This tasty vegan matzo gratin, with layers of spinach, potato, and a creamy cashew-avocado blend, is a perfect plant-based Passover main dish.
This is a riff on the layered matzo casseroles, called minas, that are a traditionally served as part of Sephardic Passover Seders. Consisting of layered matzos and vegetables, you can almost think of them as matzo lasagnas.
To keep this chametz-free, this gratin’s creamy layer is made with cashews and avocado. You can use the optional vegan Daiya cheese (based on tapioca, which isn’t chametz) if you’re fine with it being Kosher rather than Kosher for Passover. If you adhere strictly, simply omit this ingredient, it’s good without it, too.
But whether you use cheese or not, this dish is a tradition well worth adopting for the vegan Passover Seder. Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com. Photos originally appeared on VegKitchen.com.
- 8 medium potatoes
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into large chunks
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped (or use leeks, see variation)
- 10 to 12 ounces baby spinach, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 cup matzo meal or quinoa flakes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 6 matzos
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups Daiya cheese shreds, any variety, optional (see Note)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped cashews for topping, optional
- Cook, bake, or microwave the potatoes in their skins until just tender. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Cover the cashews with 1 cup of boiling water in a heatproof bowl and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Drain the cashews, then combine with the avocado and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed; drizzle enough water through the feed tube while the processor is running to give the mixture a thick, creamy texture.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the leeks and sauté over medium-low heat until golden. Add the spinach in batches, covering and cooking until wilted to make room for all of it. Stir in the cashew cream, dill, and matzo meal. Season with salt and pepper.
- Break each matzo in half, and place in a shallow container. Cover with room-temperature water in a shallow container until slightly pliable (don’t let them get mushy!), about 2 minutes; drain.
- Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish. Layer the casserole as follows: line the bottom with a layer of matzos, using two matzos per layer. Follow with a layer of potato slices, half of the spinach mixture, half of the optional cheese, and another layer of matzos.
- Add remaining spinach mixture and potato slices. Top with another layer of matzo, followed by the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is well melted. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into squares to serve.
Note: Using Daiya cheese (which is made from tapioca flour), should be fine for Ashkenazic Passover, if you aren’t concerned that this product isn’t specifically Kosher for Passover.
Use 2 large or 3 medium leeks, white and palest green parts only, in place of onions. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice into approximately 1/4 inch half-rings. Rinse very well in a colander to remove all grit! Then proceed with step 4.
Use other vegetables in addition to, or instead of the spinach. Finely chopped broccoli and/or asparagus would work well.
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