Tag Archives: Passover

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

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Gluten-Free Passover Meringues

meringues

I’ve posted a couple of variants on meringues, but these were our prettiest yet, deserving of their own post. Plus, these meringue cookies make for a quick and easy gluten-free, dairy-free Passover dessert, requiring no special equipment or ingredients — pretty much just eggs, sugar and a mixer.

When I first started this blog in 2010, I posted a recipe for chocolate-chip and double chocolate meringues, with a really ugly photo, before I learned that you never, ever want to use a flash for food photography. And I also previously posted a recipe for cute ghost meringues for Halloween.

Piping these meringues seemed like a pain, so my daughter and I originally started by scooping spoonfuls of meringue and flinging the sticky meringue onto a baking sheet. But we found out that piping actually was so much easier and prettier. All you need are disposable pastry bags and a large star tip — OK, and some practice piping, because it does take a while to perfect the skill. (I highly recommend taking a cake decorating class if you foresee making a lot of gluten-free birthday cakes or desserts in your future.)

Meringues are true sugar cookies because the main ingredient is, well, sugar. My youngest daughter is crazy for them.

My oldest daughter is trying a low-FODMAP diet to help with her non-celiac stomach issues, so these meringues are a good low-FODMAP dessert. (FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are sometimes poorly digested by the small intestine, causing irritable bowel symptoms like pain, bloating and gas when they pass into the large intestine. … Sorry if I just killed your meringue sugar buzz, but it’s good to know about FODMAPs because they will be increasingly in the health news.)

Gluten-Free Passover Meringues

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

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, and beat until stiff. Gradually add sugar and continue beating. Beat in vanilla extract.
  3. Put a large star tip on a disposable pastry bag. Fill the bag with the meringue mixture and twist the top to close. Pipe the meringues onto the lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for one hour. Allow meringues to cool and store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 24 meringue cookies

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Chicken Baked with Babaganoush

chicken baked with babaganoush

Chicken baked with babaganoush, gluten-free

 

“Chicken, again?!” is a refrain I hear a lot in my house, especially from my oldest daughter … not that I’m pointing fingers or anything.

Let’s face it — unless you are a vegetarian — chicken makes for a good dinner: It’s easy, high in protein, filling and most people like it, so it’s good for guests. But sometimes, it can be rather run of the mill.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe that will elevate your weeknight chicken dish with a burst of flavor: chicken breasts baked with babganoush. The Mediterranean eggplant spread lends its slightly garlicky and smoky flavor to enhance chicken. Plus, the coating of babaganoush helps seal in juices, making for a more moist, flavorful chicken breast.

The awesome folks at Joy of Kosher asked me to develop a recipe using one of Sabra’s Mediterranean salads, for their #ShareSabra campaign. I was happy to, since all of Sabra’s products are gluten-free. Sabra’s babaganoush does not contain sesame, which is a bit untraditional but good with our family, since my father is severely allergic to sesame and I tend to stay away from it out of habit.

 

chicken and babaganoush

To make the chicken, spoon babaganoush on top of each chicken breast, so the top of each breast is evenly covered with a thick layer of babaganoush. Sprinkle the tops with paprika and some fresh parsley, and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. (You can try this same technique using hummus instead of babaganoush.)

With babaganoush that is labeled kosher for Passover, this dish becomes a quick way to brighten up the Passover table with a burst of flavor. You can’t beat that for ease and convenience.

Please see my full recipe for Chicken Baked with Babaganoush on the Joy of Kosher site.

This post is sponsored by Sabra, but all opinions are my own. With Joy of Kosher’s #ShareSabra contest, you could win $200 just by sharing photos of your food, your family and your friends (and it does not need to be with a Sabra product).

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Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell

strawberry macaroon tart

Strawberry-vanilla tart in macaroon shell, gluten-free

Here’s a simple dessert that’s gluten-free and kosher for Passover. Use macaroons to make a crisp tart shell, top with a quick vanilla pudding and layer with sliced strawberries. With only a little bit of effort you’ll have an elegant strawberry-vanilla tart in a macaroon shell — perfect for this month’s Kosher Connection challenge to create a Passover dessert.

I strongly recommend making the dessert in a tart pan, not a pie dish. When I first made it in a pie dish, it didn’t cut into pretty slices. With a tart pan, you can remove the sides and keep the tart on the pan’s metal base, or you can slide a knife under the tart and transfer it to a serving plate. One other caveat: After it’s been cut into, this tart does not keep well because the pudding seeps out. So once you start it, it’s best to finish it that day.

