Since I'm planning to host Frances Hollander, one of our Living Witnesses of the World War II era, for the amazing occasion of Shabbat and the first Seder of Passover, I knew I couldn't get away without matzo ball soup! So here is a recipe for a nice vegetable soup made special--and Jewish--with matzo balls. If you're not vegan you could use a standard matzo ball recipe. And if you're gluten free, you're in luck, as there is a GF variation of the vegan matzo balls recipe!
Serves: 8 to 10
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 large or 3 medium leeks, white and palest green parts only,
halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 celery root,peeled and finely diced
3 medium carrots, finely diced
3 medium celery stalks, finely diced
1 medium turnip, diced
1 medium rutabaga, diced
8 ounces white or brown mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
8 cups home made vegetable broth (or 2 qt pkts vegetable broth)
4 medium tomatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tsp paprika
2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
A few springs of mint
Vegan Matzo Balls (see below)
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the shallot and leeks and sauté over medium heat until the leeks are limp (about 10 minutes).
Add the celery root, carrots, celery, turnips, and mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not overcooked.
Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Resting during seder will allow the soup to gain in flavour.
Just before serving, add the paprika, dill and mint and heat the soup through. Add more water or vegetable broth if needed, then adjust the seasonings. Serve with Vegan Matzo Balls.
Vegan Matzo Balls
Most vegan matzo ball recipes use silken tofu; I picked this one because it used quinoa flakes instead. I decided to use whole wheat matzo meal for health and taste. And I added turmeric to replace the golden colour of egg yolk and because it's healthy. I've had disasters boiling vegan matzo balls, they just fall apart in the water. So I loved Nava's idea of baking them instead. They hydrated and became larger in the soup. Not really like Granny Pearl's fluffy matzo balls, but not like bullets either. I did a trial run this shabbat in preparation for Pesach and Sadananda and Frances did appreciate these vegan matzo balls.
Matzo balls are shaped and ready to bake; I used Ancient Harvest quinoa flakes and Whole Wheat Matzo Meal
Makes: About 24
1 cup quinoa flakes
2 cups boiling water
1 cup whole wheat matzo meal (or 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes for a gluten-free version)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup sunflower oil
In a large mixing bowl, cover the quinoa flakes with the water. Let stand for 2 or 3 minutes.
Stir in the matzo meal (or additional quinoa flakes for GF), salt, pepper, turmeric, onion powder, and oil. Mix until well blended. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Just before baking, preheat the oven to 275º F.
Roll the matzo meal mixture into approximately 1-inch balls; don't pack them too firmly. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (more like 30 min for whole wheat), carefully turning the matzo balls after 10 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch; don't let them brown.
If making ahead of time, let the matzo balls cool completely, then cover until needed. Warm them briefly in a medium-hot oven and distribute them among the soup bowls, allowing 3 or 4 matzo balls per serving.
Note: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes are kosher (carry a hexure). They don't need a special kashrut for pesach because they are not a grain at all. I used Manischiewitz 'kosher for passover' matzo meal.
Adapted slightly from Veg Kitchen Vegan Matzo Balls
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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