Healthy eating on any holiday is a challenge, but there's something about Passover and the havoc it wreaks on our regular habits that makes healthy eating seem downright impossible.
But Passover does not have to be a nutritional challenge.
Start eating healthy this Passover with the following recipes from EnLitened Kosher Cooking, [http://www.jewishdiabetes.org/] a cookbook with more than 250 recipes, including healthy versions of traditional foods like gefilte fish, cholent and chopped liver and sections on soups, salads, and healthy baking.
Low Carb Gefilte Fish
Carb Free, Low Fat / Yield: 12 servings
Don't keep this dish only for the Sabbath and/or holidays. This tastes just as good as the high-carb version and it's almost "free" for any meal or snack.
1 medium onion, peeled
1/2 small carrot, peeled
1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites
1 pound ground fish (carp, pike, whitefish, or a combination)
sugar substitute equal to 1/2 cup sugar, divided
salt and white pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons cold water, added by drops
almonds, finely ground (optional)
For fish stock:
fish bones and head (this is what makes the stock gel)
sugar substitute equal to 1/4 cup sugar
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise (see Tip on p. 42)
1 green pepper, seeded
2 celery stalks
1/2 small carrot, peeled
2 quarts water
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
salt to taste
Place fish bones and head in a 6-quart pot. Cut green pepper, celery and carrot into large slices and add. Then add leeks, garlic and salt. Fill pot half full with water and bring to a boil.
To make the fish, put onion, carrot and eggs in a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth. Add to ground fish, along with sugar substitute and seasonings. Mix, preferably with an electric mixer. Add drops of cold water and continue beating for a few more minutes until the mixture holds together well. There is no need to add matzo meal or breadcrumbs. If the mixture seems too loose, add finely ground almonds, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix between additions, and stop once it holds together nicely. When using carp alone, you won't need any almonds. When combining different fish, the consistency may be looser and then you may need to add 1-3 tablespoons.
With wet hands, form mixture into medium balls and drop into the boiling stock, making sure they are covered. Add water if necessary.
Cover pot, lower heat and cook for 11/2 hours. Check every 15 minutes or so to make sure that there is at least 1-2 cups of liquid, adding water if necessary.
Cool. Remove fish and carrot with a slotted spoon and put in a container. Cover with the cooled liquid or place liquid in a separate container for garnish when serving. The fish stock will gel.
Serve fish with a slice of carrot and horseradish, and/or with any dip in this book (see pp. 118-121). Dips can be served in a scooped-out cucumber cup.
Carb Free, Low Fat / Yield: 6 servings
All organ meats are high in natural cholesterol. Therefore, you should check with your health-care team in order to determine how much and how often you can eat these dishes.
1 tablespoon olive oil
non-stick cooking spray
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 pound broiled chicken livers*
1 hard-boiled egg plus 2 hardboiled egg whites
salt and pepper to taste
chicken soup, as needed
In a skillet, over low heat, sauté the onion and garlic in oil and non-stick spray for about 30 minutes.
Grind this together with the liver and eggs in a food processor.
If liver is too thick, add chicken soup with the fat skimmed off.
Season with salt and pepper.
To salt or not to salt? Kosher meat and poultry has been salted in the kashering process and therefore already contains salt. Keep this in mind when adding salt to your meat dishes.
*Healthy rule of thumb is one liver per person
Low Carb Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles
Low Carb, Low Fat (with bones only: Fat Free)
Yields: 12 servings
This is a low-carb version of the same great chicken soup classic that you are used to but not loaded with vegetables.
To follow are some great EnLITEned traditional accompaniments!
1 chicken, cut up with the skin removed, and/or 2 packages of chicken bones
2 large turkey necks
2 carrots, peeled and halved
1 onion, peeled
2 leeks (see Tip on p. 42)
3 small zucchini, whole (see Tip on p. 47)
2 stalks celery
1 (8-ounce) piece of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoon chicken soup powder (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
fresh dill & parsley sprigs
kohlrabi, parsnip, celery root, green and red peppers
Use the first method listed earlier for cleaning poultry/meat dishes (see p. 39), but include the vegetables in the first boil. Now most of the carbs will be in the discarded water. (For those who cannot give up on carrots, sweet potatoes, etc., boil them in a separate pot for 10 minutes, discard the water and add the semi cooked vegetables to the soup.) Return the chicken/bones/necks and vegetables, except for the zucchini, to the pot, add herbs and spices, and cover with cold water plus 3 cups. Bring to a boil. Lower the flame to simmer. Add the zucchini and cook covered over medium low heat for about 2 hours.