The recipe is gluten-free and kosher for Passover. If you want to make a dairy-free strawberry macaroon tart, omit the pudding, pile the macaroon crust full of sliced strawberries and brush the top with melted strawberry jam.

Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell

(gluten-free, kosher for Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Print this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) can macaroons
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides.
  2. Chop macaroons finely in a food processor. Pour in melted butter and process until crumbs start to come together. Press macaroon crumbs into bottom and sides of the tart pan. Put the tart shell on a baking sheet, slide into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm.
  3. For the vanilla pudding, mix together sugar, potato starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in a small amount of the milk (about 1/4 cup) and whisk to form a smooth paste. Pour in the rest of the milk and stir well.
  4. Cook pudding over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it thickens and bubbles around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let pudding cool for 5 minutes, then pour it into macaroon tart shell while still warm. Top with sliced strawberries arranged in concentric circles and refrigerate.

Yield: 8 servings

For more Passover desserts, check out this month’s Kosher Connection link-up. Please be aware that not all desserts listed are gluten-free. Click on the frog icon for links to other great blogs:

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Gluten-Free Passover Foods 2013

Because wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats aren’t allowed on Passover (unless they’re in matzo or matzo meal), Passover can be a great gluten-free holiday. You can find gluten-free versions of foods that you can’t find the rest of the year, like gluten-free matzo ball mix, blintzes, cookies and cakes. But be careful to avoid my eternal mistake (when will I ever learn?), and don’t overbuy Passover products. Passover foods are almost always expensive, but they don’t always taste great.

Many foods are labeled “gluten-free” and some are labeled “non-gebrokts” (which is basically the equivalent of gluten-free). Non-gebrokts foods are increasing in popularity because of the growing Hassidic population and gluten-free population.

passover-2

– My top recommendation is Lieber’s Knaidel Mix. This gluten-free matzo ball mix makes light and fluffy matzo balls (called knaidlach in Yiddish). My guests have asked for seconds, unaware that the matzo balls were gluten-free. Another gluten-free matzo ball option is Frankel’s Matzo-Free Balls. These premade frozen gluten-free matzo balls (six to a package) are convenient when you want to take individual gluten-free matzo balls to a relative’s house to drop in their chicken soup.

passover-3

– Don’t let the “breaded” fool you, Spring Valley Breaded Chicken Pattie Nuggets (sorry, I can’t find an online link) are coated with potato starch – a great find, since it’s hard to find gluten-free kosher chicken nuggets. Make sure the bag is labeled kosher for Passover and non-gebrokts. I also bought Spring Valley Frozen Stuffed Chicken Rolls — a good gluten-free kosher quick lunch. Also, it’s hard to find gluten-free blintzes during the year, so I stock up on gluten-free Spring Valley Blintzes, which come in cheese, apple and blueberry flavors. Make sure the box is labeled kosher for Passover and non-gebrokts, as only the Passover blintzes are gluten-free, not the ones they produce the rest of the year.

– Frankel’s makes a frozen gluten-free Passover cheesecake that’s great, as well as gluten-free potato knishes and gluten-free blintzes.

– Gefilte fish often is part of Passover meals, but most gefilte fish contains matzo meal. For the past few years, I’ve bought Kedem Gourmet Gefilte Fish, which is made without matzo meal, is gluten-free and does not contain MSG. This year, I also spotted Rokeach “Gourmet Sweet” and Rokeach “Heimeshe Sweet” gluten-free gefilte fish. Also, some of the frozen gefilte fish loaves are gluten-free.

– Most macaroons are gluten-free, including Manischewitz and Streit’s macaroons, which also use sulfite-free coconut. This year, Manischewitz introduced a frozen gluten-free macaroon dough.

– There has been a debate the past few years about whether quinoa is kosher for Passover. Quinoa is not a grain, but some want to count it as kitniyot and not permit it. Other rabbis say it’s fine for Passover. For a discussion of quinoa, see this article, “Quinoa, ‘mother of all grains,’ may (or may not) be kosher for Passover” published by the JTA news service, which has a quote at the end from me. (To save you the suspense, here’s the quote: “It’s a tiny powerhouse packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and it’s an important grain alternative, especially on Passover,” Becker said. “It’s great to have it on Passover instead of the usual potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Most of the Passover foods just end up tasting like Passover, so we rely on quinoa to be that side staple.”)

