Matzah a no-no: Try a few gluten-free options

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Cooking gluten-free dishes during Passover is a challenge for those with wheat sensitivities — as well as for those who are hosting for people with gluten intolerances.

That’s because traditional matzah and matzah meal are off limits. Ashkenazi traditions prohibiting rice and beans add more restrictions.

One solution is to substitute oat-flour matzah, but it can be hard to find. Try rethinking the menu and choose foods that can be served to all guests. Just be sure any prepared ingredients are gluten free. To meet those mazah cravings, try the dumplings (which look like matzah balls floating in chicken soup) and the lemon bars (a nut base replaces the typical matzah-meal crust).


Chicken-Almond Dumplings

Serves 6-8

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, minced

1 cup finely ground almonds

3 eggs, beaten

1⁄2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup minced parsley

1⁄4 cup potato starch

4 cups chicken stock

4 cups water

3 to 4 quarts hot chicken soup

chopped dill for garnish

Combine chicken, almonds, eggs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, parsley and starch. Mix. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Take 1 Tbs. and shape into balls. Place on oiled baking tray. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Bring 4 cups stock combined with 4 cups water to a simmer in a large pot. Working in batches, poach for 5 minutes after dumplings rise to surface, then remove from liquid. Repeat. Reserve or discard cooking liquid. Serve in prepared chicken soup, sprinkle with dill.


Chicken Vegetable Tagine with Quinoa

Serves 6

2 Tbs. oil

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 11⁄2-inch pieces

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon

1⁄2 tsp. paprika

1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. salt

2 cups peeled sweet potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes

2 carrots, sliced

3 cups peeled eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups chicken stock

3 cups chopped chard

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

3 cups water

Heat oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Brown chicken. Remove to plate. Lower heat to medium high. Add more oil if needed. Sauté onion and garlic until golden. Add cinnamon, paprika, pepper and salt. Stir. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and eggplant. Sauté 3 minutes. Add stock. Bring to a simmer. Add chard and tomatoes. Cover. Cook 10 minutes. Add chicken and accumulated juices. Cook until chicken and vegetables are done.  Place quinoa in pot with water. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Cook on low for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Serve mixture atop quinoa.


Pistachio Lemon Bars

Makes 16 bars

2 cups plus 1⁄4 cup shelled pistachio meats (toasted if raw)

2 egg whites

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. minced lemon zest

3 eggs, beaten

1⁄2 cup sugar

2 Tbs. unsalted melted butter or pareve Pesach margarine

2 Tbs. potato starch

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 8×8 baking pan with foil, with overhang on all sides. Grease foil. Chop 2 cups of pistachios. Mix with egg whites and first 1⁄2 cup sugar. Press into pan. Bake 20 minutes or until puffed and browned.

Mix juice, zest, eggs, 1⁄2 cup sugar, butter and starch. Pour on crust. Bake 20-25 minutes until curd is set. Remove. Cool to room temperature. Chop remaining nuts. Sprinkle on top. Lift by foil, remove foil and cut into bars.

Faith Kramer
is a Bay area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at Contact her at [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].