Category Archives: Jewish holidays



Tzimmes–a mixture of carrots, sweet potatoes and prunes–is a sweet start for the Jewish new year.

On Rosh Hashanah, we eat sweet foods to signify a sweet start to the new year. A traditional dish is tzimmes, a mixture of vegetables sweetened with honey. Carrots sliced into coins are usually included, to symbolize prosperity. In Yiddish, the word tzimmes means “a big fuss” (as in, “Don’t make such a big tzimmes over it”), but it can also mean something that’s mixed up. But there’s no fuss involved in making this easy vegetarian side dish that’s good for Rosh Hashanah, Passover or even Thanksgiving. And it’s naturally gluten-free.


By Gluten-Free Nosh
(gluten-free, dairy or pareve)
printable recipe


  • 1 pound carrots, cut in 1-inch rounds
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
  • 3/4 cup pitted prunes, cut in half
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Butter or margarine


  1. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish or casserole dish with cooking oil spray.
  2. In a large pot, cover carrots with water and boil 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and boil an additional 10 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place drained carrots and sweet potatoes in prepared baking dish. Stir in prunes.
  5. Combine orange juice, honey, cinnamon and salt. Pour mixture over carrots, sweet potatoes and prunes. Dot with butter or margarine. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Yields: 8 servings


Filed under Jewish holidays, Passover, Rosh Hashanah

Bruce’s Brisket


Serve this brisket with potatoes and carrots for a Rosh Hashanah dinner

When my husband was younger, he had a brisket blockade. He and a family friend fiercely enforced a no-brisket zone at family dinners. He has gone in and out of the brisket blockade since then, but he still makes us this slightly sweet brisket that’s always a winner, especially for Rosh Hashanah or Passover. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free.

This recipe makes a small brisket, using a three-pound kosher brisket sold at Trader Joe’s. You might want to double the ingredients for a bigger piece of meat.

Bruce’s Brisket

By Gluten-Free Nosh
printable recipe


  • 3 pounds brisket
  • 6 carrots, cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1-2 pounds fingerling potatoes or small red potatoes, scrubbed and left whole
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, left whole
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces chili sauce (we use Heinz)
  • 8 ounces Coca-Cola


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place brisket, fat side down, in baking pan. Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Add chili sauce and Coca-Cola. Meat should be surrounded by liquid, but not quite submerged.
  4. Flip brisket. (We want to cook the brisket fat side up; this gives it a nice coating.)
  5. Put a sheet of parchment paper over the baking pan and then cover with aluminum foil.
  6. Place in preheated oven and cook for 2.5 hours.
  7. Take out of the oven, slice the brisket (thin slices against the grain), return the meat to the sauce, and cook covered for one more hour.
  8. Put meat in the middle of a serving dish and flank with cooked carrots and potatoes.

Yield: 8 servings

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Filed under entrees, Passover, Recipes, Rosh Hashanah

Matzo Toffee, aka ‘Matzo Crack’

matzo toffee

Matzo Toffee — so addictive, it’s called Matzo Crack.

“Please, Mom, can I have another piece?” “Just one more piece.” “Really, just one more? Please!!” There’s a reason that this matzo toffee is nicknamed “Matzo Crack.” It is dangerously addictive.

Matzo toffee is made with my three favorite food groups: chocolate, butter and sugar. So right away, you know it’s going to be amazing. Plus, you can make it in minutes for an easy treat for Passover or any time of the year. And it’s simple to make gluten-free by using gluten-free matzo, which actually tastes better than regular matzo. (See my earlier post on gluten-free matzo.)

I first had this addictive treat when my sister-in-law Jonna brought it for Passover one year. (Thanks, Jonna!) We’ve been craving it ever since.

Matzo Toffee, aka “Matzo Crack”

(gluten-free, dairy or pareve, Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
printable recipe


  • 5 pieces gluten-free matzo
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter or Passover margarine
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed 18×13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange matzo pieces in a single layer in the pan, filling the entire pan and leaving as few gaps as possible.
  3. Combine butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, until mixture comes to a boil, whisking frequently. Continue cooking and whisking for another 3 minutes until foamy. Carefully, pour toffee over the matzo and evenly spread into a thin layer with a spatula.
  4. Put pan into preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the toffee is bubbling. Remove pan and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Let the chocolate sit and melt for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread chocolate into an even layer. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and salt. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Lift parchment paper with matzo onto a large cutting board. Cut or break into 2-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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Filed under desserts, Jewish holidays

Gluten-Free Matzo Balls

Gluten-free matzo balls

Gluten-free matzo balls

Gluten-free matzo balls


Matzo balls are a favorite at Passover and any time of the year. But what to do if you are gluten-free and can’t have regular matzo or matzo meal, let alone matzo balls? While some gluten-free matzo ball mixes are available for Passover (my favorite is Lieber’s knaidel mix), they can be hard to find.

