making a vegan seder plate

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This year, we celebrated the first night of Passover as any semi-prepared, health-minded, compassionate, eco-conscious family who holds itself beholden to no given tradition should:  vegan and gluten-free. The seder plate was unexpectedly easy to assemble as long as you are willing to subscribe to symbolism with liberties.

For the maror, or the bitter herb, we realized at the last minute that we did not have horseradish, so we used mustard.

The charoset–nostalgic in its own right since, as vegetarian children we often had little to eat at the Passover table at our temple and would gorge on it by the mouthful–we made sugar-free with organic green apples and raw (soaked) almonds instead of walnuts.

For the karpas, or non-bitter vegetable, we used celery, as is sometimes done traditionally in the U.S..

For the z’roa, or shank bone, we used a baby carrot. This veggie high in beta carotene does resemble in shape a real shank bone, after all.

For the beitzah, or hard boiled egg, we used garbanzo beans. Beans have protein too.

For the matzot, we had the oat-based gluten-free version ordered from suburban New Jersey and imported from Israel. It goes without saying that the glutinous kind made with refined flour had its place at the table too.

Both kinds were placed together in a bread basket. B gorged on numerous pieces smothered with Earth Balance, while I scooped up and savored my serving of charoset with a few jagged,  cracked pieces and munched away. Finally, a family member used three prices to hide the afikomin. The kids got $10 a piece once they found it–accounting for inflation, after all.

As for the service, we stuck with that represented in “Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah“–a severely abridged version of the full-length service, which worked out perfectly fine for the two restless boys and their parents, who came down with a not-so-sudden case of ADD.

Finally, we dined on a lentil, brown rice and paprika casserole compliments of sister and brother-in-law, then finished the meal with my lovely (if not offensive because it contains baking powder) recipe for gluten-free, vegan carrot kugel sweetened with apple sauce and agave syrup.