Herby Quinoa with Roasted Carrots, Pomegranate, and Pistachios + A Passover Guide

It’s easy to view Passover as a burden. With grains, rice, and even seeds and legumes completely verboten*, the restrictions can feel overwhelming and the options few.
But instead of viewing the eight day holiday with dread of deprivation, I view it as a time to rediscover basics. To pare back, to simplify and to streamline. It’s a chance to make use of what is allowed- piles of new spring vegetables, sweet fruit, and wholesome meat and chicken. For me, Passover isn’t about stocking up on potato starch leavened cakes or imitation mustard- instead, I use it as a time to make food that’s nourishing, free of preservatives and wholly delicious, food that feeds our bodies while our souls are sated at the Seder.
This side might be my favorite example of a dish that’s nourishing, preservative free and- you guessed it- wholly delicious. It’s nutty with quinoa, chock full of refreshing spring herbs and tossed throughout with turmeric roasted carrot coins, sweet and spiced. Tart pomegranate arils are sprinkled in like jewels and pistachios lend a salty crunch. I like that this is easy, highly adaptable, and readily scaled up for a crowd- but mostly I like that it tastes fresh. Passover food can lean heavy (boiled potatoes! mashed potatoes! potato kugel! schmaltz roasted potatoes!) but this is light and invigorating.
Passover is called זמן חרותנו- the time of our freedom. Jews around the world celebrate by commemorating the liberation of our people by God from slavery in ancient Egypt.
It’s a story that played out thousands of years ago, but to me, the message is still just as inspiring today: celebrate your freedom. Take the holiday for what it is- a time to liberate yourself from your usual routine, and to explore the things that lay beyond your comfort zone.
Have a lovely and wonderful Passover! Keep reading for some links and a few of my essential rules for the holiday and let me know in the comments below what your favorite Passover side dish is!

*Sephardic Jews, Jews descended from Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East, eat rice, seeds and legumes on Passover, a category called Kitniyot.

More Passover recipes: Pavlovas with Lemon Curd & Citrus{Gluten Free} Triple Chocolate Almond Biscotti + An AnecdoteStrawberry Rosé PopsChocolate Pavlovas With Lavender Cream & Strawberries, English Toffee, Classic Chocolate Mousse

Click here for a lovely article on Passover and the true meaning of freedom. 

A Quick Passover Guide

  1. On dessert: keep it natural. Save the layer cakes for when you can actually use flour- instead of messing with substitutions that’ll never taste as good as the original, make things that are naturally kosher for Passover. Try pavlovas with berries and compote and cream, meringues, caramels, flourless chocolate tortes, macarons, lemon curd, almond fruit crumbles, marzipan, poached fruit, coconut macaroons, ice cream, caramelized nuts and mousses. All naturally grain free, all delicious.
  2. Making mains: you don’t need to go overboard with standing rib roasts- promise. Think of proteins falling under three categories- fish, meat, chicken and eggs and branch out from there. For meat, make brisket (bonus: it freezes and reheats wonderfully) bolognese or ragu to serve with egg noodles and saucy meatballs to serve over zucchini spaghetti. Short ribs, roasts and the like, I reserve for seder and holiday nights. With chicken, make braised chicken, crispy chicken thighs, and almond flour (or crispy chip!) breaded schnitzel. With fish, try honey glazed salmon, a Moroccan salmon stew with peppers, herbs and tomatoes, or a simple, buttery white fish like halibut or cod with pesto. For eggs: make a cheesy omelette filled with sauteed tomatoes, zucchini and onions, eat poached eggs over yogurt for a savory breakfast, and fry eggs to eat with avocado matzah- the Passover version of avocado toast. Poached eggs are also delicious over zucchini spaghetti.
  3. Veg out: veg out! Really! Use spiralized zucchini in place of spaghetti, let riced cauliflower stand in for rice, roast endless trays of asparagus and broccoli and chop greens and herbs so you can make instant salad. Bulk up salads with nuts, tuna, sardines, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, anchovies, fruit like pears or pomegranate seeds and dress simply, with lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Roast spaghetti squash as another pasta substitute, make ratatouille, make vegetable confits, make soups.
  4. Sides: reinvent potatoes. Make them into a galette with leeks, use them to make a shepherd’s pie, or roast them simply with schmaltz. Let quinoa serve as a substitute for rice and grains, make kugels and fritters out of squash, and roast hearty veggies like sweet potatoes and butternut squash to eat with dinners. Make egg crepes and fill them veggies, potatoes or shredded meat and chicken; cut the egg crepes to make thin noodles to serve in soup.

Herby Quinoa with Carrots, Pomegranate and Pistachios

Serves: 6

Variations: to make this dairy, add 1 cup of crumbled feta to the salad. Swap the pistachios for chopped walnuts. Use regular quinoa in place of tricolor. Use 1 cup of currants in place of the pomegranate seeds.

For the quinoa salad:

  • 1 bunch colorful carrots, peeled, greens discarded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tricolor quinoa
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup shelled, salted pistachios, crushed
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • ½ cup mixed dill, parsley and mint, finely chopped
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425ºF. Slice the carrots into coins on the bias. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the honey, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper.
  2. Place the carrots on a baking paper lined baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally, until the carrots have taken on some color and are tender, around 20-23 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, cover the pot and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 17 minutes. Turn off the heat, let it steam for 5 minutes, then uncover it, fluff with a fork and let cool slightly.
  4. Toss the warm, fluffed quinoa with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. When the carrots have cooled, combine the carrots, quinoa, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and herbs. Season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or cold.

Herby Quinoa with Carrots, Pomegranate and Pistachios


Herby Quinoa with Carrots, Pomegranate and Pistachios

This entry was published on April 9, 2019 at 10:58 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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