Inspired by German potato dumplings, this recipe uses potatoes, potato starch and almond meal to make fluffy matzo balls — without the matzo. The result is gluten-free, non-gebrokts knaidlach that are fluffy on the outside, while slightly dense on the inside.

Make sure to plan out this recipe in advance, as you’ll need to refrigerate the boiled potatoes ahead of time. A potato ricer works well here to finely shred the cooked potatoes, but you can mash them well by hand instead. When boiling the matzo balls, do so at a light boil, so vigorous bubbling won’t break up the delicate matzo balls. While you can make the batter ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator, the matzo balls are best cooked close to serving time.

This gluten-free matzo ball recipe is also featured on Joy of Kosher, a great resource for kosher recipes.

For more Passover recipes and products, check out these related Passover blogs from Gluten-Free Nosh:
Gluten-free Passover foods 2014
Gluten-free Passover meringues
Fudgy cream cheese Passover brownies
Strawberry vanilla tart in macaroon shell
Colorful quinoa salad
Chicken baked with babaganoush

Gluten-Free Matzo Balls

(gluten-free, dairy-free, pareve, Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable recipe


  • 2 medium potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup ground almond meal
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender and a fork can pierce the potatoes easily, about 20 minutes. Drain, return to the warm pot (no longer on the heat) and steam off any extra moisture for about 5 minutes. Peel potatoes and refrigerate for at least two hours in an open bowl.
  2. Press potatoes through a potato ricer or mash them well, so there are no lumps. Measure 1 cup (packed) riced potatoes and place in a large bowl (save the remainder for another use). Add eggs, almond meal, potato starch, oil, dill, salt, baking soda, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
  3. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Wet hands well with water to gently form walnut-sized balls of dough. Gently drop balls in water and cover the pot. Cook in lightly boiling water (not too vigorous, or it will break up the matzo balls) for about 35 minutes. Remove matzo balls with a slotted spoon.

Yield: About 16-20 matzo balls

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Filed under Jewish holidays, Passover, Recipes, soups/chili

Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken

pomegranate chicken

Chicken glazed with a pomegranate sauce, spiced with ginger and cinnamon

Well, hello, blog. I haven’t posted in quite a while. As I get busier editing for the indispensable Gluten Free & More magazine (formerly titled Living Without) and with life in general, I have had less time for this blog.

As always, it helps to have a kick in the pants, which comes as part of the Kosher Connection challenge to post a pomegranate recipe.

I have an awesome Dark and White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark recipe that I posted as the first recipe on this blog in 2010. That’s still one of my favorites, an easy, elegant gluten-free dessert. But onto new recipes, for the new year.

I associate pomegranates with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. First of all, pomegranates pop into the stores in fall, around the same time as Rosh Hashanah (although of course the Jewel didn’t have any pomegranates this weekend, so I couldn’t garnish the chicken with fresh pomegranate seeds). Also, pomegranates are said to contain 613 seeds, which is the same number of commandments in the Torah. On Rosh Hashanah, we want to be as full of good deeds in the coming year as the pomegranate has seeds.

Also on Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to eat sweet foods for a sweet new year. This pomegranate-glazed chicken delivers in that category, with a fruity but not overpowering sauce spiced with ginger, cinnamon and cumin. When the chicken is cooked, the pomegranate sauce loses its magenta hue. So, prior to pouring the glaze on the chicken, set some sauce aside and drizzle it on the cooked chicken to brighten the dish. Pomegranate-glazed chicken makes a great, naturally gluten-free entree for Rosh Hashanah or Shabbat.

For tips on getting the seeds out of a pomegranate without staining everything in your entire kitchen, read my Dark and White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark post.

Find more pomegranate recipes (not necessarily gluten-free) from other Kosher Connection bloggers by clicking the frog icon below.

Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken

(gluten-free, dairy-free, Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable recipe


  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds cut-up, bone-in chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish
  • Thinly sliced orange pieces, for garnish


  1. To prepare glaze, combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a small nonstick saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring frequently, until juice is thick, syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken, making sure skillet isn’t too crowded, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Place browned chicken pieces in  9×13-inch roasting pan. Stir ginger, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg into glaze. Pour most of glaze over chicken, reserving a few spoonfuls to use as a garnish. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. To serve, arrange chicken pieces on a serving platter. Drizzle with reserved glaze, and garnish with orange slices and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Yield: 6 servings


Filed under entrees, Jewish holidays, Recipes

Mini Gluten-Free Cheesecakes

mini gluten-free cheesecakes

With gluten-free ginger snap cookies as their base, these mini cheesecakes are easy and delicious.

