As far as food highlights on the Jewish calendar goes, Passover is up there. Brisket, which we Jews will find any excuse to eat, is a beloved staple. Fluffy matzo ball soup is another favorite worthy of its place in the noshing hall of fame. Charoset—a sweet and nutty apple mixture meant to signify mortar—is really just pie filling you eat by the spoon- or cracker-full. And chocolate-dipped matzo, or “matzo crack,” has recently (and rightly) earned its way onto the Seder table.
As much good stuff as there is to go around, Passover does last a full week, so we welcome any new editions or reinventions that keep the leavening-free menu exciting through day seven. Matzo (you’ll also see it spelled matzah, matzoh, etc.) lasagna, which is just like it sounds—a lasagna made with matzo crackers in place of noodles—is exactly the thing to add to Seder dinner this year.
Before you cry foul—especially those with nonnas and/or bubbes to answer to—we ask that you trust that this seemingly unholy of hybrids actually does work, and works well. It’s assembled much in the same way a regular lasagna is, but instead of par-cooked sheet noodles, matzo crackers are layered in. When it’s finished in the oven, those matzo crackers soften and strike a curious resemblance to pasta—but with none of the illegal ingredients.
The beauty of matzo lasagna, besides it being kosher for Passover, is the many different variations one can employ. Make a simple vegetarian version with sliced zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach. Or go Greek with feta cheese, crushed tomato, and olives. The key to a good matzo lasagna is nailing the texture, which means soaking the matzo sheets in water long enough to make them tender before layering in but not so long that they turn to mush. (Really no more than 30 seconds will do the trick.) Similarly, cooking the lasagna for too long can cause unwelcome mushiness, so bake just enough to melt the cheese and heat through. Usually, that means about 30 minutes.
Crock-Pot 13-Inch Lasagna Pan, $$46.99 on Bed Bath & Beyond
A stylish baker for your maiden matzo lasagna.
If you adhere to a strict kosher diet, you’ll know having a cheesy lasagna would mean no meat, in the lasagna or anywhere else on the menu. But since many Reform Jews don’t follow such serious dietary guidelines, we’ll forge ahead with that brief disclaimer and let you chart your own course.
Ready to add matzo lasagna to your seder table? Good. Here are a few matzo lasagna recipes to get you started.
Healthy Vegetarian Matzo Lasagna
Add any vegetables you’d like in this plant-based lasagna, including woody mushrooms or healthy kale. Get the Healthy Matzo Lasagna recipe.
Gluten-Free Matzo Lasagna
Use high-quality ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese and Yahuda’s gluten-free matzo. Get the Gluten-Free Matzo Lasagna Recipe.
Mushroom and Feta Matzo Lasagna
Not into red sauce? Make this version of matzo lasagna with feta and mushrooms. That’s right. No tomatoes were hurt in the making of this matsagna. Get the Mushroom and Feta Matzo Lasagna recipe.
Header image courtesy of Getty Images.