Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup
Happy (almost) Pesach!
I have been a vegetarian for about seven years now, and one of the only foods I regret giving up is good matzoh ball soup. My mom has made it for holidays my whole life, and I miss it. Nothing’s better than eating matzoh ball soup, loaded with chicken and vegetables, and sitting with your family during the holidays.
Anyway, it’s taken me this long to get it together and actually try to make my own vegetarian version. This recipe has enough vegetables and seasoning that the broth is flavorful, and you can feel like you’re eating something culturally traditional, while still being vegetarian.
The trickiest part of the recipe was the matzoh balls. I’ve always relied on my mother and grandmother to provide them for me and have never actually made my own before.
I started out with a recipe that used too much seltzer, which resulted in overly fluffy, tasteless matzoh balls. I went to the expert––my mother. When I asked her what recipe she uses for matzoh balls, she looked at me for a minute before saying, “the recipe on the box.” It turns out the recipe on the back of the Manischewitz matzoh meal box/can is a winner!
If you already have a matzoh ball recipe you love, you can just make those and add them to this vegetarian soup. The recipe feeds 6–8 people, generously. It’s also pretty flexible, so if there is a vegetable you want to add in or take out, I say go for it!
2 garlic cloves, peeled
½ onion, unpeeled
2 sprigs of dill
1 tsp dried thyme
3 tbsps parsley
1 whole clove (optional if you don’t have any and don’t want to deal with it)
2 bay leaves
Several pinches pepper
Several pinches salt
5 stalks celery
2 large carrots, or 4 medium
2 large parsnips, or 4 medium
1 cup matzoh meal
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup water (less for firmer matzoh balls and you can sub in seltzer for fluffier)
1 tsp salt
Vegetables: First, just to get it over with, wash all your produce. I hate washing and drying vegetables, but it has to be done (especially leeks, which are incredibly dirty).
Chop and peel your vegetables! Specifically, peel the parsnips and carrots. If you’re one of the few people I know who doesn’t like parsnips, feel free to leave these out. Cut parsnips and carrots into quarters.
Cut off the bottoms and tops of the celery stalks and cut celery into quarters.
Pull off outer leek leaves, making sure there is no visible dirt on the white parts. Cut the white part into quarters, getting rid of the lower stem and green leaves.
Chop the parsley leaves.
Cut an onion in half, then put away one half for another use.
Gather dill stalks, clove, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
Put the vegetables (carrots, parsnips, leeks, celery) into pot with 3 tbsps. of olive oil.
Turn stove to medium and sauté vegetables briefly, just for a few minutes.
I put all my seasonings straight into the pot, but if you don’t want to have to pull them out of the finished product, wrap the garlic, parsley, dill, clove, and bay leaves in a cheesecloth (or equivalent net) and secure before putting them into the soup.
Pour in the water! I filled up my pot until it was about 4/5 full since it will reduce as it cooks. Add in onion, garlic, clove, bay leaves, pepper, salt, dill, parsley. Turn heat to high and cover.
Once the water has boiled, uncover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for the next 50–65 minutes. I tested the broth by pouring a little bit with some vegetables into a small bowl. I decided it was done once the broth was flavorful and the vegetables were soft all the way through.
Place a large pot in your sink and cover it with a strainer or colander. Pour the finished soup over the strainer/ pot hybrid, straining out the solids. If you did not put your seasonings into a separate bag, pick out the onion, garlic clove, bay leaves, dill sprigs, and clove.
To store, I put the broth and the vegetables in separate tupperwares. I do this mostly so the matzoh balls can go into the broth tupperware and I can control how much of each I am eating/ everyone in my house is eating.
First, make the matzoh ball dough! Start by cracking all your eggs into the bowl. Mix well using a fork or whisk.
Add in the oil, water, matzoh meal, and salt. Mix with your fork/whisk/hands (because I don’t know your life).
Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
Before you take the bowl out of the fridge, put a pot of water to boil (it doesn’t really matter how much water you use, but your pot should be at least half full). Once the water is boiling, take the bowl out of the fridge and start forming the dough into evenly sized balls. Make sure to keep your hands wet with cold water (I put a small cup of water next to my work station) and place formed matzoh balls on parchment or wax paper. I made mine into roughly 1 ½ inch diameter spheres.
Once your water is boiling, drop all of your matzoh balls into the boiling water. Turn down to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 25–30 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzoh balls into your broth.
If you are not serving immediately, refrigerate everything. You can also keep your matzoh balls out of the broth and put them in the freezer. If serving immediately, just put the portion you are serving in a pan on the stove.
Serve at seder and enjoy! Chag Sameach!
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How to cite this page
Yelsey , Lisa. "Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup ." 7 April 2017. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 5, 2021) <https://jwa.org/blog/vegetarian-matzoh-ball-soup>.