A classic cheesecake is creamy, smooth and slightly dense without cloying sweetness. The simple ingredients have integrity: cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla. An honest cheesecake wouldn’t disgrace itself by being smothered in a sickeningly sweet strawberry sauce.

Preparation of these mini gluten-free cheesecakes — adapted from Bette Hagman’s Gluten-Free Gourmet cookbook — is as simple as the ingredients. Gluten-free ginger snap cookies serve as the base. (I usually use Mi-Del gluten-free ginger snaps or Trader Joe’s gluten-free ginger snaps.) A light creamy topping conveniently hides any cracks in the top of the cheesecakes.

These cute-as-a-cupcake treats are a perfect dairy dessert for Shavuot. On Shavuot, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah, dairy foods traditionally are eaten.

For other dairy Shavuot recipes, check out the Kosher Connection bloggers by clicking on the icon below. Please note that not all of the recipes are gluten-free.

Mini Gluten-Free Cheesecakes

(gluten-free, dairy)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable Recipe


Mini cheesecakes:

  • 12 gluten-free ginger snap cookies (or other small, round gluten-free cookies)
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


  • 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or other garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Place a ginger snap cookie, flat side down, into the bottom of each cup.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until well-combined, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating just until each egg is incorporated and there are no lumps (you don’t want the batter to be too airy). Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. Pour batter into lined muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the centers are mostly firm; remove from the oven.
  4. Prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon of yogurt mixture onto the top of each mini cheesecake. Return pan to the oven and bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes until topping is set.
  5. Immediately garnish the mini cheesecakes with fresh raspberries, sliced strawberries or any other topping that hits your fancy. Refrigerate mini cheesecakes for at least 1 hour before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes


Filed under Jewish holidays, Recipes

Gluten-Free Passover Foods 2014

passover 2014

Gluten-free Passover foods

Passover is a prime time for gluten-free food, since foods that are kosher for Passover do not contain wheat, rye, barley, spelt or oats — although the big exception is that wheat is used in regular matzah and in products using matzah meal or cake meal.

While many Passover products have always been gluten-free, in the past they have used the Yiddish term “non-gebrokts,” which indicates that no matzah (i.e. wheat) was used in the product. But now many Passover brands are recognizing the gluten-free appeal and specifically labeling their products as gluten-free.

Kedem Food Products began introducing products specifically labeled as certified gluten free five years ago, when it introduced Yehuda Gluten Free Matzo-Style Squares (a great gluten-free matzah). Now, many of Yehuda’s products are certified gluten-free, bearing the GIG’s “Certified GF” logo, meaning they’ve been tested to contain less than 10 ppm of gluten. I’m always more confident in buying a food when I see the certified GF logo.

“It started with Yehuda Gluten Free Matzo Style Squares, and grew from there,” notes Harold Weiss, Kedem vice president of sales, in a press release. “Fast forward five years, and we have a complete offering of gluten free items under various brands including cereals, candies, cake mixes and ingredients all certified GF and many now available year round.”

This year, Kedem introduced a number of new certified gluten free items including Yehuda Gluten Free Chocolate Covered Crackers, Yehuda Gluten Free Soup Crackers, Crispy-Os Gluten Free Cereal, Kedem Tilapia Gefilte Fish (exclusively available at Whole Foods) and Shefa Sweet Goodies.

Kedem Gourmet Passover gefilte fish and Kedem Israeli Style gefilte fish, as well as Rokeach Gourmet Sweet and Heimeshe Sweet gefilte fish, do not contain matzah meal and are gluten-free. (Most other brands contain matza meal and therefore gluten.)

All Manischewitz macaroons are certified gluten-free, too. (I’d take a pass on their new pistachio orange flavor, though.)

Some of my favorite returning gluten-free Passover products are Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares, Lieber’s Knaidel Mix (ie matzo ball mix), Frankel’s frozen Matzo-Free Balls, Jeff Nathan’s Seasoned Panko Flakes, Spring Valley chicken nuggets and blintzes and Gefen tapioca starch in a reclosable canister.

Do yourself a favor and pass over (get it: Passover, ha-ha) any of the gluten-free Passover boxed cake mixes or Passover noodles. They are rarely good.

Find some of my old Passover posts here:
Gluten-free Passover foods 2013
Gluten-free oat matzo 2013
Gluten-free matzo for Passover 2013
Gluten-free Passover foods 2012
Gluten-free Passover foods 2010


Filed under Jewish holidays, Passover