Review: Vegan Start Passover Cookbook

passover-vegan-chocolate-dessertI’ve been stressing about Passover cooking. My 18-year-old son became vegan a few months ago, and I’m afraid my usual menu plan might leave him hungry. Because of the prohibitions against seeds and legumes (kitniyot) in the Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish Passover tradition, vegan staples like lentils, beans and sesame are off the table.

Fortunately, my friend Rena Reich came to the rescue with the publication of her new cookbook, Vegan Start Passover Cookbook. You can read my interview with Rena from a few years ago.

The recipes in this vegan cookbook do not contain animal products such as eggs, dairy, fish, or meat. They also contain no seeds or legumes. Although many Ashkenazim today do eat quinoa, Rena decided to leave that out too. So these recipes will be acceptable to most Passover-observant guests you are likely to host.

Several of Rena’s recipes answered questions I have been asking myself. How can you make vegan matza balls (kneidlech) that won’t fall apart? What about kugels (vegetable pudding), mayonnaise, and matza brei (French toast made with matza)? Rena provides solutions, without eggs, for all of these.

Vegan Start Passover Cookbook includes a vegan Seder menu, with ideas for vegan substitutes for the egg and bone on the Seder plate. I found the recipes for soups, sides and salads to be similar to those throughout the year, since most vegetables are kosher for Passover. She bases the main course recipes on mushrooms, and potatoes, and other vegetables, like Mushroom Burgers, Gnocchi and Ratatouille. I suggest adding herbs to spice up some of the savory recipes.

Passover desserts create a special challenge for vegans, but Vegan Start Passover Cookbook does not disappoint! Choices include Apple Cake, Almond Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Torte, and Chocolate Truffles. The chocolate mousse contains a surprise ingredient.

Two specialty recipes that I definitely plan to try, or have my son try, are almond milk and mayonnaise. These high-priced items are expensive when ready-made, and often full of additives. Rena’s mayonnaise is based on oil and almond milk (or another vegan milk).

Rena has offered to give away 3 copies of the book to readers. Here are three ways to enter:

  1. For one entry: Leave a comment on this post.
  2. Earn two entries: Share this post publicly on your personal Facebook profile, and leave a comment below with your profile name.
  3. Earn two entries: Share this post on Twitter and leave a comment below with your user name.

Giveaway ends Sunday, March 22 Wednesday, March 25, and winners will be chosen at random.

Update: Congratulations to the winners, Rachel, Aviva and Yocheved! Thank you to all who entered. 

You can order Vegan Start Passover Cookbook for your Kindle via Amazon, or as a PDF directly from the website.

Want more recipes for both vegans and carnivores? Check out Passover Recipes and Cooking Techniques.


  1. http://sarah says

    This would be an awesome thing to win! Thanks for the entry!

  2. http://adina says

    I would love to win a copy of this – So useful ESPECIALLY give all the traditional Pesach limitations! I’ll share this on FB too –
    –adina sherer

  3. http://blima says

    hope to win

  4. http://Miriam%20Rudnick says

    I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to win this awesome looking cookbook!

  5. http://Danit says

    My son is allergic to dairy and eggs. This would be so helpful for pesach !!

  6. http://Carol says

    I would love to win!!!

  7. http://Shoshana says

    I would love to win!

  8. http://Rachel says

    Sounds like an interesting cook book. I would really love it.

  9. http://Natalie says

    Would love this…looking for a healthier way of eating, passover & year round!

  10. http://N%20Davidson says

    This would be amazing!!!

  11. http://Helen says

    I’d love to win! Thanks for the entry!

  12. http://Bia%20Klein says

    My son and daughter-in-law are vegans. Pesach is a nightmare. I’m desperate!

  13. Must share immediately with a vegan friend!

  14. http://CArol%20Labelson says

    The perfect cookbook for all the Passover guests allergic to eggs and seeds.

