Back in the first year of writing Don’t Fear the Vegan I really wanted to do something with Matzo crackers and came across recipes for Mina’s, which are basically a lasagna made from Matzo crackers instead of noodles. At the time, I was unable to find egg free lasagna noodles, so this idea sounded like the perfect way to get my lasagna fix. My recipe had caught the eye of a local blogger, Shelteriffic, who graciously shared it.
In the post the recipe had been presented as a meal for passover, which I quickly learned it was not, due to Kosher food restrictions for the Seder. Well, matzo are back in the store and I decided to try my hand at another Mina, but this time I have done my homework and created one that is indeed Kosher for Passover. After attempting this I will say I have a whole new respect for vegans who keep Kosher for the holiday, for with all the restrictions it makes Thanksgiving and Christmas as vegans seem like no big deal.
*It may seem like a lot of steps but it is relatively easy.
*The Matzo ball mix thickened the Béchamel more than expected so if you prefer it to be more of a sauce than a spread over the top, you may thin it a little with either water or vegetable broth.
*When I am cooking with potatoes I keep the water I cooked them in and use it throughout the recipe, wherever I need water.
*If I wasn’t making this as a Passover dish I would add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast to the pesto. It is good like this, I just really like nutritional yeast.
Preparing the Matzo cracker:
My casserole dish was 14 x 10 x 3.
I needed 7 crackers because my dish was wider at the top. If your dish is not you will probably only need 6. However, I am not sure how uniform in size Matzo crackers are so you may want to see how many you will need to create three layers of Matzo.
Place crackers in casserole dish. Cover with water (the top one will not be submerged.) Soak for 3 minutes and then flip over so the top crackers are on the bottom. Soak for 3 more minutes. Remove crackers from water and lie on a paper towel. Set aside.
2.5 lbs potatoes (peeled, cooked, and mashed) reserve potato water
2 sprigs fresh dill (chopped)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Add water to the mashed potatoes in order to get them to a creamy consistency. Stir in dill and salt. Set aside.
Basil Walnut Pesto
2 cups basil
1 cup walnuts
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Put all ingredients in blender and pulverize until creamy. Remove from blender and set aside.
1.5 lbs Portobello mushrooms sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tsp sage
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of water. Heat on medium. Stir in sage and add Portobello. Saute for about ten minutes until they are tender but. Remove from heat and set aside. Reserve liquid at bottom of pan.
Cashew Bell Pepper Béchamel
1 cup cashews soaked for 2 hours
water to cover
juice of one lemon
1/2 of an orange or red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
2 gloves garlic
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup matzo ball mix
Place ingredients from cashews to salt in the blender and blend until creamy. Set aside.
In a sauce pan heat olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in matzo ball mix. Once fully mixed cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cashew mix. Add water if needed.
Preparation of casserole:
Makes 8 large servings.
Preheat oven to 375
You need all above ingredients plus 4 oz baby spinach
- 1/4 cup Béchamel, spread on bottom of dish
- layer of soaked matzo crackers
- 1/2 of spinach
- 1/2 of Portobello – they will not cover spinach
- potatoes – use all of them to completely cover, I found it easier with my hands
- pesto – use all to cover potatoes
- second layer of soaked matzo crackers
- rest of spinach
- remaining Portobello
- pour reserved liquid from Portobello evenly over casserole
- final layer of soaked matzo crackers
- cover top with remaining Béchamel
Cover with aluminum foil and back for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes.
Check out these Matzoh Charoseth Truffles