Cookbook Recipes

Matzo Ball Soup

A bright orange bowl full of soup -- including a large matzo ball, fresh green herbs, onion, and carrots -- sits on a weathered wooden surface. The bowl also has a smooth metal soup spoon sticking out of it.

I made matzo ball soup for an outdoor seder this past weekend, and it felt so good to be able to cook up a big pot of it to share — it’s been a while since I got to do that. My favorite thing about these mazto balls is that they’re chock full of bits of fresh dill, parsley, and onion — so every bite is full of flavor and herby goodness.

A large matzo ball, off-white with flecks of green, sits in a metal spoon. The spoon is being held over a bright orange bowl full of soup broth, with herbs floating in it, and a wooden table.

Matzo Balls: Two Recipes

Recipes are from Making the Table, with page design by Saif Wideman.

Vegan Chicken Soup

This vegan chicken soup, which is the broth for the matzo balls, is one of my favorite recipes. But to be honest, the Passover version is not usually quite as tasty. The rest of the year the soup gets a veggie broth cube and vegan chicken, which make it flavorful and delicious — these aren’t kosher for Passover, so it usually ends up a little bland at this time of year. But, this year I’ve gotten into making homemade broth from veggie scraps I collect throughout the week, so I was able to use a whole quart (four cups) of homemade broth and it made the soup really delicious!

Cookbook Recipes

Purim is Coming!

When Purim rolls around, I always get excited about making hamantaschen. Here are my recipes for a vegan dough and two fillings — poppy seed and prune. I love both of these fillings, and I just finished cooking them up. This year, I used dried apricots instead of prunes in the recipe — yum.

Hamantaschen are delicious Ashkenazi Jewish cookies made in the triangular shape associated with Haman, the villain of the Purim story. When I was a child, my great aunt would always send us hamantaschen, just in time for Purim. She made some with poppy seed and some with prune filling, which are still my favorites. This dough, which I developed as a recipe specifically for vegan hamantaschen, became the basis for Bread Uprising Bakery’s vegan shortbread cookie dough. The cookies are soft and light; the prune filling has a bit of lemon for a nice kick; and the poppy seed filling combines poppy seeds and almonds for a decadent, nutty flavor. Making the poppy seed filling takes a while and requires a spice/coffee grinder, so make sure to allow enough time. It is definitely worth it—I always have to stop myself from eating the better part of the batch with a spoon before I even get to fill the cookies! The cookies are vegan, which means they’re parve for folks who keep kosher.

Cookie Dough

Makes: 3 dozen 2 ½ inch cookies
Prep time: 45 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours or more
Bake time: 14-17 minutes

½ cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance,
  softened at room temperature for 30 minutes (1 stick, or 115 grams)
¾ cup granulated sugar (165 grams)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup water (55 grams)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (315 grams)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt


  1. Place softened vegan butter in a large bowl, and cream with a spoon until smooth. Add the sugar, and cream until smooth and well mixed. Add the vanilla and stir to mix.
  2. Add the water little by little, a tablespoon at a time, stirring continuously to emulsify it with the fat. Once all the water is added, beat until well mixed—it should be smooth, fluffy, and light in color.
  3. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and fluff with a whisk or fork. Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and gently mix until just combined. Add the rest of the flour mixture, and gently mix until just combined. You should have a smooth, soft, evenly mixed dough that can hold together in the middle of the bowl.
  4. Wrap dough in a plastic bag or piece of plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or for up to 3 days. If chilling for longer than 2 hours, remove the dough from the fridge 15-20 minutes before rolling out to let it soften slightly. When ready to use, remove dough from plastic wrap and knead about 3 times—this is called “breaking” the dough, which helps the fats bond together so the dough won’t crumble while you work with it.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly flour a smooth, flat work surface and roll half of the dough out thin—between 1/8-3/16 of an inch thick. Use a 2 ½ inch round cutter or drinking glass to cut out the cookies. Maximize your use of the dough by cutting the cookies as close together as possible: the more you work with the dough and the more flour gets added, it can become tough.
  6. Use a thin spatula to pick up each cookie, placing them on a parchment-lined sheet pan with about 1 inch of space between them.
  7. Place about 1 ½ tsp of filling in the center of each cookie, and form the cookie into a triangle around the filling. Use 2 index fingers to form the first corner, then the thumb and index finger of one hand to make the other 2 corners so that you have an equilateral triangle and a small opening over the filling in the middle.
  8. Make sure there is at least 1 ½ inches of space between the cookies on the pan, and adjust if necessary.
  9. Place pan in oven and immediately turn oven down to 350°F. Bake 14-17 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes. They are done when the tips of each corner have turned a light golden brown.
  10. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack or a towel to cool. Let cool before eating—if you can wait!

