Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

vegetarian matzo ball soup

PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: LENA ABRAHAM

Cozy and nourishing, we crave matzo ball soup pretty much year-round. Although schmaltz (AKA chicken fat) and chicken broth are typically included in this classic Ashkenazi Jewish soup, it’s not hard to swap in vegetarian-friendly ingredients. Let’s break it down:

The Broth

We’ve included a recipe for a quick, basic homemade vegetable broth. Flavor-wise, homemade broth always wins out over the stuff in the carton, but if you’re short on time, go with store-bought broth or bouillon cubes.

If you do make your broth from scratch, be sure to taste and season with salt to taste once it has been strained. This is the final broth you’ll be serving with your matzo balls, so you’ll want a good dose of salt to bring out the vegetal flavors.

And if you’re wondering why we cook our matzo balls separately from our broth, it’s really just an aesthetic choice. Whatever liquid the matzo balls are cooked in will turn cloudy in the process, so we cook them separately to keep our broth clear. If you don’t mind a cloudy soup, go ahead and cook your matzo balls in your broth and save yourself the dishes. 😄

The Matzo Balls

The most important ingredient in matzo balls can also be the hardest to find: matzo meal. Since matzo sheets tend to be more readily available, we often whip up a batch of meal ourselves. Simply break your matzo sheets into small-ish pieces (about 2”) and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the crackers have been ground into a fine powder and no larger pieces remain, and proceed with the recipe.

The Extras

Classic matzo ball soup requires very little for serving: often just broth, matzo balls, and some sweet hunks of tender carrots. If you’d like to turn this humble soup into a well-rounded dinner, there are lots of ways to bulk it up. Mushrooms, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, leeks, and cabbage would all make for great mix-ins. If you’re looking to incorporate some greens, wilt some spinach, kale, or Swiss chard into your broth right before serving.

And if you want to take this soup in an unconventional direction, make our everything seasoning chili oil below! It adds a kick of heat, lots of toasty dried chili and garlic flavor, and a hint of fennel seed’s sweet herbaceous-ness. If your everything seasoning doesn’t include salt, add a pinch to your mixture to help those flavors shine. Drizzle it liberally into your serving bowls, making sure to scoop up some of the whole spices from the bottom for crunchy pops of flavor in every bite.

Made this? Let us know it went in the comment section below!

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Yields:

4


servings

Prep time:

0

hours

20

mins

Total Time:

1

hour

45

mins

For vegetable broth

2


medium carrots, cut into thirds crosswise

2


celery stalks, cut into thirds crosswise

1


medium yellow onion, quartered

10


sprigs parsley or dill

1


dried bay leaf (optional)

1/2 tsp.

black peppercorns

For everything chili oil (optional)

For the matzo balls

1/4 c.

vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)

1/4 c.

Freshly chopped parsley or dill

1/2 tsp.

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c.

prepared vegetable broth

Water, for boiling matzo balls

for serving

Prepared vegetable broth

3


medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ rounds

Parsley or dill, for garnish

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  1. Make vegetable broth: In a large pot with a lid over high heat, combine all broth ingredients except salt. Cover, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook covered until vegetables are very tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make chili oil (if using): In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine everything seasoning, chili flakes, and fennel seeds. In a small saucepan over medium, heat oil to 225°. Pour hot oil over spices, stir, and let cool.
  3. When broth is done simmering, straining it through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids. Stir in salt until dissolved, taste, and add more salt if necessary.
  4. Make matzo balls: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, herbs, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth. Fold in matzo meal until no dry spots remain, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the parchment with cooking spray. Using wet hands, shape the dough into balls about 1” in diameter and transfer to baking sheet. You should end up with around 18 balls. (Try to handle the dough as little as possible to avoid compacting it.)
  6. Reduce heat so that the water is gently simmering. Add matzo balls to water, cover, and cook until they have expanded and are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. To test if matzo balls are done, cut one in half and check to see if the texture and color is consistent throughout. If it is dense or dark in the center, continue simmering.
  7. Meanwhile, bring vegetable broth back to a simmer. Add carrots, cover, and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, add matzo balls to serving bowls and ladle over broth and carrots. Garnish with herbs and chili oil, if using.

vegetarian matzo ball soup

PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: LENA ABRAHAM

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