Easter and Passover Menus: Low-Fat and Vegan

The Physicians Committee

Easter and Passover Menus: Low-Fat and Vegan

Food for Life

We have a variety of low-fat vegan Easter and Passover recipes that can be added and enjoyed at any of your meals. The key is to incorporate fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables into your recipes and to keep your recipes simple. Tips like using vegetable broth in place of oil or creamed cashews in place of dairy products in soups make for tasty, yet healthy, versions of traditional favorites. For more tips like this, click here.

In a meal that is usually centered on dishes rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol, family and friends will truly appreciate the tasty, healthy options you’ve provided for them.

Easter Menu

Tofu Vegetable Hash

Blueberry Pancakes

Muesli Cereal

Broccoli with Vinaigrette

Passover Menu

Passover Haroset

Curried Potatoes

Beet, Jicama, and Carrot Salad


Easter Menu

For this special Easter brunch meal, have a variety of nondairy milks, juices, whole-grain bread, and fresh fruit to complement each dish.

Tofu Vegetable Hash

This hash is a wonderful way to serve a variety of colorful, health-promoting vegetables for breakfast. It’s great on its own or scooped onto half a bagel slice. Consider the use of lime or lemon juice in place of the soy sauce as a salt-free way to add bold flavor to your dish without high levels of sodium.

Makes 8 1-cup servings

2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced

1 tablespoon low-sodium vegetable broth

1 large onion, sliced

2 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 pound firm reduced-fat tofu, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and chopped

1/2 cup water, divided

2 tomatoes, diced

2 cups broccoli florets

2 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steam potatoes until they are just tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside. Heat vegetable broth in a large nonstick skillet, then add onion and mushrooms. Cook over high heat, stirring often, until onion is golden and mushrooms are brown, about 5 minutes.

Add tofu, basil, and 1/4 cup water. Cook 3 minutes over high heat, stirring often and adding small amounts of water if needed to prevent sticking.

Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes, broccoli, bok choy, soy sauce, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir gently to mix, then cover and cook until broccoli is just tender, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Per serving (1 cup): calories: 141; fat: 4.6 g; saturated fat: 0.7 g; calories from fat: 29.7%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 8.7 g; carbohydrate: 19.1 g; sugar: 3.4 g; fiber: 5.5 g; sodium: 249 mg; calcium: 159 mg; iron: 4.3 mg; vitamin C: 53.3 mg; beta-carotene: 3038 mcg; vitamin E: 1 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D., found in Turn Off the Fat Genes by Neal Barnard, M.D.

Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 4 pancakes

This recipe is so easy, you will come back to it for every pancake occasion. Try substituting bananas, apples, or mangos for a tasty variation. Blueberries are full of nutritional value while low in calories. Blueberries are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help fight free radicals.

2/3 cup organic flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon soymilk

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Blueberry syrup (optional):

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

4 tablespoons maple syrup or other liquid sweetener (agave, brown rice syrup, etc.)

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together in a metal bowl until they are combined. Add soymilk to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Stir in blueberries.

Spray skillet with cooking spray and turn on medium heat.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour batter into skillet. When top side bubbles and is mostly firm, flip pancakes over, and cook for another minute to a minute and a half. Repeat with the rest of the batter, if you are not able to fit all 4 pancakes in the same skillet.

To make blueberry syrup, if using: In a small pot, combine blueberries and syrup and stir occasionally over medium heat. Be sure to stir so syrup does not burn. As blueberries soften, press them down with something flat like a spatula until most of them mash into the syrup. Cook syrup for another minute, take off heat, and let cool. Serve on top of pancakes.

Per pancake: calories: 112; fat: 1 g; saturated fat: 0.1 g; calories from fat: 7.4%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 3.8 g; carbohydrate: 22.3 g; sugar: 3.1 g; fiber: 1.6 g; sodium: 417 mg; calcium: 194 mg; iron: 1.7 mg; vitamin C: 1.9 mg; beta-carotene: 6 mcg; vitamin E: 0.7 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb

Muesli Cereal

Muesli is the ideal breakfast what with the warm weather approaching as it is filling like oatmeal, but can be enjoyed with cold plant-based milk. The mixture of preserved and fresh fruit is a delightful combination. Calorie for calorie, oatmeal wins out over sugary corn flakes by helping people feel more satisfied and full, therefore eating less as the day progresses. It helps control the appetite, so it's easier to keep weight in check. While maintaining the health of the digestive tract, fiber also lowers the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes.

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups rolled oats or other rolled whole-grain cereal

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons wheat bran

2 tablespoons currants, raisins, or other dried fruit

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 medium apples with peel, grated

3 tablespoons lemon juice

The night before: Combine oats and water in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving: Add bran, currants or raisins, salt, apples, and lemon juice to the soaked oats.