– I’ve already discussed gluten-free matzo-style squares and gluten-free oat matzos in other posts, so I’ll be brief here. Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares are tasty, gluten-free matzos that taste like crispy flatbread crackers. Yehuda also offers a toasted onion flavor and a fiber-enriched version, as well as gluten-free matzo crackers. I still haven’t tried to cook with Yehuda gluten-free cake meal, but some readers have told me that they haven’t been successful with it. This year, Manischewitz came out with its own Gluten-Free Matzo Squares along with gluten-free Passover crackers.

– New this year is a seasoned version of Jeff Nathan Creations Gluten-Free Panko Flakes. I used the plain panko flakes last year as a gluten-free crumb coating for chicken and fish and liked their texture. But they didn’t have much taste, so I’m happy to see a seasoned version.

– I hate it when I open a bag of tapioca starch and get coated in a puff of white powder. So I like the fact that Gefen Tapioca Starch comes in an easily reclosable canister. I also like the reclosable canisters of potato starch from a few Passover brands.

Dr Praeger’s offers some nice gluten-free options year-round and even more during Passover. I bought “Potato Crusted Fishies,” though now my kids have informed me that they will not eat fish sticks. Go figure.

passover food-1

– You can now buy so many gluten-free cookies, crackers and cakes throughout the year, it doesn’t make sense to buy the Passover versions, which are generally less nutritious and less tasty. Sometimes I’m tempted to buy the boxed bakery-style cookies, though most tend to be expensive and sugary. Still, it is sometimes nice to keep a box or two in the freezer. Shabtai Gourmet, a kosher bakery, is dedicated to baking gluten-free Passover goodies year-round. Oberlander’s , Schick’s and Hagadda also have a selection of gluten-free, bakery-style Passover cakes and cookies. I skip the Passover cake mixes; they’re generally not great. There are some frozen cake loaves that can be worthwhile, such as Osem marble cake and pound cake, which are small and easy to keep in the freezer.

– Generally, I skip the Passover noodles, pizza, pancakes and waffles. They usually end up mushy and gummy. Although this year I did buy frozen Heaven and Health gluten-free potato gnocchi.

– I’m always tempted by snack foods. I love all the boxes of chocolate available at Passover, though check the ingredients — not all are gluten-free. For snacks this year, I bought Guiltless Gourmet Crunchies nut squares and Paskesz Soft Crunch granola-style bars.

Click here for my shortened, printable gluten-free Passover shopping list.

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Fudgy Cream Cheese Brownies and Three-Cheese Eggplant Roll-Ups

fudgy cream cheese brownies

Fudgy, flourless cream cheese brownies, gluten-free

eggplant rollatini

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups, gluten-free

While the rest of the community whines about giving up wheat on Passover, we gluten-free cooks have it pretty easy. We’re used to cooking without wheat and looking for creative alternatives to grains. While others try to make food with matzo meal, we stay away from the tasteless stuff. This frees us to be more creative with grain-free recipes that taste great during Passover and year-round, like these gluten-free flourless, fudgy cream-cheese brownies and three-cheese eggplant roll-ups.

On Passover, one of my favorite products is Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese — it’s airy, fluffy and spreads easily on matzo, especially on fragile gluten-free matzo that crumbles easily. I usually buy several containers (so does my neighbor Dani, who buys 10 Temp Tee tubs to last well after Passover). So when Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher asked bloggers to create recipes with Temp Tee cream cheese, I jumped at the chance. (Check out all the recipes at Joy of Kosher’s “matzah fatigue” page.)

I recently created fudgy, flourless brownies that not only are gluten-free but also are kosher for Passover. I ramped up the “wow” factor by adding a rich cream cheese swirl, using fluffy Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese.

To counter the sweets, I came up with gluten-free eggplant rollups (or eggplant rollatini, if you want to sound fancy) with a three-cheese filling of cream cheese, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.

But let’s start with the sweets, since that’s the best part.

choc chips and butter

First some prep: Place 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half-power for 1 minute, or until melted. Stir until well-combined and set aside to cool a bit.

Then line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending up the sides of the pan. This will come in handy later, when you lift the brownies out of the pan to cut them. (One of my favorite baking tips.)

brownie ingredients

With your mixer (or by hand), beat 2 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until combined. Slowly mix in melted chocolate. Then add 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, because don’t you think we need more chocolate? And then spread the batter into the baking pan.

Now it’s time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating, wash out your mixing bowl and make the cream cheese topping. Beat 8 ounces whipped cream cheese with a mixer. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix until it’s all smooth and creamy, with nary a lump.

cream cheese swirl

Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Drag a knife through the batter several times to create a marbled design. (You may need to dredge up some thick brownie batter from the bottom to get a good marbled effect.)