  15. Sounds great – I’m wondering what to give our vegetarian daughter and since we’re fleishig for most of yomtov, vegan foods will be ideal.

  16. http://Sandy%20w says

    my daughter has an egg and dairy allergy. Pesach is so difficult. This cookbook would be so helpful.

  17. http://Marna%20Becker says

    My husband has dietary needs that fit these criteria and I’m super excited to have a chance to win Rena’s book! Thanks for doing this giveaway 🙂

  18. http://Ellen says

    Please enter us to win! And meanwhile can we see a sample recipe?

  19. http://Ellen says

    Shared on Facebook!

  20. http://e.s. says

    This sounds like a wonderful cookbook.

  21. http://Aviva says

    Have mercy on my mother, she really needs this!

  22. http://Ruth says

    Hope to win!
    -Ruth Kilner

  23. http://Ruth says

    Shared on facebook.
    FB ID is ruth.kilner

  24. http://Ruth says

    Tweeted too.

  25. http://Gill%20marks%20green says

    I would love to win this book, as my daughter is vegan too. Challenging days ahead! I shared on facebook

  26. http://Jacky says

    This would be awesome to win!

  27. http://Nettie says

    Looking forward to reading this cookbook

  28. http://Havah says

    My husband and I are vegan and I’d love to win this! Nothing beats a parve kitchen 🙂

  29. http://Gillian%20Kay says

    My daughter is vegetarian with vegan leanings and we don’t eat kitniyot, so this would be a great help.

    • http://Gillian%20Kay says

      My daughter is vegetarian with vegan leanings and we don’t eat kitniyot, so this would be a great help.
      (Shared on facebook and tweeted too)

  30. It is so hard to go through Passover with a limited and meat-free diet. Any help would be appreciated!!! Thanks for your compilation!

  31. http://Nicole says

    I am a vegan with Celiac Disease, so this cookbook for Pesach would be super helpful. Thank you!

  32. http://Rivkah%20Adler says

    A vegetarian in my family is on an elimination diet – no eggs, no dairy – the timing of which coincides with Pesach. It would be great to have options from this cookbook.

  33. Vegan dining can save lives and prevent agony. I owe my life and the quality of my life to going organic vegetarian. I took on veganism after I understood how much more it can improve and protect human health. And I do book reviews!

  34. http://Sarah%20Bronson says

    I just recently decided to go vegan, and this book would be a life-saver! Pick me!

  35. oh this would be a great help for me, too! My nephew’s gone vegan and I wouldn’t want him to be stuck on side dishes only this seder… 🙂

  36. I extended the contest until Wednesday. Good luck, everyone!

  37. I’d love a chance to win this cookbook-sounds wonderful!

  38. http://Devorah%20Shaked says

    Your Passover cooking experiences, while meeting your needs as a vegan, has apparently led to good results. Most interested to see if many of your recipes would meet the needs of diet required for those who need to watch cholesterol levels. And the diet needs of those who can not eat gluten. Continued success in vegan cooking.

  39. I would love a copy of this vegan cookbook. Thanks.

  40. http://Ava%20Pepin says

    My email is all in lower caps but my keyboard won’t let me do it any other way right now, so as long as you know, just in case I win….but if I don’t win how much is your cookbook anyway? I think I would like to buy it since my two year old twins still cannot have dairy and my hubby is allergic to chicken and eggs so Pesach is basically meat and potatoes at night and jam on matza in the morning! B”H my kids are easy going about food! Pesach Samayach! Chava

  41. http://Deena%20Kleinman says

    Recipes sound awesome! Thx!

  42. http://Marisa says

    As a vegan, I’d really really love to win!!

  43. The winners, picked via a random number generator ( are Rachel, Aviva, and Yocheved. I will let Rena know your email addresses and a copy of the ebook will be on its way!

    Thank you all for participating!

    If you didn’t win and would like to purchase the book, it’s available at

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