Spinach, Leek, and Potato Matzo Gratin

Spinach and potato matzo gratin (mina)

This closely resembles the layered matzo casseroles, called minas, which are commonly served at Sephardic Seders. They consist of layered matzos, vegetables, and cheese. With optional Daiya cheese, or no cheese at all, it’s a tradition well worth adopting (and adapting) for the vegan Passover Seder. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. Adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen.

Serves: 8 to 10

  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into large chunks
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large or 3 medium leeks, white and palest green parts only,
    chopped and well rinsed
  • 10 to 12 ounces baby spinach, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 cup matzo meal or quinoa flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 matzos
  • 1 cup grated Daiya cheese, optional (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts for topping, optional

Cook, bake, or microwave the potatoes in their skins until just tender. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Cover the cashews with 1 cup of boiling water in a heatproof bowl and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Drain the cashews, then combine with the avocado and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed; drizzle enough water through the feed tube while the processor is running to give the mixture a thick, creamy texture.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the leeks and sauté over medium-low heat until golden. Add the spinach in batches, covering and cooking until wilted to make room for all of it. Stir in the cashew cream, dill, and matzo meal. Season with salt and pepper.

Spinach and potato matzo gratin (mina)  recipe

Break each matzo in half, and place in a shallow container. Cover with room-temperature water in a shallow container until slightly pliable (don’t let them get mushy!), about 2 minutes; drain. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish.

Layer the casserole as follows: line the bottom with a layer of matzos, using two matzos per layer. Follow with a layer of potato slices, half of the spinach mixture, half of the optional cheese, and another layer of matzos. Repeat, ending with a layer of matzo.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden with spots of brown. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into squares to serve.

Note: Using Daiya cheese (which is made from tapioca flour), should be fine for Sephardic Passover, if you aren’t concerned that this product isn’t specifically Kosher for Passover. However, it contains pea protein, which is considered kitniyot, so make sure to determine how strictly your Ashkenazic guests adhere to the rules!

Spinach and potato matzo gratin (mina) recipe

Spinach and potato matzo gratin (mina)  recipe

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13 comments on “Spinach, Leek, and Potato Matzo Gratin

  1. Caroline M. in L.A.

    This matza gratin recipe looks delicious. I will definitely be making it for my vegan seder.

    As you know having a vegan, legume free seder is quite a challenge. Thank you for posting all the Ashkenazic vegan seder recipes! I made the quinoa cranberry salad last year and it was a hit!

  2. ABYD

    Brilliant idea, but needs serious spicing. I’d add garlic powder and a lot more salt, maybe some nutmeg, a dash of cayenne, cumin, SOMETHING to keep it from being as bland as the recipe currently has it. Also, the matzoh boards broken in half don’t quite cover the “gratin”–I’d suggest soaking an extra matzoh and breaking each matzoh into more than half and forming a mosaic. I like that it comes out of the oven like a veggie gratin “en croute”, but the mild, mild, mild flavor needs improvement. Happy Pesach.

  3. Tracie

    I’m curious about this recipe as I was asked to bring a vegetarian main dish to a Seder next week. I’ve used cashews for cream before but never added avocado. Would the author care to elaborate on this technique?

  4. Nava Post author

    Tracie, the avocado adds an element of richness, especially if you avoid using Daiya cheese. Daiya isn’t Kosher for Passover, so many people who adhere strictly to dietary laws wouldn’t use it.

  5. Nava Post author

    You’re right; I never noticed that before. I will correct that note in the recipe. A photo of this dish will be added tomorrow so I’ll make the correction when uploading it! Thanks so much for your input.

  6. Kay

    I made this last night to do a dry run for passover next week. I am not normally vegan, but we are having several vegan guests. It was amazing! Not bland at all. I have a special pan that I usually use for lasagna (it has three wells each about the size of a lasagna noodle and 3″ deep) This recipe worked beautifully in it. When I prepare for next week I think I will up the quantity of the creamy spinach filling a little– not because it was lacking, just because it was the best part! I wouldn’t add or change anything otherwise, as the other commenter suggested. I used no Daiya or pine nuts, but I did spritz the top matzo with some olive oil to crisp it up. Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. Nava Post author

    Thanks so much for your feedback, Kay. If you do decide to use Daiya, ask your guests if they’re strict about kitnoyot, as it contains pea protein. This is a popular recipe, and I’ll be adding a photo of it, hopefully soon! Hope you and your guests have a lovely Seder.

  8. narf7

    I am not Jewish and I have NO idea where I am going to find matzo in Tasmania Australia but I want this! I want it bad…any idea of a recipe that I could make to duplicate matzo?

  9. Nava Post author

    That’s a great question, and one that I can’t answer. But since matzo is basically made of flour and water, if you google “matzo recipe” you’re sure to find one!

  10. Nava Post author

    Johanna, I know that some readers have made this ahead to freeze, and I’ve never done so, so I can’t guarantee the results. I’m sorry, I somehow missed seeing your questions until now. And since we’re just one day out from the first night of Passover I hope you went ahead and made this, as making it a day ahead is certainly fine!

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