Vegan Matzo Balls (With a Gluten-Free Variation)

This vegan matzo balls recipe isn’t going to yield the Jewish grandmothers’ classic fluffy variety, but something new, delicious, and easy to make. Cooked quinoa flakes bind them together. A lot of the vegan matzo balls recipes on the web use tofu as a binder, which, for many Jews, is not an allowable Passover food. The trick here is to bake them at a low temperature rather than boiling them. Without egg as a binder, vegan matzo balls are more likely than not to fall apart in water.

I’ve also included a gluten-free variation using additional dry quinoa flakes instead of matzo meal (though with only quinoa, technically they’re not “matzo” at all, just matzo-like). More quinoa flakes are needed than matzo meal to hold these together, as they’re less dense.

These go very quickly and everyone usually wants more, so if you’re increasing the amount of soup to accommodate a larger crowd, or serving more than 8 people, you would do well to double this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes*
  • 1 cup matzo meal (or 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes for a gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • PREP TIME 10
  • COOK TIME 35
  • Serves 24

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cover the quinoa flakes with the water. Let stand for 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the matzo meal (or additional quinoa flakes for gluten-free), salt, pepper and onion powder. Mix until well blended. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Just before baking, preheat the oven to 275º F.
  4. Roll the matzo meal mixture into approximately 1 inch balls; don’t pack them too firmly. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, carefully turning the matzo balls after 10 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch; don’t let them brown.

Note:  If making ahead of time, let the matzo balls cool completely, then cover until needed. Warm them briefly in a medium-hot oven or in the microwave, and distribute them among the soup bowls, allowing 3 or 4 matzo balls per serving.

*Ancient Harvest is a popular brand of quinoa flakes. If your local natural foods retailer doesn’t carry them, they can order a box or two for you or look for them online.

Reprinted with permission, © 2011 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photo by Susan Voisin.