Passover Side Dishes

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Spring has arrived and, with it, the joy of Passover.

Many cooks are becoming more focused on seasonal eating, and Passover presents an ideal opportunity to feature some early spring ingredients and flavors, which also highlight the renewal and rebirth themes associated with the holiday.

Tradition dictates that most seders feature a main dish protein such as brisket, chicken, fish or lamb. The following side dishes complement virtually all preparations of these dishes.

They are simple and straightforward enough to marry well with a saucy braise, a gravy-laden roast or a spice-rubbed fish, but they are also interesting enough that if a vegetarian guest shows up, he or she will not feel deprived.

These each showcase an early spring vegetable, are kosher for Passover and are pareve.

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Lemony Asparagus

Serves four

This recipe is intended to be served cold as a salad, but if you must have your veggies hot, you can heat it in a microwave or skillet before serving. It is best made a day ahead to allow the flavors to marinate into the asparagus, but if you are in a rush, the recipe still works.

  • 1 pound asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice from one lemon (about 2 teaspoons zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Generous grinding of fresh pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Plunge the asparagus into water and boil it for 2 minutes.

While the asparagus boils, fill a large bowl with ice and water. When the asparagus is finished boiling, drain it and plunge it into the ice water to stop cooking.

In a shallow dish, mix the remaining ingredients with a fork until thoroughly blended.

Place the asparagus into a dish with the dressing, and stir to coat. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Drain the excess dressing before serving.

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Dilly New Potatoes

Serves four

Be sure to get small new potatoes for this recipe; they should be closer to the size of a grape than a golf ball. If you can’t get them smaller than a golf ball, increase the cooking time in the boil to 15 minutes and the roast them for 25 minutes. Test them before serving to ensure that they are cooked through.

  • 1 pound small new potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Generous grinding fresh ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the potatoes. Cook for 10-12 minutes. The potatoes should be soft but still intact and not falling apart.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Drain the potatoes, and place them in a baking dish. Toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, the salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning.

Mix the dill and remaining olive oil in a small measuring cup. Toss it over the cooked potatoes; add more salt and pepper as needed and serve.

Honey Mustard Roasted Baby Carrots

Serves four

These are ideal with true baby carrots — the early spring sprouts that are about 2-3 inches long — not the “baby cut” carrots that come bagged in the supermarket. If you can’t get the real thing, buy the green-topped fully grown carrots and cut them into 3-inch pieces; the flavor will be much better that the precut imposters.

  • 1 pound baby carrots or 1 pound carrots cut in 3-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Generous grinding fresh cracked pepper

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.

Place the carrots in a single layer on the parchment and drizzle with the honey mustard mixture. Toss well to coat evenly.

Roast the carrots for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Balsamic Broccoli

Serves four

This can be served hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Leftovers are great tossed in a salad for lunch or dinner on tomorrow.

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Generous grinding fresh cracked pepper

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment, and heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Toss all the ingredients together and spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

Roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges are beginning to brown.

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