This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. Not only is it low carb, gluten free, and unbelievably delicious, it’s also quick and easy – no breading required!
I posted a similar recipe back in 2012, where I went light and healthy using feta cheese and tomatoes. It’s one of my most popular posts on the blog, and for good reason. It may be dietetic, but it still hits the spot to curb your calorie cravings.
This more authentic version of roasted eggplant parmesan stays true to the cheesy goodness of the original. It’s packed with grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese, but leaves out the frying and breadcrumbs for a guilt-free dish that’s as good as it looks!
With Passover soon approaching, I thought this would be the perfect time to post a gluten free dish that’s just right for the intermediary days of the Chag. If you’re like me and you don’t eat matza pizza, this is the perfect way to enjoy a cheesy dish that’s not gebroks (dishes that allow for matza to absorb liquid). Thankfully, Natural & Kosher parmesan and mozzarella are kosher for Passover so you can prepare this dish without having to search for the afikomen (ie. look very far!). If you’re not a fan of eggplant, read on for other cheesy gluten-free ideas, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your fancy!
Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant (use mini for appetizer, large for entree)
kosher salt, to taste
Natural & Kosher grated parmesan cheese
Natural & Kosher shredded mozzarella
fresh parsley or basil, for garnish (optional)
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and place flesh-side down on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and broil on high on the top rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes (35 for larger eggplant), until skin is charred and the flesh is soft.
Turn the eggplants over and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Top with marinara and shredded mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is bubbly and beginning to crisp up around the edges. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.
The more I’ve been reading through Passover recipe books and surfing through recipes online, I realize just how strict my family’s customs are. On Pesach, we are truly down to the bare basics, using only vegetables that can be peeled and seasoning them simply with oil and salt. We don’t use herbs, spices or any processed ingredients like Kosher for Passover ketchup, brown sugar or sauces. My mom even makes simple syrup to use in place of sugar to sweeten dishes. Matza meal, of course, is out of the question, as we do no eat Gebroks (matza that has absorbed liquid).
Due to our stringent dietary restrictions on Pesach, we tend to make simpler, wholesome dishes that don’t require a lot of ingredients. Basics like mock chopped liver, chremslach, beet salad and orange chicken are staples in our home. When I thought about classic dishes I could reinvent for Passover, I took inspiration from Pommes Anna (also called Anna potatoes), a French dish of sliced, layered potatoes that are minimally seasoned with salt and pepper and brushed liberally with butter. Using traditional Passover ingredients of beets, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes creates a stunning rainbow effect and lends a touch of sweetness to the potato cake.
Rainbow Pommes Anna
2 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 red beets, peeled and thinly sliced
oil, shmaltz, or duck fat
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9″ round baking dish generously with oil and arrange potatoes and beets in layers, overlapping them slightly. When you complete each layer, brush it with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the vegetables with a sheet of greased parchment paper and place a heavy dish or skillet on top of it. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until vegetables are fork-tender. Uncover the vegetables and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the edges are browned and crispy.
To serve, you may cut slices directly from the baking dish, or, run a knife around the potato cake to release around the edges and flip over onto a platter.
VARIATION: Add additional seasonings according to your Passover customs, such as fresh rosemary, thyme, caraway seeds, smoked paprika, minced garlic and/or sauteed onions.
This is going to sound pretty ridiculous considering all the things I learned to make in culinary school, but the humble omelette is what really got me. It wasn’t so much the technique as much as flipping the thing. A well-made omelette is fluffy and moist, so when you’re ready to flip, it’s a jiggly mess. I can’t tell you how many omelettes I went through (actually I can, it was 5) until I was able to flip one properly on omelette day.
You can’t begin to imagine what the kitchen looked like after Hurricane Omelette came through. Even Chef Wiseman’s shoes were covered in scrambled eggs. The stovetop was a complete disaster, with bits and pieces of sticky eggs stuck to every crevice. And guess which lucky individual was assigned to clean it all? That would be ME. Miss-goofed-up-with-5-omelettes-till-she-got-it-right. Nisht gut.