Bake for 35 minutes until the brownies feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan (or refrigerate) so they’ll be easier to cut. When cool, lift the brownies out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Place the parchment paper on a cutting board and cut the brownies into 25 squares.

Now on to the three-cheese eggplant roll-ups. Wasn’t it fun to have dessert before dinner?

eggplant

For the eggplant roll-ups, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cut 2 medium eggplants into thin slices. Trim the top and lop off the bottom of the eggplant, so it can stand up on the cutting board without wobbling. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices that are 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Now we’ll need to soften the eggplant, so put the eggplant on baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. Brush the eggplant with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the eggplant is soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 egg, 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese, 1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese (low-fat is fine), 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until well-blended.

rollups

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place a spoonful of the cheese filling at the bottom edge of each eggplant slice and roll up. Lay rolls seam side down in the baking dish, placing the rolls close to each other. Pour 1 cup marinara sauce over top of the rolls and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. (If you like a little spice, you can sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes over the top.) Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.

For the complete printable recipes see the Joy of Kosher website:

Fudgy cream-cheese brownies

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups

This post is sponsored by Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher.

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Gluten-Free Matzo for Passover-Part 2

gf matzos

Recently, I wrote a post about gluten-free oat matzo for Passover. Fortunately, there’s also a different kind of gluten-free matzo on the block. These gluten-free “matzo-style squares” are matzo alternatives that taste better than regular wheat matzo or gluten-free oat matzo. With a crisp, cracker consistency, these gluten-free matzos are good enough to be eaten year-round (really!).

Made primarily from potato starch and tapioca starch, and lightly salted, the matzos have a delicate taste, unlike regular dry matzo that leaves you parched and scrambling for water. Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares have been on the market for the past two years. Not to be left out, Manischewitz came out with its own “Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares” this year. (How odd that they have the same name.)

Now, these matzos don’t technically meet the seder requirements of matzo — that’s why you’ll notice a disclaimer on the box that says “not a replacement for seder matzo” or “not for sacramental purposes.” At the seder the Hamotzi blessing is supposed to be said over matzo made from one of five grains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats. That’s why some people turn to gluten-free oat matzo, though the oat matzo tastes like cardboard and is much more expensive, because of the supervision involved in ensuring that it’s both gluten-free and kosher for Passover.

The Manischewitz and Yehuda gluten-free matzo-style squares are very similar — with a crisp, flatbread consistency. Manischewitz is cheaper, which is always a plus, though I like Yehuda’s flavor slightly better. Both are certified gluten-free, and both do not contain oats (doctors now say that most celiacs can tolerate pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats, but some celiacs still have reactions from oats). Yehuda and Manischewitz also make smaller gluten-free matzo crackers, too.

Last year, Yehuda added a toasted onion flavor, and this year adds a fiber-enriched version. The fiber-enriched version has 3 grams of dietary fiber, compared to 1.2 grams in the regular matzo squares. The additional fiber comes in the form of “apple fiber” and “plant fiber.” The fiber-enriched version is dry, though. If you want fiber, you’d probably be better off eating a fresh apple, which has 4 grams of fiber, instead of eating apple fiber in your matzo.

Depending on where you live, these matzos can be hard to find. I’ve found them at a local Jewel that has a good kosher selection. Some Whole Foods stores (at least in Chicago) carry the Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares, too. You can also order them online, or ask if your local grocery store can order them for you.

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Gluten-Free Oat Matzo 2013

oat matza2

Gluten-free oat matzo for Passover

This Passover brings more gluten-free matzo choices than ever, which is a welcome relief from a few short years ago when you had to hunt to find any gluten-free options.

Gluten-free matzo falls into two categories. The first is gluten-free oat matzo, which is expensive and tastes like cardboard, but is the ritually correct type of matzo to include in a Passover seder. During the Passover seder, the Hamotzi blessing should be recited over matzo made from one of five grains (wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats), so gluten-free oat matzo qualifies.

The other type of gluten-free matzo is much more tasty (good enough to eat year-round as a crispy flatbread cracker) and much cheaper, but is made primarily from potato starch and tapioca starch. These “matzo-style squares” don’t meet ritual requirements, because they don’t contain wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats, so the box states “not a replacement for seder matzo” or “not for sacramental purposes.”  Yehuda has produced matzo-style squares since 2011, and Manischewitz has come out with its own version this year. (For more information, Tablet magazine published an interesting discussion of the merits of gluten-free matzo.)

Gluten-Free Oat Matzo

In this post, I focus on gluten-free oat matzo. Stay tuned for my post later this week about “matzo-style squares.” (Update: Posted 3/8. “Gluten-Free Matzo for Passover Part 2.”)

