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Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup

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There’s nothing better than a big bowl of Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup to brighten up a gloomy day.

Matzo ball soup in a white bowl with challah

Sometimes life just calls for a healthy bowl of hot Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup. This tasty soup is just what the doctor ordered with plenty of vegetables and soft fluffy Matzo balls. It makes sense why this soup is also famously known as the “Jewish Penicillin.” I grew up eating Matzo ball soup only on Rosh Hashanah and Passover, but now I make it on a regular basis for my own family.

Many variations and family traditions surround how Matzo ball soup is made. Typically it’s a chicken soup, but my version has the classic flavors without the meat. The recipe is Pareve (containing neither dairy nor meat ingredients); I use oil instead of schmaltz (rendered chicken or goose fat). So let’s get started! 

Note: The recipe was updated in October, 2022

Note: The recipe was updated in January, 2024

What are Matzo Balls?

Matzo balls (Kneadelech in Yiddish) are light and fluffy dumplings made of Matzo meal, eggs, oil, water, and seasoning. The mixture is then formed into balls and poached.

Ingredients Overview

*The full recipe is in the recipe card below!

Vegetables: Onion, carrot, potato, zucchini, and celery. 

Matzo meal (matza or matzah): Matzo meal is a kind of breadcrumb made from ground Matzot. Not to be confused with Matzo ball mix, which is a pre-packaged mixture of Matzo meal, spices (garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, etc.), and preservatives.

Eggs: Helps bind the balls and give them structure.

Fat: Traditional Matzo ball soup contains chicken fat, also known as schmaltz. It’s a common ingredient in Jewish cooking and adds rich, delicious flavor. However, my Matzo balls soup is vegetarian, so I use Canola oil.

Baking powder: Baking powder produces light and fluffy Matzo balls. If you prefer a denser Matzo ball, cut the baking powder in half or omit it altogether.

Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, and fresh dill.

Floaters vs. Sinkers

Some people like dense and heavy Matzo balls (“sinkers”), and some people like them light and fluffy (“floaters”). 

Dense Matzo balls stay on the bottom of the pot. 

Light Matzo balls should float to the surface of the pot while they’re cooking. 

How to make dense Matzo balls?

Omit the baking powder and cook the Matzo balls for 10 to 20 minutes. 

How to make light Matzo balls?

Add anywhere from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 full teaspoon of baking powder (more baking powder will yield increasingly light Matzo balls). Cook the Matzo balls for 20 to 30 minutes.

FAQs

How to store leftovers of vegetarian Matzo ball soup?

Keeping the Matzo balls and soup separate, store them in the fridge in air-tight containers or in Mason jars for up to 5 days. Reheat it on the stove or microwave when ready to eat it again.
Keeping the Matzo balls and soup separate, store them in the fridge in air-tight containers or in Mason jars for up to 5 days. Reheat it on the stove or microwave when ready to eat it again.

Can you freeze Matzo balls?

The texture may not be as perfectly fluffy, but yes, you can freeze Matzo balls. Let them cool completely and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then transfer them to a ziplock bag or airtight container and freeze them for up to a month.
Reheat frozen Matzo balls by simmering them in boiling water or stock until warmed through.

Cook Notes- My Personal Touch 

I poach the Matzo balls in salted water because I prefer a clear broth and not a cloudy broth. If you don’t care about that, go ahead and poach them directly in the broth you’re going to serve. 

Hidden veggies: Hidden veggies: I like to add a few pieces of cooked veggies from the soup to the matzo mixture. I mash them with a fork and add them to the mixture; they add a lot of flavor.

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Matzo ball soup in a white bowl with challah

Vegetarian Matzo Ball (Kneadelech) Soup

Author Rachel
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Yield 18 units
Print Pin Recipe

Description

There’s nothing better than a big bowl of vegetarian Matzo ball soup to brighten up a gloomy day. It is a great dish to make all year round, but especially for Passover. 
Kosher, Pareve

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 1-2 onions finely chopped
  • 3-5 carrots peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 8 celery sticks sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1-2 zucchini diced (medium-sized pieces)
  • 1-2 small potatoes peeled and diced (small-sized pieces)
  • About 3 quarts 2.8 liters water or unsalted store-bought vegetable stock (the stock is optional but adds more flavors)
  • 1 Teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt or more to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch cilantro washed
  • 1 bunch parsley washed

Matzo Balls (Kneadelech)

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) canola oil plus a little more if needed
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) water plus a little more if needed
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) matzo meal
  • 1/4 Teaspoon baking powder If you prefer a denser matzo ball, cut the baking powder in half or omit it all together.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • I like to add to the mixture a mashed piece of boiled potato and a mashed carrot from the soup. Trust me!
  • 1 Tablespoon salt for cooking the Matzo balls

*Optional* for serving:

  • 1/2 cup chopped dill leaves

Instructions

The vegetable soup:

  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add minced garlic and continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add zucchini and potatoes. Stir well.
  • Pour in the water/vegetable broth and add onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add cilantro and parsley (as is, don't chop them).
  • Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the parsley and cilantro.
  • Serve warm with matzo balls.

Matzo balls:

  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the oil with a fork until slightly puffy. Add water and matzo meal, and mix.
  • Add salt, pepper, baking powder, and *optional* mashed vegetables. The mixture should be neither hard nor liquid. If too hard, add more water.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • After the matzo ball mix has been set, with wet or greased hands, create ping pong size balls. The mixture is going to be a little sticky, and that's OK.
  • Bring a large pot of water with a spoon of salt, or your soup to a brisk boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and drop the matzo balls gently into the liquid.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 20-30 minutes. The balls should be floating on the surface and look soft and airy. Of course, you can cook them for longer, but I find that the best texture is around the 20 minutes mark.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the matzo balls from the water and place them on a plate or a tray.

Serving:

  • Ladle soup into individual serving bowls.
  • Serve up bowls with plenty of cooked vegetables, matzo balls, and sprinkle dill if desired.

Notes

Let the mixture rest: Letting the matzo ball mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. That will allow the matzo meal to absorb the liquid and make the balls more cohesive.
Make sure to form the matzo balls to a small size, about 1-2 inches in diameter. This will ensure that they cook evenly.
Tried this recipe? Tag@mamalivingabroad

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  1. I’m a little confused…I need to make a vegetarian “chicken” soup for some family members for our seder. This recipe is called vegetarian soup, so why would the recipe call for water or broth? Isn’t the recipe supposed to make the broth for the soup?

      1. Yes, thanks. I was unable to find a kosher for passover veg broth, so hopefully it will still taste ok