Passover, with all its dietary prohibitions, can create cooking issues.
Add another factor, like having to cook for someone who’s a vegan or is lactose-intolerant or who is allergic to nuts or other ingredients, and you really have to be creative about dinner.
My cousin Leslie had several guests at her Seder who had special dietary needs. One is her daughter-in-law who is vegan, gluten-intolerant, allergic to mushrooms and nuts and goodness knows what else. She couldn’t eat the matzo-ball soup, turkey, matzo stuffing with mushrooms, onions and celery or the honey-hazelnut macaroon tart.
It meant lots of extra cooking.
But sometimes preparing a dish for someone whose diet requires extra effort not only reaps rewards in the form of gratitude from the person you’re cooking for, but also because you might discover a dish that will appeal to everyone, so you can make more of it the next time, and cut out one that only a few can eat.
Consider this dish made with quinoa, which is fine for Passover and for nut-free, gluten-free, lactose-free vegan diets.
Sautéed Quinoa with Scallions and Mint
(photo from JoyofKosher.com)
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 large scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Rinse the quinoa several times in a strainer. Place the quinoa and 1-1/2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a wok, stir-fry pan, or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for 2–3 minutes or until they have softened. Return the quinoa to the pan and cook, stirring to distribute ingredients evenly. Sprinkle with the mint, lemon peel and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about one minute or until the ingredients are hot. Makes 4 servings.