A few years ago, oat matzo was the only kind of gluten-free matzo on the market, and it cost about $35-$40/box. Now, prices have come down to about $20-$25/box. There are two versions: machine-made matzas, which are square, and handmade matzas, which are round and are kneaded and baked by hand.

Lakewood Matzah uses certified gluten-free oats that are grown, cleaned and ground in a gluten-free environment. The oat matzo is certified gluten-free by the GFCO, making it a safe choice for celiacs. Their matzo comes in two versions: Gluten Free Oat Machine (Square) Matzoh, $25.99 per lb, with nine matzos per pound, and Gluten Free Oat Hand (Round) Matzoh, $25.99 for three hand matzohs (at least half a pound).

Gluten-Free Oat Matzos. Rabbi Kestenbaum’s gluten-free oat matzos were the first, and for many years the only, gluten-free matzos on the market. Based in London, Kestenbaum has been making them for more than 20 years. This year, for the first time, his Gluten-Free Oat Matzos are certified by the GFCO, making them a safe choice for celiacs. They cost about $29.99 per pound.

Click to read our Q&A interview with Lakewood Matzoh

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Gluten-Free Passover Foods 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Update 3/14/13: For my 2013 gluten-free Passover list, click here.)

Passover, an eight-day holiday that celebrates when the Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt, seems to be a great gluten-free holiday. On Passover, we cannot eat any leavened bread — basically, no wheat, rye, barley, spelt or oats. Sounds great so far, right? But here’s the rub: On Passover, we eat matzo, which is made from wheat. Many Passover foods are made with matzo meal, so you need to read labels carefully to avoid matzo meal. Still, Passover is a great opportunity to stock up on some gluten-free foods that are hard to find year-round.

Gluten-free Passover foods are either marked as “gluten free” or as “non-gebrokts” (which means it does not contain matzo meal and is therefore gluten-free). While there are many gluten-free Passover products, many of them are expensive, don’t taste great and don’t have much nutritional value. That’s due to Passover prohibitions against other foods such as rice, corn and soy, which means that most Passover products rely on potato starch and lack in taste and nutrition.

I used to buy bags of gluten-free products during Passover, but I don’t do that as much anymore. (Well, that’s what I say, but my grocery bills and pantry indicate otherwise.) I skip most of the Passover cookies and cake mixes, as well as the Passover noodles, waffles and pizza made with potato flour; they’re simply not worth the poor taste and the expense.

If you can find a grocery store with a large kosher section, or a dedicated kosher grocery store, look for these gluten-free, kosher for Passover products that have made it into my grocery cart. (These represent my personal opinion. I am not compensated for reviews, nor did I accept free samples.)

Click for printable gluten-free Passover shopping list

Continue reading my gluten-free Passover shopping list.

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GF Matzo: Better Than the Real Deal

Saying something “tastes better than matzo” is not normally the strongest compliment. After all, matzo is somewhat dry and tasteless. But when a gluten-free product tastes better than the real deal, it’s cause for celebration.

New this year, Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares have a lighter, more tender taste that traditional matzo. With a hint of salt, they taste similar to a thin, flaky flatbread or cracker. We opened a box so we could taste the product, and since then my kids have been begging for more. Seriously. And it’s not even Passover yet.

During the eight-day holiday of Passover, we do not eat grains that can ferment and become leavened. Interestingly, those grains are wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt — the same glulten-containing grains that people with celiac disease must not eat. However, in another twist, matzo must be made from one of those five grains, though the flour must come into contact with water for less than 18 minutes so it doesn’t rise.

For the past few years, we’ve bought gluten-free oat matzo. It was expensive ($25 to $35 a box) and tasted only slightly better than the actual box.

The new Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares aren’t halachically (according to Jewish law) a replacement for matzo at the seder, since they are made from potato starch and tapioca starch, instead of wheat or oats. That’s why they are called “matzo style” instead of just “matzo.” But they taste better than gluten-free oat matzo and, at $5 to $7 a box, they are priced better too.

If you would like to buy gluten-free oat matzo that meets seder requirements, try Lakewood Matzoh or Gluten-Free Oat Matzos. Last year, Gluten-Free Oat Matzos had problems with cross-contamination at the factory, resulting in 80 ppm of gluten. This year, they say they’ve tested the oat matzo repeatedly and it was less than 5ppm. (A gluten-free product should be under 20ppm, under proposed FDA guidelines.)

I can’t find a link to buy the Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares online, but I bought them at a Chicago-area Jewel-Osco that carries kosher food. Happy Passover!

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