Knishes – cute packets of potatoes in dough – gluten-free and vegetarian – warm and delicious!

Knishes
a rolled-out knish

A rolled-out knish, with filling on it,
ready for crimping.
I adore this little rolling pin —
it is very easy to use.

Here’s a family favorite recipe that I’ve been meaning to post for years: Knishes! A knish is a dough-wrapped packet of filling. The filling is often potatoes, though my kids prefer them filled with vegan cheese, instead, or even gluten-free pasta.

Knishes are a Jewish food, but even though I am Jewish and grew up in New York City, I never encountered them until I was an adult.

A potful of the potato filling

The potato filling

This recipe was originally developed by the author of Gluten-Free By The Bay. I have simplified the recipe, changed it around a bit, and multiplied it to make more food.

My family and I really love this recipe, even including my picky kids! I hope you will like it too! Also, it’s a great recipe to make for guests.

 

Another knish underway

Another knish underway.
There is a crimped knish on the right, ready for baking. You can see that I rolled the dough a little too thin and so it has holes.  You can click on the photo to zoom in and see the details of how the crimping looks.  Also, that one is a bit long — they should be shaped more like a semicircle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knishes - cute packets of potatoes in dough - gluten-free and vegetarian - warm and delicious!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Knishes are beautiful packets of dough filled with your choice of mashed potatoes, cheesy filling, or anything else. People are always impressed when they see these. And, they are gluten-free!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 12 knishes
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 4 1/2 cups (3 packets) All-Purpose Chebe Mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons oil (I use canola and/or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup water, milk, or vegan milk
Potato Filling: (I like to make lots of extra to eat as a side dish for days afterward)
  • 3 cups fresh red chard or spinach, washed, stems removed, and chopped, OR 1 cup defrosted frozen kale
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1/4 cup oil (canola and/or olive)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper (optional -- I leave it out)
Cheesy Vegan Filling:
  • 3/4 pound firm tofu OR a combination of 3/4 cup cashews, 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, and 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil and oregano
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 box frozen spinach, defrosted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If you are making the potato filling, cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes and put them in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover them. Heat to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and boil for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork. Drain and return them to the pot. Add all the other ingredients for the potato filling except for the greens. Mash the potatoes. Then stir in the greens.
  3. If you are making the cheesy vegan filling, mix all ingredients in a food processor or a big blender.
  4. To make the dough, mix all of the dough ingredients and knead them together into a soft dough. If the dough is dry and not cohesive, you may need to add water -- just a teaspoon at a time, because it can go from too dry to too sticky very quickly. I use the dough kneading attachment on my food processor to do the kneading -- it works well for this.
  5. Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. (I like to roll it into a log, then cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds. But you can divide it any way that works for you.) Pick up each piece to check its size, and pinch small blobs off the biggest pieces and add them to the smallest pieces, to even out the sizes.
  6. Use a rolling pin on a nonstick surface to roll out the dough into a 6 or 7 inch circle. Avoid making the circle bigger than that, because the dough will get holes in the middle. Check that the circle can be lifted off the surface, then add 2-4 tablespoons of filling in the middle. When in doubt about how much filling to put in, use less filling, so that it doesn't squirt out the sides. Fold the circle in half, with the filling inside. Use a fork to crimp around the edges and make evenly spaced fork-lines that go about from the edge about 1/4 inch inward. Gently press on the top of the knish to distribute the filling inside the sealed-in area. Repeat for the remaining pieces of dough.
  7. Place each knish on a baking sheet, leaving some space between them for expansion during baking.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Eat them carefully -- the filling gets incredibly hot.

 

Matzo Mina – a great Passover dish – gluten-free, vegan, and healthy

Matzo Mina

Happy Passover!!

I grew up Jewish, but the first time I heard of a Matzo Mina was as an adult, surfing the Internet. This is a lot like a lasagna, but made with dampened matzo instead of the lasagna noodles. With the overlapping squares of matzo on the top, this comes out looking really pretty. It tastes great, too, so it is my favorite Passover food. To make it gluten-free, I use gluten-free matzo.

Matzo Mina

Assembled Matzo Mina before baking

My pick for gluten-free matzo is Yehuda brand. I find it at my local Whole Foods store, though it is also available on Amazon. Lately gluten-free matzo is the most popular food in my house — my kids gobble it down! Go figure!

To make a soy-free version of this recipe, replace the tofu with 2/3 cup of cashews, 2/3 cup of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, and 2/3 cup of water.

This recipe is originally based on Tori Avey’s Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Matzo Mina — though I have changed my version a lot.

If you are cooking for Passover, you may also want to check out my recipe for gluten-free matzo ball soup. Yum!

Sorry to have gone so long between postings — I can’t believe I last posted in July! I don’t have a good reason for having gone so long between postings — just juggling kids, work, and the paperwork from Jan’s estate. Anyway, I do have lots more recipes that I want to post, so I will continue posting recipes!!

our seder table

Here is my son Corbin, who is nine, at our Seder table.
The weather is so warm that this year we had our Seder outdoors on the back porch.