I was determined to get that flipping action down, so for the next couple of days, my husband woke up to a fluffy 3-egg omelette for breakfast, and my kids got their choice of quesadillas for dinner. I was flippin’ paper clips, candy, and yes, I was flipping myself…out.
By the time our practical test came at the end of the semester, my omelette was spot on. I flipped it on the first try. Couldn’t be better. I wish you could have seen the smile on my face when I put that fluffy omelette on the plate. Priceless.
But I’ll share a little secret with you all. I’m not above another omelette flipping disaster. When I went to flip the dessert omelette in the photo, the yolk splattered all over me. I was covered in Passover nut omelette batter. Nisht gut.
So now that I’ve shared my omelette hall of shame, I’d be happy to share some secrets to making the perfect fluffy American omelette (French omelettes are creamier and are not browned or flipped).
#1 Add a splash of milk to your eggs and season with salt and pepper.
#2 Whisk the mixture well to incorporate some air into the batter.
#3 Make sure your nonstick pan is greased and hot so you get a nice brown finish on the egg.
#4 As soon as your batter hits the pan, stir with a spatula from the inside out and quickly scrape down the sides. Repeat several times until the omelette is beginning to set.
#5 Sneak some butter or oil under the edge of the omelette and shake the pan to see if the omelette can slide. If not, add a bit more fat and test again. Once you are sure the omelette can slide on the pan, you’re ready to flip.
#6. Slide the omelette towards the sloped end of the pan and FLIP. Try not to get egg batter all over your face.
#7 This is where you would add your fillings of choice.
#8 Fold the omelette by one third, starting from the right side.
#9 Turn the pan towards you [like how someone might stab themselves (thanks to The Wise Man for that awful metaphor!)] and flip the pan over onto a plate, so that it sits seam-side-down.
#10 Garnish with fresh herbs or your garnish of choice.
The process sounds long, but it shouldn’t take more than 1 1/2-2 minutes total, from start to finish.
Now that I’ve given you some tips on making the perfect omelette, lets talk a little bit about nut omelettes. Huh? Yes, I said nut omelettes. Why would anyone want to eat a sweet omelette? Well, they might be on a strict no-carb diet. Or, it might be Passover, and they might not be fond of eating chocolate cake made out of potato starch for breakfast.
When I was growing up, my mom would scramble up this sweet nut omelette batter for us whenever we felt sick of the heavy Pesach food (which was pretty often). Last year, I even managed to convince my toddler that they were pancakes (she hates eggs!) and she gobbled them down.
So before you make a face at having a sweet omelette for breakfast, just imagine that you’re almost having a crepe – only fluffier. And you get to skip all the crepe-making. Which is a lot harder than it looks BTW. I should know, I went through a LOT of them on breakfast day. Nisht gut.
For more Passover dessert ideas, check out the Kosher Connection Link-Up below!
2 tbsp milk (use almond milk for nondairy, or omit if you must)
1/4 cup ground walnuts (or your nut of choice)
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
raspberry jam (or your favorite jam), optional, for filling
fresh fruit, optional, for garnish
Whisk together the eggs, milk, nuts, sugar and salt until fluffy. Pour dessert omelette batter into a hot nonstick frying pan that’s been greased. Working quickly, continuously stir the eggs, scraping down the sides as you go. When the eggs looks like they’re starting to set, shake the pan to see if the omelette can slide around. If it’s stuck, sneak some butter or oil underneath, going all around the edges until it’s able to slide easily. Slide the omelette towards to sloped edge of the pan and flip it over. If desired, spread some jam in the center of the omelette and fold it in thirds. Roll it on to a plate, seam side down. Garnish with fresh fruit.
There is so much I love about this cookbook that I don’t quite know where to start! So I’ll start at the beginning.
