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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