Adapting Passover Recipes For Food Allergies —

Apr 03

This time of year does not only affect those of us celbrating Easter but also includes our friends celebrating Passover. The Jewish dishes traditionally contain many ingredients that would be life threatening to allergy sufferers. I found the following story to be appealing to see how a Jewish family overcomes these hurdles to allow thier son to enjoy the holiday.

For Jews, the Passover Seder, with its special dietary laws, rituals and foods, is one of the most important meals of the year. When the Anivum family of Hartford gathers next week to celebrate, charoset, a mixture of apples and nuts, matzo and other traditional dishes, will be on the menu, but with modifications to make them safe for 14-year-old David Anivum, who suffers from anaphylactic egg, nut, peanut and fish allergies.

“My Seder doesn’t look all that different from anyone else’s,” says Leslie Anivum. “I’ve just learned to adapt the ingredients.”

She uses apricot butter or applesauce as a substitute for eggs in desserts and cookies, leaves nuts out of the charoset, uses regular rather than egg matzo and skips fish dishes altogether.

“It’s amazing the things you learn,” says Avinum. “You have to be vigilant and aware, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t celebrate with the foods you love.”

Nechama Cohen, founder and CEO of the Jewish Diabetes Association, says the Anivum family has discovered a successful key to holiday eating when family members have food allegories or dietary restrictions: Adapting favorite recipes rather than radically changing the menu is the best route to a satisfying experience for everyone.

“When we sit down to a holiday meal, it’s not just about food, it’s about memories, traditions and feelings,” says Cohen, author of “EnLitened Kosher Cooking: More Than 250 Good Carb, Healthy-Fat, Sugar-Free Recipes From the Simple to the Elegant.”

“It’s a once-a-year occasion. Everyone wants to be part of the celebration. And it’s not as hard as people think to adapt favorite recipes.”

Passover meals can be easier for those who follow a wheat-free diet and more challenging for those with diabetes or who have egg or nut allergies.

“Passover foods have the least amount of wheat and gluten, but they tend to rely heavily on eggs and nuts,” says Cohen, whose granddaughter suffers from a gluten allergy.

Recipes in Cohen’s cookbook, including a chapter devoted to Passover foods, are all low- or reduced-carb, low- or reduced-fat and most are sugar-free. More than 125 recipes throughout the book are gluten-free and suitable for Passover.

“For Passover recipes for people with diabetes, we use more egg whites and cut down on yolks. We cut down on fats. We use sugar substitutes that are kosher for Passover,” says Cohen. “For those with celiac disease or wheat sensitivity, it’s easier to find special matzo and other products that are gluten-free.”

“More and more people are looking for gluten-free products and more and more companies are responding with a wider variety of products,” agrees Mike Hanson, a manager at the Crown Supermarket in West Hartford.

The Crown, for example, stocks Manischewitz’s and Streit’s spelt matzo, along with Dr. Praeger’s potato pancakes, flat breads and pizzas; assorted Lieber’s cake mixes, Gefen pasta, and Shabtai macaroons. All are gluten-free and kosher for Passover.

At, customers can order gluten-free oat or spelt flour matzo. offers gluten-free oat matzo made in the United Kingdom and sold through distributors in the United States., features “Happy Passover,” a printable brochure to help children with food allergies and their families celebrate Passover.

The April edition of “Living Without” magazine, available at Whole Foods and Border’s stores, includes an article, “Sensitive to Passover,” with Passover baking tips and a selection of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free or nut-free recipes, including a recipe for “Mock Matzo” made with potato starch, almond meal or brown rice flour and flaxseed meal.

via Adapting Passover Recipes For Food Allergies —