Lighten Up Passover Meals With Salads

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One of the biggest problems with the week of Pesach is that so much of the food is heavy. Eggs, oil, matzah meal and meat — lots and lots of meat and chicken and then maybe some more meat.

Sometimes all you want is a little bit of nothing to fill in the times between the gigantor meals or to serve with the gigantor meals.

Enter the salad.

I’m not talking about opening a bag of prepacked greens and drizzling on some prepackaged dressing here. I’m saying I have some knockout fabulous recipes for you to whip up. They are terrific, and it’s not an accident that they just happen to be kosher for Pesach. They stand on their own as a quick snack, can be served at a meat or dairy meal and are so good that you can serve them year around.

Oh, and there’s no matzah in any of the recipes. Nada, zero, zip, none and I do mean less than none so that anyone, like me, who thinks that eating matzah is akin to munching on cardboard can rejoice.

Just in case you want to serve a dairy meal during the week, the addition of cheese to some of these salads adds protein and a nice smooth taste. I have added a dairy suggestion at the end of each recipe if applicable.

Note that there should be extra care taken with examining vegetables, salad greens and spinach for bugs at all times.

Spinach and Mango Pepper Salad | Pareve

Serves eight

  • 2 ripe avocados, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 2 ripe mangoes, cubed
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into slivers
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves

In a bowl, combine the avocado cubes with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Add the mango, jalapeno and salt and mix to combine. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice, the zest, sugar and parsley in a large bowl. Whisk in the oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add bell peppers and spinach and toss to combine. Serve in a large bowl or on individual plates.

Note: You can add shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella.

Avocado, Onion and Hearts of Palm Salad | Pareve

Serves eight

  • 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained, sliced into rounds
  • 4 ripe avocadoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • ½ to 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Bibb or red leaf lettuce leaves, shredded
  • Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup oil

Place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. You can also put the ingredients in a container with a tight lid and shake it to combine. Set the dressing aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the hearts of palm, avocado and red onions. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Divide the lettuce between eight plates, and mound the hearts of palm mixture on top. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and serve

Note: You can add shredded or grated Parmesan or mozzarella.

Apple and Asparagus Salad | Pareve

Serves eight

  • 40 asparagus stalks, ends trimmed cut in half
  • 2 tablespoon plus ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Mixed salad greens
  • 2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the asparagus pieces on a cookie sheet with sides and drizzle the 2 tablespoons of oil over the top. Sprinkle the kosher salt and pepper over the top. Roast the asparagus just until it’s starting to wilt, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

In a bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, oil and garlic. Whisk to combine, and then add the chopped parsley. Whisk to combine again and taste, adjusting the sweetness and salt levels to your preference. Add the apple pieces and mix to coat.

Divide the salad greens between eight plates. Divide the asparagus pieces between the plates and mound them on top of the greens. Spoon the apple dressing over the top of the asparagus and on the greens. Top with the toasted walnuts and serve.

Olive Salad | Pareve

Serves eight

You don’t need to add salt as the olives are salty enough without adding more.

  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup sliced pimiento stuffed green olives, sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onions
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 3 to 4 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 to 5 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped tomato, garnish

Place the black and green olives and olive oil, sugar, red onion, celery, parsley and pepper in a bowl. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The olive mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days).

Divide the spinach between eight plates. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive mixture and top with chopped tomatoes. There will be more than enough olive mixture for this salad. It’s also great on Pesach rolls and matzah.

Note: You can add shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella.

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