This Vegan Matzo Ball Soup is delicious and satisfying and tastes just like Bubbe used to make. You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy the fluffy matzo balls or the savory herb infused soup! This recipe is easy and quick to make, so enjoy it for any evening.
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I really wanted to make some vegan matzo ball soup for you all -- and I figured you might like it since you loved my Vegan Double Noodle Chik'n Soup so much. This one's just like that, but with MATZO BALLS!
I grew up loving matzo ball soup. Homemade and fluffy or dense from the can (OMG Manischewitz!), I am not picky--just give me that soup.
But learning how to make it vegan was a little tough. Generally they're made with eggs and schmaltz--chicken fat. And then of course the broth is usually made from chicken bones/meat.
Since I'm vegan, I needed to find a way to make a DELICIOUS matzo ball without any animal products. I also challenged myself to do it without oil since I don't cook with oil.
I practiced a lot and I think I finally came up with some SUPER DELICIOUS vegan matzo ball soup and I really hope you like it! But first, let's talk about the basics.
What are Matzo Balls Made of?
If you've never had a matzo ball, you're seriously missing out. But what even is a matzo ball?
Matzo is essentially a hard cracker-like flat bread--it's bread that wasn't allowed to rise (as the story goes, the Jews fleeing Egypt didn't have time to make leavened bread).
So it follows that matzo balls are made out of matzo meal. As I mentioned before, matzo balls are generally made with eggs and rendered chicken fat.
I used ground flax seed to replace the egg and tahini to replace the fat. Yes, the tahini does somewhat flavor the matzo ball, but I think the flavor is quite good. If you're not into that, keep reading for substitutions.
What Substitutions Can I Make?
If the idea of tahini in matzo balls turns your stomach, it can be replaced with another fat like coconut cream or oil if that doesn't bother you.
The flax egg can easily be substituted with a different vegan egg replacement like Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer (I've tried it with this and it works).
If you're gluten-free, there is gluten-free matzo meal available. You could possibly also use ground up gluten-free crackers.
For the broth, I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. This my favorite vegetarian chicken broth but there are others available (there's a good one from Imagine). You could also just use vegetable broth.
I used pretty standard soup vegetables: onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, but use whatever you like!
While I didn't put any vegan chicken in this but you could if you wanted to. I highly recommend the jack fruit chicken I made in my Vegan Double Noodle Chik'n Soup, but you could also use chickpeas or seitan chicken chunks.
Is Matzo Ball Soup Kosher for Passover?
Chances are, you aren't asking this unless you're Jewish, and it might be a tongue-in-cheek question.
Kosher for Passover just means food that does not contain grain that has risen or fermented (like bread, pasta, etc.).
Some matzah and matzo meal is NOT kosher for Passover, but you can find some that is. This matzo meal is and you can find it online--I found mine at Whole Foods Market.
Also some people might consider baking powder to be chametz (leavened or a leavening agent), so if you're following those guidelines don't use the baking powder. You can use something like cornstarch instead, or just leave it out and your matzo balls will still taste good.
How Do You Make Matzo Balls From Scratch?
Matzo balls always seemed elusive to me. A meatball made out of dough and boiled… what?!
But it's actually surprisingly easy. The beginning is a lot like baking.
First, you'll mix your dry ingredients together: matzo meal, salt, any spices (you can flavor your matzo balls if you wish, but I find the soup has enough flavor without), and baking powder.
Baking powder is a strange idea, but it's a great tip from Elissabeth over at The Taste of Kosher. In her recipe for Perfect Matzo Balls, Elissabeth uses a significant amount of baking powder to get her matzo balls to be super fluffy, and it works!
Next, add in your wet ingredients: a flax egg, tahini, and warm (not hot) water. It will get hard to stir so it's best to mix it with your hands.
Now make your matzo balls. I like to use 2 tablespoons of dough for each ball.
Shape the dough into a ball shape. If there are cracks, pinch them with your fingers and roll between your palms to create a sphere.
Depending on how dry your dough is, you may find it helpful to dip your fingers in a little extra warm water to impart that moisture into the dough ball as you roll it.
Place each ball on a plate or cookie sheet. We'll be refrigerating them for just a little bit before cooking.
Refrigerating the matzo balls helps them stay together while cooking in the soup. While they are refrigerating you could chop the vegetables for the soup, work on a task for something else, or read a book.
After that, you'll add the rest of the soup ingredients to a large pot, bring to a boil, and carefully add your matzo balls into the boiling soup. Turn down to a simmer and cook for around 20 - 25 minutes, and that's it!
See? Not so hard.
Can I Freeze Matzo Ball Soup?
Yes, for best results freeze the uncooked matzo balls.
However, if you wish to freeze the cooked soup you may.
Let the soup cool a bit before freezing in an airtight freezer-safe container.
You can also refrigerate matzo balls separately from soup if you have leftovers. Refrigerate each in airtight containers up to five days.
Is Matzo Ball Soup Healthy?
As mentioned before, matzo balls typically are loaded with fat. This recipe actually is quite healthy.
There's one flax egg in this recipe, that's just 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and some water. Flax seed is actually quite good for you as it contains omega 3 fatty acids, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Tahini, while high in fat, is a healthy, cholesterol-free fat. There's also only a quarter cup for the whole recipe of 15 matzo balls. With five servings, that works out to less than a tablespoon per serving.
Finally, the matzo meal is essentially just dough and is very low in fat. I'm not a proponent of watching carbs; I'm more interested in the nutritional value of food (as well as FLAVOR!).
Want More Jewish Food?
Did you know I have an e-book with other Jewish recipes?
I grew up eating a ton of awesome Jewish foods. However, I haven't had many of them since going vegan 3 years ago. So I've set out to veganize my favorites!
My Plant-Based Jewish Recipes e-book is now available for purchase and has 50 vegan Jewish recipes perfect for Chanukah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and more.
Purchase and immediately receive your e-book that you can read digitally or print out and make tons of delicious Jewish comfort food recipes such as latkes, kugel, knishes, lox (!), black and white cookies, babka, and more! This book contains over 30 exclusive recipes that will never be released on the blog.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you I’ve got one more thing to tell you about this book. Over the next year or so, I’ll be releasing new versions of the book with new recipes for each major Jewish holiday (think Hamantaschen for Purim and flourless cake for Passover) and if you’ve already purchased my Plant-Based Jewish Recipes e-book, you’ll automatically get an updated version free of charge. Yup.
Click here to purchase or read more about the book.
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do (otherwise I wouldn't post it, duh).
Let me know in the comments below if you make it and tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!