Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
Fun fact: I’ve been in 3 long-term relationships in my life, and all 3 happened to be with nice Jewish boys. Since cooking is one of my favorite ways to show love to people, I’ve made quite few Jewish dishes, and over the past few years I’ve veganized some of my favorites, including challah and rugelach. This year I wanted to try my hand at vegan matzo balls as my contribution to Passover dinner with my boyfriend Eric’s family.
Next year I’ll plan ahead so I can attempt vegan jackfruit or seitan brisket, kugel and flourless chocolate cake! This time around, I spent all of my time researching how to make matzo balls without the traditional schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) for flavor, and without eggs to bind the dry ingredients.
Now, I almost never run into issues veganizing recipes that call for eggs. Flaxseeds, aquafaba, tofu or fruit purée can be substituted into most dishes with no problem. Matzo balls are tricky, however, because they’re cooked in broth and prone to disintegrate without the protein structure of the eggs.
After lots of research and helpful input from some friends on Instagram, I decided to use a mixture of potato starch and chickpea flour to bind the matzo meal, and it worked like a charm! The egg-free matzo balls are a bit more fragile while cooking and require an extra step to help them firm up, but the recipe is otherwise quite simple and easy!
I’d actually never had matzo ball soup before, so I asked Eric how this recipe stacks up against the real deal. He said these are just slightly more dense and less fluffy, but still tasty! If you have time to cook the balls a day in advance (and refrigerate them separately from the soup), I recommend it, as I noticed the leftover balls held their shape beautifully but were also a bit more tender than on the first day.
In a future iteration I may try the recipe with a commercial egg replacer (such as Just Egg or Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg) to see if this provide a bit more structure and fluffiness to the finished product, but for now I’m totally happy with how these turned out. Enjoy!