passover seder

March 31, 2010

We got invited to a passover seder at a friend’s house this week. I’ve never celebrated passover before and this was a really great and special experience for me.

Our friend set the table so beautifully:

The aim our friends had for the food was to try and mix ashkenazi and sephardic traditions.

Evidently, eggplant plays a big part in sephardic seders so avoiding all bread, leavened goods and grains (aside from magical quinoa, which is not actually a grain!) I set about finding something to fit the bill and came up with this, which to me seemed just right:

Mediterranean Eggplant and Quinoa Salad
adapted from smitten kitchen


  • 1 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (from 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/4 cups quinoa (8 oz)
  • 1 (14-oz) can vegetable broth/stock (1 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint


  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables into 1 pan and cool. Put other pan aside for cooling quinoa.
  3. Cook quinoa: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  4. For the dressing: Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl.
  5. Combine salad: Addquinoa , roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well.

Washing our hands before eating:

Gorgeous flourless chocolate cake:

It was a night to remember for sure. I wish I had more pictures of all the lovely food but candlelight does not make for good pictures…

We definitely enjoyed fresh garden peas, roasted squash and sweet potatoes, and red cabbage salad amongst other things:

Looking for more Passover recipes? The New York Times has a great article with a ton of recipes.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny March 31, 2010 at 9:51 am

That is a beautiful table setting! So nice of friends to share the day with you:)


Janetha March 31, 2010 at 11:54 am

i will admit it, i know NOTHING about passover or what it is or what it entails. but if it means adorable table settings and amazing quinoa salads.. then sign me up :) that flourless chocolate cake also looks to die for. thank you for sharing your experience with us! i keep trying to think of local flavor and really, nothing stands out. i will keep thinking. XOXO


Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) March 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Mmm, flourless chocolate cake??? My roommates b-day is coming up soon. Perhaps I'll need to bake that! Love the photos :-)


elise March 31, 2010 at 12:37 pm

i love that pic of you guys washing your hands


Susan March 31, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I LOVE quinoa salads!!!! Way more than quinoa warm. I am 100% making this. It may take me a couple weeks to get there – but my tastebuds can't wait!


Holly April 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

i love this! i love the dishes, the atmosphere, the friends…the everything!

and i took a picture for the local flavor challenge…will send it to you later tonight. i also owe you an e-mail, which should hopefully come sometime today…love you!


Erica April 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Wow the dish you made looks incredible! I've never celebrated passover either- so this was a cool peak into what is done/consumed. Thanks girly ;)


Michelle April 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I really have to learn to be more creative with my eggplant!! All i know to do is roast or steam them and dip 'em in sauce, but that salad looks AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing the recipe girlie!!


Cara April 16, 2010 at 7:37 am

Glad you enjoyed your first Passover seder! Like your friends, I try to incorporate both Sephardic and Ashkenazic influences in my Passover cuisine. I think it's great that you researched and brought a perfect, most-appropriate dish. It sounds delicious, I love eggplant and I love the spices you used.


Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen April 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I love your table setting. Super cute and pretty!


whisk-kid April 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Yummy! This sounds fantastic!


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