Passover Recipes

Passover favorites with all the taste but less fat and calories

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

Spring holidays are here and sometimes we need a little something special when we gather with friends and family. Here are a few traditional recipes that I have doctored into lighter fare for you to enjoy as you celebrate Passover and Easter. Feel free to enjoy these foods but remember to limit your portions and journal them as indicated for each recipe.

In anticipation of Passover, it would be a good idea to get a little extra exercise and/or bank a few calories by eating less throughout the week prior to the holiday. If you plan ahead and exercise portion control, your won't skip a beat on your diet as you enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Matzo-Lemon Sponge Cake

For a smaller cake (with 6 servings) you can cut the recipe in half and line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper to make a pound cake-shaped cake.

8 egg whites
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemonade
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sifted matzo cake meal (in a pinch, grind regular matzo meal for a minute in a food processor, then sift and measure 1 cup)
strawberries (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line just the bottom of 10-inch springform pan with parchment or waxed paper (or line the bottom of 2 loaf pans). Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside.
  2. Beat egg yolks and lemonade until light. Add sugar and beat for a minute. Add a pinch of salt, the lemon juice and rind, and the matzo cake meal, and beat on low until nicely blended. On low speed, gently beat in the egg whites (or fold in with a spatula)
  3. Once well mixed, pour into prepared pan(s) and bake until golden (about 45 minutes for the springform pan or around 20 minutes for loaf pans).
  4. Invert pan until cake is cool. Use knife to cut around edges and remove cake from pan. Cut with serrated knife into layers if desired. Serve with strawberries between the layers if desired.

Makes 12 servings

PER SERVING (not including strawberries): 171 calories, 4.5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, .5 g fiber, 41 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 9 percent.

Potato Latkes

Serve these hot with applesauce, fat free or light sour cream and chopped green onions if desired. The original recipe called for 3 eggs and 1/2 cup peanut oil, and I used 1 egg, 6 tablespoons egg substitute, and 2 to 3 teaspoons canola oil. I also decreased the salt from 1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 (but you can cut it down further or leave it out if you are cooking for someone on a low sodium diet. These were delicious and real easy to make!

Original recipe contains 121 calories, 7 grams fat, and 63 mg cholesterol per latke.

2 cups peeled and shredded Russet potatoes, firmly packed (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup grated or finely chopped onion
1 large egg
6 tablespoons egg substitute
2-3 tablespoons low sodium matzo meal (a little less than 1 matzo, processed into fine crumbs)
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 teaspoons canola oil

  1. Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth or double thickness of paper towels and wring to extract as much water out of the potatoes as possible
  2. In medium bowl, stir the potatoes, onion, egg, egg substitute and matzo meal and salt together well.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed non stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Make sure the oil is spread evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Place 1/4 cup (level measure) of potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Spray tops with canola cooking spray. Brown on one side about 3 minutes, turn over and brown the other side (about 3 minutes).
  4. Serve these hot with applesauce, fat free or light sour cream and chopped green onions.

Makes 10 latkes

PER LATKE (if 2 teaspoons of canola used): 71 calories, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fat (.2 g saturated fat, .7 g monounsaturated fat, .4 g polyunsaturated fat), 21 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 237 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 19 percent.

Spinach and Mushroom Bake

This is a nice side dish or brunch dish. It's loaded with vegetables, too! I made the salt optional but it really does need a little if you use low-sodium chicken broth powder. If someone at your Seder is on a low-sodium diet, prepare it the low-sodium way, and just ask people to add their own salt at the table. If you are serving more than 9 people, double the recipe and use a 9x13-inch baking pan instead.

1 cup chopped onion
2 cups (about 8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
2 cups grated or diced carrots
1 cup diced zucchini
2 10-ounce boxes frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and gently squeezed to eliminate excess water)
1/2 cup Matzo Meal (use unsalted if someone is on a low-sodium diet)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt (add more to taste), optional
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons low-sodium chicken broth powder

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9x9-inch or 8x8-inch baking pan with canola cooking spray.
  • Coat a large nonstick frying pan with canola cooking spray. Add the onions and mushrooms, cover pan, and let cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned.
  • Add the mushroom mixture to a large bowl along with all remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly (a wooden spoon or your hands work best). Spread into the prepared pan and bake until firm and lightly browned on the bottom (45-60 minutes).

Makes 9 servings

Nutritional information per serving (using low sodium matzo meal): 104 calories, 8 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g fat (0.8 g saturated fat, 0.7 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 3.5 g fiber, 134 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%.

Roasted Garlic Potatoes

The original recipe called for a stick of margarine. We have cut this to 3 tablespoons, and are using a no- or low-trans-fat margarine with about 8 grams of fat per tablespoon (kosher versions are available). If you want to make half a recipe, pour the potato mixture into a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate and bake for the same amount of time.

4 pounds small, new red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed (if you use larger red potatoes, just cut them in half)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dill weed (dried)
1 whole garlic bulb; separate the cloves and peel them
3 tablespoons no-or low-trans-fat margarine (with 8 grams fat per tablespoon), melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat the potatoes well.
  • Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use a scraper to scrape all the margarine and seasonings from the sides of the bowl, drizzling over the potatoes in pan.
  • Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are cooked throughout and lightly browned.

Makes 12 servings

Nutritional information per serving: 121 calories, 4 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 2.2 g fat (0.4 g saturated fat, 0.5 g monounsaturated fat, 0.9 g polyunsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 2.6 g fiber, 200 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 16%.

Medically updated March 2006

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