Note: You might want to put the greens, onion and leeks in a flow-through muslin bag to keep the pieces from getting into the soup, and to make for easy disposal.
Passover Blintzes (Crepes) and "Noodles"
Carb Free, Low Fat / Yield: 12 crepes or 2 cups noodles
These marvelous crepes are great on Passover and all year round. Once you get the hang of it, they really are easy to make. You can also use this recipe to make kosher for Passover noodles.
7 eggs plus 7 egg whites
11/2 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 cup water, divided
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or walnut oil for sweet blintzes)
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste
Beat eggs and egg whites together with salt and set aside. Mix potato starch with part of the water to form a smooth paste. Add the rest of the water and beaten eggs and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well again. (A blender or food processor is handy for mixing the batter, but be careful to mix just until blended. Over mixing will create a foam that must be removed, or it will affect the texture of the finished crepes.) Transfer batter to a pitcher that is wide enough to allow mixing.
Heat olive oil and non-stick spray in an 8- inch, non-stick frying pan. Pour off extra oil into a dish. Keep a paper towel in this dish to use for wiping the pan after every few crepes (this helps keep the amount of oil needed down to a minimum), or spray with non-stick cooking spray. When the pan is hot, lower the heat to medium and pour in 1/4 – 1/2 cup of batter. Tilt pan to cover the bottom and pour any extra batter back into the pitcher. This will ensure very thin blintzes. As soon as the batter is firm, loosen the edges and turn over onto a dish towel or slightly greased piece of aluminum foil. Then return it to the pan to cook on the other side. (You can flip it with a spatula, but most people find it easier to turn it out and then return it to the frying pan.) Cook on the second side for no more than a few seconds and remove to a towel. Before making the next crepe, mix batter with a fork in order to blend in any potato starch that settles. Unless you're a real pro, the first 1 or 2 blintzes will probably not come out easily and will tear.
When blintzes are cool, roll up a few at a time and slice into ultra-thin strips. For smaller noodles, slice down the length as well. Allow noodles to dry a bit and then store in an airtight container or plastic bags. These freeze well.
For crepes (blintzes):
Use the filling of your choice (see next page) and either fold the crepe around it blintz-style (like an envelope) or roll up. The unfilled crepes freeze well, either stacked or in layers divided by wax paper.
You can certainly use the standard mashed-potato filling, but if you want a lower carb count and something more interesting, here are a few suggestions: Low-carb potato:
Mix equal amounts of cooked potato with cooked cauliflower and some fried onions. Add salt to taste.
Mix ground meat and/or chicken with fried onions and seasoning.
Grate apples; add sugar substitute, cinnamon and ground nuts.
Beat 1 egg white just until shiny and starting to stiffen. Add ground nuts to form a paste. Add sugar substitute, cinnamon (optional) and juice from half a lemon.
Mix farmer cheese with 1 beaten egg white, sugar substitute, cinnamon and vanilla flavoring.
If you're cooking for a crowd and want to save time, use a large frying pan and make extra-large crepes. Pile up cooled crepes, slicing off the sides to use for noodles. You will be left with nice-sized rectangles that can be used for folded blintzes.
Luscious Lemon Ice Cream
Low Carb, Low Fat / Yield: 8 servings
We recommend using pasteurized egg whites in dishes that are not cooked. In the lemon flavored version the lemon juice helps neutralize any germs that might be found in the egg whites. For those that prefer the eggs can be omitted and flavorings mixed with the beaten whip.
1 (4-ounce) container light whipped topping*
4 egg whites
2 eggs, separated
sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
Beat whipped topping until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites together with half of sugar substitute. In another bowl, beat egg yolks with other half of sugar substitute. When thick, fold in lemon juice. Fold all 3 mixtures together until well-blended. Freeze.
For a delectable pistachio-flavored ice cream, omit the lemon juice and add 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1/3 cup chopped pistachios, and 2-3 drops of green food coloring.
Omit lemon juice and add 2 tablespoons coffee, dissolved with a few drops of boiling water and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
*Light whip may not be available for Passover. With regular whip the nutrition facts will be a bit higher