Even though Passover is over, I wanted to post this great recipe for matzo lasagna that I made last weekend. Growing up my mother made matzo pizza, matzo kugel, and lots of other dishes using matzo meal, but matzo lasagna wasn’t something I had ever tried – until now! My sister shared this recipe with me, but I tweaked it a bit.
Vegetable Matzo Lasagna
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 4 ounces white mushrooms, diced
- 1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4-6 square matzo, slightly wet but not falling apart
- 1 26-ounce jar tomato sauce
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Dried basil and oregano, to taste
- Preheat oven to400oF. Spread diced peppers and mushrooms on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, until soft. (You can also saute the vegetables if you prefer).
- Reduce oven to 350oF and line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with tinfoil.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and spinach. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Coat the bottom of the pan with a layer of tomato sauce.
- Place 1 1/2 to 2 matzos in the pan and top with half of the ricotta and spinach mixture, a layer of vegetables, 1/3 of the jar of sauce, and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Season with basil and oregano.
- Repeat step 4 with another 1 1/2 to 2 matzos, the remaining ricotta and spinach mixture, the remaining vegetables, 1/3 of the tomato sauce, and mozzarella. Season with basil and oregano.
- Top the second layer with the last 1 1/2 to 2 matzos, the remaining tomato sauce, and mozzarella. Season with basil and oregano.
- Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake and additional 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Despite some apprehension (mostly from my husband) about making lasagna with matzo, this came out really great! Personally, I couldn’t even tell there was matzo in it.
Have you ever made lasagna without noodles?
Tonight starts the eight-day long Jewish holiday of Passover, during which one may not eat chametz — the collective name for leavened products containing wheat, barley, oats, rye, or spelt.
Last Passover I told you about matzo – the unleavened bread that Jews eat over the course of the holiday. Over the years, supermarket shelves have become stocked with more and more foods that are Kosher for Passover, including noodles and rolls (generally made out of potato flour). One item that was approved for Passover and has become popular over the past few years is quinoa.
As quinoa has risen in popularity, rabbinical authorities realized that it is a Kosher for Passover grain — very exciting news for Jews who knew about quinoa and all it’s virtues. I for one was thrilled with this news — one more food that we can eat on Passover to avoid the monotony of matzo and potatoes.
I’ve mentioned quinoa before, but never really shared all of its benefits. Here are some facts about quinoa:
- It’s an ancient grain (like einkorn), although it is actually a seed related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard.
- It’s the only grain that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids you need.
- It’s high in fiber and a very good source of the minerals manganese, magnesium, and iron.
- It’s gluten-free.
Interestingly, there was an article in today’s NY Times questioning whether quinoa is in fact Kosher for Passover. The reason for the debate? Some Rabbis say that some quinoa grown in Bolivia (where it originates) is harvested with wheat and corn (two forbidden foods on Passover) so there may be some particles mixed into the packaged quinoa. To me, this debate calls to mind a bigger issue: whether the quinoa is in fact gluten-free —
an important, potentially life-threatening concern for people with celiac disease or wheat and gluten allergies.
To be 100% certain that you are getting gluten-free and Kosher for Passover quinoa you must read the labels. According to Rabbis who approve quinoa for Passover, the two brands that are given thumbs up are Ancient Harvest Quinoa and Trader Joe’s brand. So stick with these if you’re observing the holiday and/or following a gluten-free diet.
What do you think about quinoa? Do you like it?
This week is Passover, one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays. If you’re not familiar, the Passover holiday celebrates the escape of the Jewish people from enslavement in Egypt. Matzo is a mainstay of the Passover holiday, and it is eaten in place of chametz, the collective name for leavened products containing wheat, barley, oats, rye, or spelt.
What is matzo and why do we eat it?
Matzo is unleavened bread, and looks like a cracker. It is made by combining flour and water and baking it before it has time to rise, which is why it turns into a flat, crunchy cracker. Matzo is eaten over the course of Passover (which lasts 8 days) because it is what the Jews ate when they escaped from Egypt. In the rush to leave, the Jews did not have time to bake bread; instead, they mixed together flour and water and quickly baked it, without waiting for it to rise. It was the only food they took on their journey to freedom.
Where does matzo stack up nutritionally?
Most people think matzo is low calorie because it’s just made with flour and water and is so light. However, a whole piece of matzo (1 whole square) contains 125 calories, 28 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein, 0 g fat. Nutritionally it doesn’t provide too many benefits, and I can’t say it’s the most delicious food, but it can become nutritioulicious™ when you use it as a base for sandwiches or use it to make matzo pizza (my favorite)!
These days there are other varieties of matzo:
- Egg matzo is made with flour, fruit juice, and eggs and contains 130 calories, 28 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein, 0.5 g fat per serving (1 piece)
- Whole wheat matzo is made with whole wheat flour (nutritious!) and water, and contains 100 calories, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, 0 g fat per serving (1 piece)
Matzo is known to be a bit difficult to digest and can lead to constipation, so it’s very important to eat enough fruit and vegetables over the holiday to prevent digestive problems.
Do you eat matzo? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?