Passover Made Easy with Joan Nathan

6 Dishes to Order for Your Table

Joan Nathan, Jewish food authority and James Beard award-winning cookbook author, designed our Passover Dinner for 8. Nathan’s book, King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, is available in select stores or

Passover is the hardest event to prepare for each year, and also the most meaningful holiday for me as a mother and now grandmother. When I first started making the Passover meal, I stuck totally to tradition. Over the years, however, I’ve added in a few new recipes developed from my cookbooks, making our family meal the unique celebration we all love so much. 

This year I am thrilled that Whole Foods Market liked the recipes in my King Solomon’s Table cookbook so much that they are offering a number of my favorites on their ready-made Passover menu. If you don’t have time to cook, check it out — everything is packed cold and just needs a little reheating. These dishes are a delicious way to help you spend more time with loved ones. 

Brazilian Haroset with Apples, Dates and Cashews

Since our very first seders, our family has eaten the ever-popular (Sephardic-style) dried fruit-and-nut-ball-infused harosets, symbolic of the mortar used when building the pyramids in Egypt. But each year I like to add a new version, like this one that includes dates, nuts and apples. This dish, served at the beginning of the seder, is a wonderful example of how Jewish recipes have varied throughout the Diaspora, depending on local ingredients.

Double-Lemon Roast Chicken

I always serve brisket, chicken and sometimes fish. This year, try my Double-Lemon Roast Chicken — I pop one of my preserved lemons into the cavity of the chicken, season it with fresh herbs, za’atar and sumac, and scatter carrots, celery, zucchini, black olives and sun-dried or fresh tomatoes around it for an easy, beautiful meal. I used to serve the chicken whole, but now I cut it up and plate the chicken on a platter surrounded by all the vegetables with the preserved lemon cut up and sprinkled over top. It comes ready-made from Whole Foods Market the same way.

Fried Artichokes Jewish-Style

I’ve always loved crisp, flavorful fried artichokes, and I really love making this dish, but it’s a little complicated and messy for most home cooks. This year, let the chefs at Whole Foods Market make it for you — it’s the same authentic Roman recipe that I use for my family.

Tunisian Carrot Salad with Cumin, Coriander and Caraway

This dish is a mashup of crisp, crunchy carrots and nutty, earthy pistachios, and it’s finished with a North African blend of herbs and spices.

Sicilian Eggplant Caponata Jewish-Style

The Jews introduced eggplant to Italy, or more precisely Sicily. Unlike ratatouille and other tomato-eggplant dishes, this caponata includes pine nuts, raisins and/or currants. It is a delicious appetizer and a family favorite. 

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Currants

I’ve been making this recipe for years. Onions, pine nuts and raisins are a sure sign of an early Jewish-Italian recipe, possibly originating prior to the first century, when the first Jews moved to the island of Sicily. There, they must have learned about the superior flavor of nuts from the Italian stone pines that grow near Mount Etna. And who knows? Perhaps this dish was served to the great Rabbi Akiva during his visit to Syracuse in the first century. If so, I am sure that he liked it. 

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