Matzo Mina - a great Passover dish - gluten-free, vegan, and healthy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This matzo mina is a delicious and healthy vegan main dish to serve at Passover. It is a bit like a lasagna, but with dampened matzo instead of the noodles. I really love this recipe! You can make it gluten-free if you use gluten-free matzo.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3-4 sheets of matzo; for gluten-free use a gluten-free matzo such as Yehuda brand
  • 1-2 jars of artichoke hearts (plain or marinated; about 8 ounces per jar)
  • 1 pound firm tofu (not silken)
  • 4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil or oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces spinach or kale (frozen and defrosted is fine)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, blend everything except the matzo and artichoke hearts. Add the artichoke hearts and pulse until mixed in.
  3. Oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
  4. Dampen a sheet of matzo in cold running water from the faucet. Place in baking pan.
  5. Add half of the tofu mixture, and spread it smooth with a spatula.
  6. Repeat with another piece of matzo and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  7. For the top, dampen a piece of matzo, then break it into squares that are 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide. Overlap the pieces of matzo on top of the casserole, like roof shingles, covering the entire surface. You will need about 1 1/2 sheets of matzo, broken up, to cover the top of the casserole.
  8. Gently brush the top of the matzo with olive oil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top layer is browning. Serve warm.

 

Potato Pancakes – gluten-free Latkes for Chanukah or anytime!

Chanukah table with potato pancakes

In honor of Chanukah, here is my potato pancake (latke) recipe. Served with a salad or a veggie on the side, these make a lovely dinner.

I’ve replaced most of the potatoes with sweet potato, and drastically reduced the oil, to make really healthy potato pancakes that taste delicious! Even my pickiest kids love these.

latke batter

The batter. You can see that it is mostly sweet potatoes, but there are also some regular potatoes in there too.

I originally got this from my oldest son’s kindergarten teacher, many years ago. His birthday is right around Chanukah, so when I asked his kindergarten teacher if I could bring in cupcakes as a birthday treat, she decided that since I am Jewish I should also help the class to make potato pancakes. It was really neat watching her cook with the class — she had one student practicing reading by reading the recipe, another student practicing math by multiplying the ingredients, another one learning kitchen skills by grating potatoes, and so on, with each student matched to a task that practiced something appropriate for that kid. I wasn’t happy about being pressed into volunteering in the classroom, nor about the teacher’s assumption that being Jewish meant I’d be knowledgeable about potato pancakes. But I ended up with an appreciation of differentiated multi-grade education and also a very yummy recipe for potato pancakes. This version is very different from her recipe — I’ve cut way down on the salt, reduced the eggs, took out the onions, replaced most of the potatoes (no nutrients) with sweet potatoes (lots of nutrients), added optional green leafy veggies, and lowered the oil content far below what’s traditionalatkes cookingl. And the resulting potato pancakes are delicious!

Some tips:
* If your nonstick pan is pretty good and the pancake is sticking anyway, it is not fully cooked. Let it keep cooking for a few more minutes and then try again.
* I always think about balancing the liquid as I’m making this recipe. The potatoes gradually give off liquid as they sit in the batter. So at first the batter is on the dry side, and later on it gets wetter. So for the first pancakes, I use batter from the wettest part of the bowl, to make sure there is enough liquid. Later on, I stir the batter to keep the liquid proportionate to the solids, so that both the liquid and the potatoes last until the end.

My pickiest eater, who normally eats only beige food, will gobble down potato pancakes and serve himself more. Go figure!

Jewish cooking tip: A pizza cutter is a quick way to cut up potato pancakes for a small child.  :) Kitchen scissors can do this as well.

IMPORTANT: This is a small recipe, about enough to serve one person. I multiply it by five to make dinner for the family.

Potato Pancakes - gluten-free Latkes for Chanukah or anytime!
 
These healthy potato pancakes taste delicious! I've replaced most of the potatoes with sweet potato, and drastically reduced the oil. Even my pickiest kids love these.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 1 person -- makes 4-6 latkes
Ingredients
Note: I usually quintuple this recipe.
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, grated (use a food processor -- it is much faster and safer)
  • 1/2 cup potatoes, grated (don't omit - their liquid makes the recipe work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons potato starch or, if you're not gluten-free, regular flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional: a few leaves of greens (chard, kale, etc.), chopped finely in the food processor
  • 1 or 2 glugs of oil (not a very exact measurement -- a glug is about a tablespoon)
  • toppings: applesauce, sour cream, homemade beannaise, etc.
  • a green side dish, such as broccoli or a salad
Instructions
  1. Preheat one or more nonstick frying pans on the stove. Good pre-heating helps to prevent sticking. For a big batch, I use three frying pans at once. I preheat the empty pans on medium-low, then turn the heat up to Medium a couple of minutes before adding food.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except toppings and side dishes!) in a big bowl. Stir very thoroughly, to make sure it's all well mixed, so that there aren't any lurking patches of salt or potato starch.
  3. Use a dinnertable tablespoon to ball up a wet blob of the mixture, then drop it into the pan and pat it with the back of the spoon to gradually widen it and shape it into a pancake shape. At this point for the first batch turn the heat up to medium-high, then once the pancakes are really cooking, lower it to just above medium and leave it there. When the pancake is gorgeous and brown on the bottom, use a spatula to flip it, pat it down, and cook the other side. When the second side is cooked, remove the pancake to a serving plate.
  4. Serve with bowls of toppings on the table. Eaters get 3-4 potato pancakes, and then put a spoonful of applesauce or sour cream or beannaise on top, spread it around and eat with a fork.
  5. The cooking time varies depending on how big a batch you are making. When I quintuple the recipe, it can take maybe 90 minutes to cook everything.