Sensitivities

We all know as a host or hostess that we often have guests attending our festivities that may have food sensitivities, allergies, or preferences. Never fear, as long as you ask in advance, there is nothing that you cannot accommodate for your Passover dinner.

For your gluten-free guests, GF matzoh is readily available, so we always recommend having a box on hand for the celebration. The matzoh ball soup can easily be made with GF matzoh meal, and the mains and sides are often naturally gluten-free. Plus, those coconut macaroons we recommended earlier? Yup, those are gluten-free as well. This is another great resource for GF Passover recipes.

For your vegan guests, this can be tricky but by no means impossible! Egg-free matzoh is readily available, and you can make the charoset for your seder plate with agave instead of honey to make it vegan. Think about the sides you’re serving alongside a meat main course, and tweak those so that vegan guests can make a delicious meal out of those veggies. This is another great resource for vegan Passover recipes.

For your vegetarian guests, almost all of the items on our menu fit the bill, with the exception of the matzoh ball soup and main meat courses. This is a great resource for making a fully vegetarian seder plate as well (and it happens to be visually stunning too!).

Whether you’ve hosted, attended, or you’re planning to host a Passover seder of your own, share your story in the comments below!

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Carolyn Stine

A party without cake is just a meeting.

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