One of the oldest holidays, Passover is also among the most sacred in the Jewish community. The weeklong event involves many important rituals, but none is as celebrated as the traditional Passover meal, known as the seder (from the Hebrew word for “order”), which is centered on several symbolic foods. Passover is a celebration of the story of the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt, and the very first references to the holiday appear in the Hebrew Bible’s books of Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Exodus, among others. During the journey, it is said that the Israelites fled from Egypt and didn’t have time to allow for bread to actually rise—which is why matzo, an unleavened flatbread, has become a staple of the Passover holiday.
When you’re preparing a seder, you’ll need to swap leavened bread for matzo and follow customary kosher guidelines. But these dietary guidelines don’t mean making sacrifices in terms of flavor, as the recipes in this collection show. Other staples of Passover include haroset, a mixture of apples or other fruit together with nuts, and spices usually served as a condiment. Its texture evokes the bricks and mortar used by the Israelites and the dish signifies both the hardships of slavery and the sweetness of liberation. Another essential element of the seder table is the bitter herb which symbolizes the bitterness of slavery on the seder plate. In the Sephardic (or Mediterranean) Jewish tradition, the bitter herb can also be an assertive leaf like dandelion greens, perhaps served as a salad. And there’s a sweet ending to the seder, courtesy of unleavened cakes and other Passover desserts.
Here, we’re sharing our favorite Passover recipes, and they’re sure to make for delicious, memorable seders with your loved ones.