Prune Filling

Makes: About 1 ½ cups, enough for 3 dozen 2 ½ inch cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Cool time: 20-30 minutes

1 tsp grated lemon peel
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups prunes, loosely packed (300 grams)
1 cup water (220 grams)
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 packed cup brown sugar (70 grams)


  1. Zest or grate the lemon peel, using only the yellow parts of the peel. Juice the lemon until you have 3 Tbsp of juice, and remove seeds.
  2. Place prunes, water, salt, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Immediately reduce heat to the lowest possible simmer and cook, stirring every few minutes or so to prevent sticking.
  3. After about 10 minutes, once the prunes begin to get soft, use a wooden spoon to mash them up directly in the pot, and continue cooking. There is no need to create a smooth paste—just break up the large lumps of prune so that it will be easy to fill the cookies. Continue to simmer the mixture on the lowest possible heat for 5-10 more minutes until you have a thick paste.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves. Cool for at least 20 minutes before using. The filling doesn’t need to be cold—though it can be if you want to make it ahead and store in the fridge until using—it just needs to be comfortable to touch and work with.

Poppy Seed Filling

Makes: about 1 ½ cups, enough for 3 dozen 2 ½ inch cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cool time: 20-30 minutes

½ cup poppy seeds (75 grams)
½ cup almonds or almond meal (70 grams)
1 cup plain unsweetened soy or almond milk (230 grams)
2 tsp tapioca starch or corn starch
1 Tbsp vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp honey (can substitute maple syrup)
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)


  1. Grind the poppy seeds and almonds in a spice grinder or a fancy, high-powered blender like a Vitamix (the equipment really matters here—review note). Ground poppy seeds should be darker in color than when they were whole, but still crunchy if you taste a bit of the ground mixture. Almonds can easily be ground in a food processor or spice grinder, or you can use store-bought almond meal. Almonds should be as powdery as possible without turning into a paste.
  2. Place ground poppy seeds, ground almonds, and nut milk in a small saucepan. If possible, use a non-stick, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sprinkle with tapioca or corn starch, and stir. Add the vegan butter.
  3. On the lowest possible heat, cook the poppy seed mixture for 20 minutes, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. The mixture should turn to a paste thick enough that stiff peaks will hold their shape when a dollop of it is dropped from a spoon.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, honey, lemon juice, almond extract, salt, and cinnamon (if using). The mixture will become much wetter.
  5. Return to heat, still at the lowest possible heat, and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring continuously. It should be the consistency of thick grits—if this means nothing to you, you’re missing out on a delicious hot breakfast cereal.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 20 minutes before filling cookies. The filling doesn’t need to be cold—though it can be if you want to make it ahead and store it in the fridge until using—it just needs to be comfortable to touch and work with.

Note: Poppy seeds are a tiny seed with a very hard outer husk that prevents them from softening while cooking. Many traditional Eastern European recipes that use poppy seeds require soaking them overnight in milk to soften them, but in this recipe, grinding replaces that time-consuming process. By using a spice/coffee grinder or high-powered blender, you can add the entire ½ cup of poppy seeds at once, grind for 20-30 seconds, and voilà: you have ground poppy seeds! Because they are so small, it is not possible to grind them in a food processor, and because they are oily, they break down when crushed in a mortar and pestle. The grinding can be done in a common kitchen blender, but it has to be in 8 tiny batches, 2 tablespoons at a time—very tedious. If you don’t have a spice grinder or fancy high-powered blender, I suggest borrowing one from a friend, or just making the prune filling instead. If you use a coffee grinder, your poppy seeds will have a slight coffee flavor even if you clean the grinder out first—which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Cookbook Recipes


I made these brownies today. I usually make them with walnuts, but I was sending some to a friend with a nut allergy, so I put in extra chocolate chips instead. I also added a teaspoon of rosewater—a bright floral taste, perfect for these newly cold days!

In Making the Table, I write about the process of developing this brownie recipe, and its vegan counterpart (also in the book), as a parallel process to the dreaming and experimentation that is so important for social justice movements. When we long for something so much that we can “almost taste the joy of its textures” on our tongues, it’s time to set to work creating it!

“We probably won’t perfect a recipe on the first try—most learning requires mistakes. In community organizing, people’s lives and livelihoods may literally be at stake, but in the home kitchen, we are unlikely to poison anyone with our experiments. The kitchen can be a lab not just for recipes, but for building necessary movement skills like creativity, letting go, and celebrating our failures.”

Here’s the recipe, excerpted from Making the Table (uncorrected proof):


Here’s what’s inside!

We are excited to share a preview of the Table of Contents for Making the Table: Vegetarian Recipes to Nourish Community! The book is full of delicious recipes, tips, and reflections on cooking, ancestry, liberation, and love. Which recipe are you most excited to make?