Gluten-Free Easter and Passover: Some Easy Solutions
We’ve finally made it through one of the harshest winters in recent history, and spring is trying to make its long-awaited debut. For many of us, spring hasn’t officially sprung until Easter and Passover arrive, and we’re all anxiously awaiting the fun, bright cheer that ushers in the change of season. April showers bring May flowers, but Easter and Passover also bring in some very gluten-filled foods. If you’ve got qualms about your holiday menus, we’ve got simple, delicious gluten-free Easter and Passover solutions from around the gluten-free community.
1. Easter Candy
Like all holiday candy, Easter candy may contain hidden traces of gluten, whether it’s an unexpected malt ingredient, use of shared equipment, or the convenient addition of wheat in special edition Easter-shaped candies. Luckily, we maintain a Food List where you can find out if your favorite candy contains gluten (and if you can’t find what you’re looking for you can submit a request for us to review and publish a product rating for you). For a more passive approach, follow us on the Twitter for a steady feed of popular Easter candy and their gluten-free status.
2. The Perks of Passover
The Jewish holiday of Passover is inherently a very gluten-free friendly event. Many who observe the holiday omit gluten from their diet for eight days, except for the traditional matzah bread (don’t worry – we’ll give you a GF recipe for that below!), which means market shelves will be generously stocked with gluten-free products and ready-made meals. Gluten-free eaters, rejoice: now’s a great time to buy your favorite products in bulk and discover some new ones. If you’re celebrating Passover and you’re GF, this is your time to shine. Your friends and family will look to you for answers, recipe ideas, and recommendations. For new ideas, check out The Shiksa’s post on gluten-free, kosher Passover recipes. A delicious celebration will be had by all.
2a. Matza, Matzo, Matzah
Before we delve into recipe options, we’re curious: how do you spell this allusive word, and why? If you share with us, then we’ll share the GF community’s best matzah recipes with you.
As the sole gluten-filled Passover custom, it’s imperative you don’t miss out on this on this sacred tradition – and with all these new gluten-free options, you won’t have to. First off, if you’re not looking to bake your own matzah, your local grocery store will likely have great packaged alternatives ready to go. Crowd favorites are Yehuda Gluten Free Matza (they have a chocolate covered option!), along with Manischewitz and Barkat’s matzo crackers.
If you’re taking the do-it-yourself approach, your options are plentiful. Get your hands on some gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill is usually easy to find), and try this simple 20 minute recipe (only 5 ingredients!). The popular blog Our Gluten Free Family features another delicious, simple matzah cracker recipe, complete with a tutorial video to guide you step by step. And if you’re looking for another traditional twist on your matzah recipe, try the Matzo Ball Soup from Elana’s Pantry – it sounds delicious and her fans loved it. Delicious, simple, and gluten-free matzah? Don’t mind if we do.
3. Traditional Easter Dishes
Families preparing a big Easter feast should plan ahead to accommodate their gluten-free guests. While many popular homemade dishes should be naturally gluten-free, like mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, and vegetables, the meat-based main course is often problematic. While meat itself does not contain gluten, the sweet glaze often put on the Easter ham, lamb, or chicken does. It’s important to call your host ahead of time and ask that they check the ingredients before they buy their meat, or provide your own suggestions. Gluten Freeville has a great list of gluten-free hams, but as always, check the label yourself before you buy (we have a handy labeling guide if you need help).
And the best news: all of your favorite Easter and Passover activities, like dying eggs, Easter egg hunts, and story-telling on the Seder are all naturally, blissfully, wonderfully gluten-free.
Happy gluten-free Easter, gluten-free Passover, and happy spring!