Passover Haroseth is a traditional family favorite – and every Jewish family has their own recipe, usually handed down from parent to child. Recently we were lucky enough to make haroseth with our friend Emily. She shared her generations-old recipe and techniques with us, and the dish is really tasty!
Haroseth is often served as a condiment on the Passover Seder plate and represents the mortar used to build the pyramids in the lore of the holiday. It is a sweet apple mash-up, soaked in wine and eaten with matzo crackers or sometimes, even as part of breakfasts during the week of Passover. Emily explained that until teaching us the recipe, she had never written it down. It was more of a method that she learned as a girl and has always known. Haroseth was (and still is) a popular dish with her two daughters, who love the balance of flavors – and perhaps the wine!
Most haroseth recipes use honey, but to make this version vegan, Emily uses agave nectar. Agave is not a traditional Passover food, so if this is a concern for your family, just skip it and use sweeter apples or wine. Emily mentioned that depending on family recipes, haroseth can include dates, apricots and/or figs – all of which would add sweetness- and if nut allergies are a concern, to use a different nut than walnuts to suit your needs. To find kosher wine, ask your local wine seller what he or she recommends for Passover.
Haroseth relies heavily on method. It needs to be moist and hold together, after all, it’s symbolic mortar! Additionally, there should be no overpowering flavor once everything is combined, just a synergy of spice, crunch and sweet. Chopping the nuts and apples by hand is crucial. Don’t give in to the food processor, or you will end up with apple sauce and/or nut butter! The integrity and structure of the nuts and apples help create the unique texture of the dish.
As written, this recipe is vegan and gluten-free. It serves 6 to 8 people as a condiment on a Seder plate.
- 2 cups raw, unsalted walnuts, diced by hand
- 2 apples, diced by hand (Emily prefers honey crisp apples)
- 1 cup kosher sweet red wine or grape juice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- agave nectar, to taste (optional)
- By hand, core the apples and finely dice by hand to small pieces. Repeat with walnuts until they are roughly the same size as the apple pieces.
- Add apples and walnuts to a bowl with cinnamon. Stir to combine and gradually add the wine or grape juice. Wine/grape juice should be poured in about 1/4 cup at a time and stirred in thoroughly before more is added because some apples are juicer than others and you don't want the dish to get too moist. The proper texture should be wet, but thick, almost like a paste.
- Once desired texture is achieved, taste for sweetness. Add a little agave if you want the haroseth sweeter and stir to combine.
- This can be made up to one day ahead and stored in the fridge. Serve with your favorite mazto. If using for breakfast instead of a Seder plate, consider doubling the recipe.
- If you want more vegan Passover recipes, Emily recommends checking out the vegan cookbook No Cholesterol Passover Recipes by Debra Wasserman for ideas. Thank you, Emily, for sharing this yummy dish!
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