Anyone who has been to a Passover Seder knows that the Seder Plate is the centerpiece of the table. It is rich with symbolism of the Exodus of the Hebrew slaves and is a main part of the Seder’s ceremonial rituals. But some of the items on the Seder plate are not vegan-friendly and can be replaced by other items that are more in tune with one’s ethics.
To help plan and create a memorable vegan Passover Seder, I would recommend buying a new Haggadah that is more in line with animal rights and plant-based eating. There are two veg-friendly Haggadah’s that I like:
Haggadah for the Vegetarian Family by Roberta Kalechofsky
(she has kale in her name: I knew I liked her!)
Open-Eyed Heart-Wide Haggadah by Debra Jill Mazer
Here is how I make my Vegan Seder Plate:
Matzoh: of course there is the matzoh, the bread of haste as the slaves did not have time to let their bread rise before escaping Egypt. Just make sure you buy egg-free matzoh.
Karpas: a vegetable or herb such as potato, celery or parsley is used as a symbol of spring. It is dipped in salt water to symbolize the tears of the Hebrew slaves. I tend to use parsley since I always have a bunch of it around.
Maror: the bitter herbs are to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. This can be symbolized with lettuce or horseradish. I think other bitter greens such as dandelion radish greens or mustard greens would also work here.
Charoset: a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, agave, and spices (see my recipe below). Charoset is used to symbolize the mortar used to layer bricks which was done by the Hebrew slaves. It is sweet though, and delicious.
Z’Roa: the shankbone used to symbolize the sacrificial lamb. Of course, there won’t be any bones on a vegan table so what’s a good substitute? I like to use beets. The blood-red color of the beets is certainly symbolic of the blood shed as well as the blood smeared over the doors of the people the Angel of Death was to pass over. According to the “Haggadah for the Vegetarian Family,” olives, grapes and grains of unfermented barley can also be used to symbolize the commandments of compassion for the oppressed.
Beitzah: the egg which has multiple meanings on a seder plate. It represents the second offering in the Temple as well as the mourning of the loss of the Temple of Jerusalem. Eggs are also common in spring holidays as a symbol of new life, renewal and hope. Wonderful substitutes for eggs include oranges, seeds, ripe fruit with pits and even edible flowers. I tend to use an avocado pit but I have also used oranges on my Seder plate.
Of course my Seder table is also filled with vegan delectables like these:
Mushroom Walnut Chopped “Liver”
Vegan Gefilte “Fish” with Horseradish on a bed of Purple Cabbage
Matzoh Ball Soup
Matzoh Brei over Steamed Kale
Matzoh Brei/Fried Matzoh
Be sure to check out all my Passover recipes including my simple but delicious Charoset below.
Note: Although I am of Ashkenazic descent, I do not agree with nor follow the prohibition of Kitniyot – eating legumes and rice – on Passover. I agree with Rabbi David Golinkin who believes this custom (that he says is in opposition to Talmudic writings) is devisive between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews and diminishes the importance of the hametz.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup walnuts
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. agave nectar
¼ cup grape juice or wine
A pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until pureed but with some texture. Store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.
Just found this site and I love it! I, too, am a strong animal activist. Happy Passover, Rhea, and thank you for this fabulous site. I’ll share it on Fb.
Hi Rachel, thank you so much. Happy Passover! xoxo
Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I know there are many Vegan Seder posts but I feel you have the best.
I look forward to setting our Seder plate as a true Vegan one and will use your menu as a guide.
Many thanks. Kevin Gold Coast Australia.
Thank you so much Kevin! Have a happy, happy Pesach! xoxo
Great ideas for Passover. I’m just starting to look for some good recipes. I love your seder plate ideas. Thanks!
Thank you Ilene! I also have a new recipe for matzoh balls made with quinoa so they are kosher all the way for Passover. I haven’t posted it yet but I will (need pictures). I hope you find lots of good recipes here. xoxo