When you first set your eyes on Passover Made Easy, you’ll be struck by it’s beautiful design and styling. Rachel Adler did an impressive job laying out this cookbook with brilliant coloring, masterful layout, and gorgeous typography. I am literally blown away.
Aside from the graphics, the photographs and styling are also impeccable. As a blogger who photographs and styles her dishes, I can tell you firsthand that many, if not most, of the dishes in this cookbook are extremely difficult to photograph. And so many Pesach recipes lack eye-appeal. But not only have the dishes been masterfully plated, the authors also include many step-by-step plating guides to help you serve the dishes as beautifully as they are pictured.
Passover Made Easy is the brainchild of an unlikely pairing – Leah Schapira, the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking and co-founder of CookKosher.com, as well as Victoria Dwek, the managing editor of Whisk Magazine. Leah is Ashkenazi, with Hungarian roots, while Victoria is Sephardi, with Syrian roots. How an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi came together to write a successful Passover cookbook is nothing short of a Pesach miracle. Leah and Victoria each offer their own unique perspective, striking the perfect balance of grebroks and non-gebroks recipes. The authors guide you along page after page in a playful and friendly manner. You almost feel as if you’re hanging out with them in the kitchen. Victoria shares her recipes for Syrian Charoset, tortillas, Matzaroni and Cheese, as well as many non-grebroks dishes. Leah offers up unique and tasty dishes like Meatballs in Blueberry Sauce, Roasted Tomato & Eggplant Soup, Apple-Jam Chicken Drumettes, and so much more.
Some of the other features that I enjoyed from this cookbook are the wine pairings and building block recipes like mayo, crepes, and Passover crumbs. There is also a nifty replacement index that helps guide those who avoid using processed ingredients and peels on Pesach. While the guide is helpful, I wish there were a few more recipes suited for the more stringent among us (me included!)
While I am unable to make most of these recipes on Passover, I look forward to trying many recipes throughout the year including the Mock Techineh (for my brother who is allergic to sesame seeds!), Butternut Squash Salad with Sugar ‘n Spice Nuts, Braised Short Ribs, Jalapeno-Lime & Ginger Salmon, Stuffed Onions, Vegetable Lo Mein (for my dieting days!), Espresso Macaroons with Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream, and Truffled Grapes.
Busy In Brooklyn is giving a copy of Passover Made Easy! To enter the giveaway, you must:
1. Share you favorite Passover memory in the comments below.
2. Like Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook.
Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, March 18th, 9:00 AM.
BONUS RECIPES FROM PASSOVER MADE EASY:
Eggplant Wrapped Chicken
1 tall eggplant
1/2 cup oil
1/4 tsp salt
pinch coarse black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 tsp salt
pinch coarse black pepper
1. Preheat oven to broil. Grease a baking sheet. Cut eggplants lengthwise, 1/4″ thick to get 6 or 7 slices. Reserve remaining eggplant scraps. Place eggplant slices on prepared baking sheet. Brush slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes per side, until second side is beginning to brown. The slices should appear as if they were fried. Remove and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Peel and finely dice remaining eggplant to obtain 1/2 cup diced eggplant. Heat oil a in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and diced eggplant and saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, combine onion mixture with ground meat. Season with salt and garlic powder.
5. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper Place a tabslepoon of the meat mixture into each thigh and roll up to lose. Roll a eggplant slice around each stuffed chicken thigh. Place, seam side down and close together, in a baking pan. Cover and bake for 2 1/2 hours.
3 garlic cloves or 1/4 onion
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch black pepper
3 cups oil
1. In a bowl of a food processor or in a blender, blend garlic, lemon juice and eggs.
2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream.
3. Blend until thoroughly combined and mayonnaise is emulsified. Do no over-mix. When the mayonnaise is thick and holds together, it’s done. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.
The immersion blender method:
Add oil to a tall jar (you can use the one that comes with the blender). Add garlic, lemon juice, eggs, salt and pepper. Insert the immersion blender and blend, without moving the blender, for 2 minutes. When the mixture begins to thicken, move the immersion blender up and down until mayonnaise is emulsified.
