Veggie-stuffed matzah balls. (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Veggie-stuffed matzah balls. (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Matzah balls bursting with veggies and salmon topped with haroset

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At holiday dinners, most people look forward to traditional favorites, but I find there is room to tweak the menu to introduce variations and new recipes. So for this Passover, I am adding carrots, zucchini, fennel, green onions and garlic to my matzah balls for flavor and color, and renaming them “Eat Your Veggies Matzah Balls.” (Adjust garlic to taste, but know that the soup will mellow the garlic’s punch.)

The salmon fillets, topped with a haroset reminiscent of the Ashkenazi Pesach staple, make for a light main course. Both recipes can be multiplied.

Passover begins April 15 this year.

Eat Your Veggies Matzah Balls

Makes about 20

  • ½ cup diced carrots (⅛-inch pieces)
  • ½ cup diced zucchini (⅛-inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup diced fennel or celery (⅛-inch pieces)
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped green onions
  • ½ to 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup matzah meal
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper

Place carrots, zucchini, fennel, green onions and garlic (use less for a milder matzah ball) in a large bowl. Stir in eggs. Add matzah meal, oil, water, salt and pepper and mix well until combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

When ready to form, bring one or two large pots of salted water to a boil. Rinse hands with cold water. Roll batter into 1-inch balls. If batter sticks to hands, rinse again in cold water. For tender, fluffier balls, roll only until just compressed and rounded and cook in 2 pots or in 2 batches. (If batter is too loose, add more matzah meal and or refrigerate longer.) Add matzah balls to boiling water, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, turning once or twice while they cook. Check for doneness by slicing one open. There should be no raw spots.

Remove with slotted spoon. Place on wire rack over rimmed baking sheet to drain. They are now ready to use with the soup of your choice.

To make in advance and refrigerate, place in airtight container with layers separated by wax paper. If freezing, place single layer on baking sheet; once frozen, transfer them to airtight container or plastic bag. Bring to room temperature before reheating in simmering soup.

RELATED: Dine-in or take-out this Passover with offerings from these 11 Bay Area joints

Roast Salmon Fillets with Haroset Topping

Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a first course

  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 lb. salmon fillets cut into 4 or 8 pieces
  • 2 tsp. minced lemon zest, divided
  • 3 Tbs. Concord grape juice, divided
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1½ tsp. paprika, divided
  • ½ plus ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 Tbs. honey or agave
  • 1 cup chopped unpeeled apple (¼-inch pieces)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking dish with 1 Tbs. oil. Place fillet pieces in dish skin side down. In small bowl add 1 tsp. zest, 1 Tbs. grape juice, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. salt, black pepper, ½ tsp. cinnamon and remaining oil. Stir well. Spoon all the liquid evenly over the salmon pieces.

Make topping in medium bowl. Combine remaining lemon juice, remaining zest, remaining salt, remaining cinnamon, remaining grape juice, honey, apples and walnuts. Taste and add more cinnamon or more honey if desired. Set aside.

Roast salmon for 5 minutes, then baste with pan liquids. Roast another 3 to 7 minutes (timing will vary) until cooked. Flake with a knife; fish should be opaque but still moist. Transfer fish to serving platter. Drizzle with any liquids from the pan. Top with apple mixture. Sprinkle with remaining paprika. Scatter green onions on top. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Roast salmon with haroset topping. (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Roast salmon with haroset topping. (Photo/Faith Kramer)
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].