Superfood Charoset for Passover
RECIPE AND ARTICLE BY MARIANA YANAY-TRINER
Passover Celebrations in my Family
When I was young, Passover used to be my most hated holiday. I had to endure my family’s long seder, when eating was only allowed after about 2 hours of reading the whole Megila and learning about everything that the Jews went through as slaves in Egypt, getting mad about it, and then shouting about how good it is that that phase is now over with.
Well, I felt pretty enslaved being unable to eat, and staring at all that delicious food on the table for 2 hours! It was also terrible having to avoid gluten for about a week after the seder. I loved gluten! I loved those crispy phylo-dough burekas, filled with melted cheese, mushrooms, and potatoes. I loved bread. I loved corn, and rice, and all the other things I had to avoid too! I was miserable.
But in the hilarious half-Iraqi, half-European family of my partner, Passover became one of my favorite holidays. His family turned Passover seder into an adventure. His dad would read the Megila in about 7 different accents while his mom would allow me to sneak food in during the reading. Oh, I loved it!
These days, I am also a raw vegan who avoids gluten naturally, so I don’t really need to do any kind of fasting after the seder. I get the full package! Delicious food plus continuing my regular routine after the celebration.
The Meaning of Passover
Despite the fact that I don’t fast, I still ponder deeply into the meaning of Passover. I love Jewish holidays because they are full of meaning. Sometimes I criticize the meaning behind them, and sometimes I am in awe of the age-old wisdom that they pass down to me. Passover has both parts in it.
Passover is about the dichotomy of slavery and freedom. It’s about rejoicing deeply that today, the Jews are free, but also bemoaning the slavery that we were under.
I don’t believe that our lives are currently so dichotomous. I find the gray zone to be very strong in my life, where during many moments, I feel both free to be the person, and woman, I am, but also enslaved to cultural concepts and demands that are deeply entrenched in my mind and body. These cultural demands are so strong that it becomes hard to know whether I am truly ever free.
I also feel great sadness over the cycle of freedom and slavery that the Jewish people have been part of. When many of us experience slavery, in any way, and we come out of it in one piece, we often feel the need to enslave others. This can be symbolic and very real too. This is the dichotomy of slavery and freedom that is celebrated on the Passover seder, and it is this dichotomy I dislike. For when we step out of slavery into a greater freedom, I hope that we afford and spread freedom to all who are around us.
Passover Seder Charoset
Well, those were my deep musings about freedom and slavery in life. With food, it is also very interesting:
A coworker of mine, who was a religious Jew, remarked that she feels that my raw veganism, despite it being extremely rigid in the eyes of others, is extremely freeing for me. It feels like true freedom because I chose it, love it, and its rules, instead of restricting me, give me true freedom! And this was one of the wisest thoughts putting together Jewish tradition and my human experience.
Yes, raw veganism now gives me a freedom to avoid the unhealthy foods I once ate without any regrets, and to truly enjoy my lifestyle and the food I eat.
I want to pass that freedom along to you. Because this recipe is extremely healthy, full of nutritious superfoods, and is something you can eat without that jail that we often create in our minds: “This is so delicious, but so fattening and unhealthy, should I eat it?.”
Indulge in this recipe, my friends.
Charoset was always one of my favorite foods at the Passover seder, because it is naturally vegan and even raw vegan! It is absolutely delicious, and it symbolizes the “clay” (cheres in Hebrew) that the Israelites used to make bricks out of when they were slaves.
A beautiful disagreement about the meaning of charoset reminds me of that gray zone between freedom and slavery. According to one opinion, this paste is meant to remind us of the mortar used by the Israelites as they were slaves. The other opinion says that it should remind the modern Jewish people of Egyptian apple trees, under which Israelite women would painlessly give birth, while the Egyptians could never tell that a baby was born (originally baby boy, but since we are going with the theme of freedom here, I’ll take it upon myself to reform this thought).
The same charoset reminds some of us of a safe haven, a sweet and delicious hiding spot where we can find momentary freedom, while others see it as a dark reminder of slavery and pain. And such is life. One situation, one moment, and one object can mean two very opposing things to two people, and the gray in between to a third.
And now for the recipe; a reformed Superfood Charoset. Very delicious, sweet, and also nutritious. I snuck in a few superfoods into a traditional recipe, but this recipe has many versions anyway, depending on the country of origin.
- ½ cup dates
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 3 tablespoons goji berries
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, or to taste
- Pinch of salt
- Grind the flax seeds into a powder using a coffee grinder.
- Blend the dates, water, flax seeds, and ginger until completely smooth and place in a bowl.
- Place coconut flour, hemp seeds, goji berries, raisins, orange zest, and salt into a food processor and grind until a crumbly mixture results.
- Mix the mixture with the date puree.
Marina Yanay-Triner is a health and nutrition coach who creates delicious raw foods recipes on her website, www.soulintheraw.com. She has many free raw food ebooks available, like “10 Things We Should Be Eating Every Single Day” and “Raw Vegan Taco Tuesday Recipes. Check out her site for a wealth of health food resources and recipes!