The concept of a Passover without potatoes has been a long time in coming. I’m so glad that Aviva Kanoff has embraced it in her cookbook, The No-Potato Passover. Aviva takes us on a journey of food, travel and color, allowing us to think outside the spud with her internationally-inspired menus. Her recipes span the globe, from Jamaica to Morocco, Croatia to Hungary, and so many places in between. As an avid traveler, Ms. Kanoff takes us along on her travels through colorful pictures and unique recipes that are great for Pesach and all year long. With recipes like pesto chicken “pasta” and eggplant “lasagna” and desserts like chocolate chip biscotti and hazelnut cream cookies, you’ll almost forget you’re on the Passover diet!
Instead of the traditional carb-laden Pesach fare we are used to having, The No-Potato Passover cookbook focuses on healthy options, making use of quinoa, spaghetti squash, parsnips and other creative ingredients to give you original dishes that you will relish and enjoy. While Aviva’s recipes leave me truly inspired, I am personally unable to make most of them on Pesach due to my family’s dietary customs. Still, I look forward to making some of dishes throughout the year, including her heirloom tomato salad with honey basil vinaigrette, roasted garlic soup with flanken, stuffed zucchini blossoms, southwestern sweet ‘n spicy meatballs, strawberry glazed chicken, salmon croquettes with wild mushroom sauce, and coconut cream pie in a macaroon crust.
While The No-Potato Passover Cookbook is filled with colorful & vibrant imagery, I don’t feel that the design is up to par with today’s sophisticated & modern cookbooks. That aside, I think the recipes are truly unique and delicious. Many make use of hard-to-find Passover ingredients (like imitation soy sauce or mustard), however, they are easily adaptable during the year using readily-available ingredients.
The No-Potato Passover cookbook is the winner of The Gourmand Award for the Best Jewish Cuisine in 2012. It has been newly revised and edited just in time for Passover 2013.
As my Passover gift to you, Busy In Brooklyn is giving away a free copy of The No-Potato Passover Cookbook! To enter the giveaway, you must:
1. Share you favorite Passover recipe in the comments below.
2. Follow Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook.
Winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, March 13th at 10:00 PM.
FREE SAMPLE RECIPES FROM THE NO-POTATO PASSOVER COOKBOOK:
POACHED PEACH & CHICKEN SALAD
reprinted with permission from THE NO-POTATO PASSOVER by Aviva Kanoff
(February 2013, Hardcover, $29.99)
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt & ground black pepper
2 peaches (12 oz. total), halved & pitted
4½ tsp. olive oil
4 cups baby greens
1. Prepare a medium gas or charcoal grill fire. (Note: If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the chicken in a sauté pan in its marinade.)
2. Combine vinegar and thyme in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, syrupy, and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6-9 minutes.
4. Cook peaches in the syrup for 2 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat, discard the thyme sprigs, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
5. Season chicken and grill or sauté in a pan until cooked.
6. In a medium bowl, toss the baby greens with the remaining 2½ tsp. oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter.
7. Top with the chicken and peaches. Drizzle with about 2 tbsp. of the reduced balsamic, adding more to taste. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining juice from chicken and peaches.
Tip: Substitute chicken with 1/4 cup feta cheese for a dairy meal.
CABBAGE SOUP WITH MATZOH MEATBALLS
reprinted with permission from THE NO-POTATO PASSOVER by Aviva Kanoff
(February 2013, Hardcover, $29.99)
½ cup matzo meal
½ lb. ground beef
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1. Sauté onion and garlic in canola oil until brown.
2. Add sugar and caramelize.
3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
4. Let boil for 30 minutes and then simmer.
5. While the soup is boiling, mix all ingredients for the matzo meatballs.
6. Form into balls, then add the matzo meatballs to the boiling soup. Cook for 20 minutes.