Staying kosher for Passover is now easier than ever, thanks to the paleo and gluten-free trends bringing everything from zucchini noodles to cauliflower crust pizza and sweet potato toasts onto our plates. Even though the temptation to eat bread may be easier to manage, matzah is an integral part of the Passover celebration. But just because matzah on its own may be rather bland doesn’t mean it can’t be doctored up and enjoyed both sweet and savory.
Here are some tips to follow for the best matzah creations:
- Anything that goes on bread or crackers is game for matzah! Since matzah is a blank canvas, bold, flavorful foods like spreads, dressings, pickles and different textures help make it colorful. However, when putting wet toppings on the matzah directly, do so at the last second, right before you’re going to eat it—otherwise it will get soggy.
- Matzah is sturdy and can hold up a surprising amount of cheese and heat. Brushing it with melted butter, salt and spices and putting it in a hot oven for a couple minutes adds a nice depth of flavor before adding other toppings.
Taking inspiration from classic dishes such as “matzah crack” (that chocolatey-sweet-salty-crunchy matzah dessert) to the classic peanut butter and jelly (use almond butter if you don’t eat kitniyot), the toppings for matzah are endless—as long as they are kosher, of course.
Instead of matzah brei, try avocado toast on matzah—topped with a jammy egg and, for the kitniyot eaters, everything bagel spice, it’s almost better than the real deal. Or how about dark-chocolate-and-chili-orange-covered matzah? Orange zest, chili powder and dark chocolate pair beautifully for a decadent dessert.
For a sweet breakfast or afternoon snack, matzah topped with ricotta, honey fried bananas and an optional tahini (kitniyot) drizzle feels luxurious while being low on both sugar and effort. Matzah also serves as an excellent carrier of my two favorite foods: goat cheese and eggplant. A spread of goat cheese on matzah topped with some balsamic-glazed and roasted eggplants is decadent and easy enough for a weeknight dinner with a side salad. Similarly, butternut squash puree with roasted garlic, shaved Parmesan and pomegranate arils looks impressively Ottolenghi-esque, but requires only one pan and 30 minutes to make.