Note: To make 1 serving, use 6 tablespoons oats, 6 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon bran, 1 teaspoon dried fruit, a pinch of salt, 1/2 small apple, grated, and 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice.

Per serving (1/4 recipe): calories: 172; fat: 2.2 g; saturated fat: 0.4 g; calories from fat: 11.3%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 5.6 g; carbohydrate: 35.1 g; sugar: 11 g; fiber: 5.8 g; sodium: 154 mg; calcium: 28 mg; iron: 1.7 mg; vitamin C: 6.2 mg; beta-carotene: 21 mcg; vitamin E: 0.4 mg

Recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan from Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.

Broccoli with Vinaigrette

America's favorite vegetable is even better when it is served with this delicious fat-free dressing. The dressing is easy to make, keeps well in the refrigerator, and is tasty on other vegetables as well. Broccoli is a brilliantly vibrant green color and contains a strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K – which promote a healthy vision.

Makes 4 servings

1 bunch broccoli

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons stone-ground or Dijon mustard

1 - 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

Break broccoli into bite-size florets. Peel stems and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Steam until just tender, about 3 minutes.

While broccoli is steaming, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a serving bowl. Add steamed broccoli and toss to mix. Serve immediately.

Per serving (1/4 recipe): calories: 36; fat: 0.3 g; saturated fat: 0 g; calories from fat: 7%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 3.3 g; carbohydrate: 7.4 g; sugar: 1.7 g; fiber: 3.1 g; sodium: 74 mg; calcium: 36 mg; iron: 0.7 mg; vitamin C: 41.1 mg; beta-carotene: 1043 mcg; vitamin E: 1.7 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D., found in Food for Life by Neal Barnard, M.D.


Passover Menu

These recipes are Passover-friendly and can be paired well with matzo, freshly-squeezed fruit juice, and plenty of fresh fruit. Fruits and vegetables will help bring color to your table, and with color, the vitamins and antioxidants necessary to keep your body strong and healthy!

Passover Haroset

Makes 8 servings

This is a healthier take on a traditional dish, full of fiber, calcium, and protein. It can be served with a meal or as a delicious snack.

3 apples, chopped

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 to 3 teaspoons grape juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar, or to taste

Combine all ingredients. Let marinate for at least one hour in the fridge before serving with matzo.

Per serving (1/8 of recipe): calories: 126; fat: 9.6 g; saturated fat: 0.9 g; calories from fat: 68.9%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 2.4 g; carbohydrate: 10 g; sugar: 6.3 g; fiber: 2.3 g; sodium: 1 mg; calcium: 21 mg; iron: 0.6 mg; vitamin C: 2.6 mg; beta-carotene: 16 mcg; vitamin E: 0.2 mg

Recipe from The Survivor’s Handbook: Eating Right for Cancer Survival


Curried Potatoes


Makes 5 1-cup servings

Indian spices make this dish burst with flavor. Serve it with brown rice and dark leafy greens to balance out the heat. The potatoes are a great source of soluble fiber which is great for reducing cholesterol levels and keeping blood-sugar levels stable.

4 large red potatoes

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup water, divided

1 onion, chopped

Scrub potatoes, then cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Steam until tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Toast mustard seed, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cayenne, and black pepper in a large, dry non-stick skillet for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Carefully pour in 1/2 cup of water (there will be some splattering).

Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add cooled potatoes, the remaining 1/2 cup of water, and soy sauce. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir before serving.

Per 1-cup serving: calories: 142; fat: 0.8 g; saturated fat: 0.1 g; calories from fat: 5.3%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 3.6 g; carbohydrate: 31.5 g; sugar: 2.5 g; fiber: 4.3 g; sodium: 281 mg; calcium: 46 mg; iron: 3.1 mg; vitamin C: 20.6 mg; beta-carotene: 22 mcg; vitamin E: 0.2 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D. found in Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer by Vesanto Melina

Beet, Jicama, and Carrot Salad


Makes about 8 1/2-cup servings

Three colorful root vegetables combine to make a crunchy, nutritious salad.

2 - 3 medium beets

1 small jicama, peeled and cut in thin strips or diced

2 carrots, peeled and cut in thin strips or diced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons kosher salad dressing of your choice

2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Cut stems and roots off beets, then steam until tender, about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip skins off. Cut beets into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a salad bowl. Add jicama and carrots.

Mix lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and dill. Pour over salad. Toss to mix. Chill before serving if time permits.

Per 1/2-cup serving: calories: 37; fat: 0.2 g; saturated fat: 0 g; calories from fat: 3.9%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 0.8 g; carbohydrate: 8.5 g; sugar: 3.2 g; fiber: 3 g; sodium: 97 mg; calcium: 16 mg; iron: 0.5 mg; vitamin C: 12.1 mg; beta-carotene: 1276 mcg; vitamin E: 0.4 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D. found in Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer by Vesanto Melina


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