Spinach, Leek, and Potato Matzo Gratin
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.
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!