Quick, Easy Delicious Recipes from Baptist Health – Creative Passover Meal

Tradition reigns supreme at the Passover dinner table, but that still leaves plenty of room to get creative with your recipes.

While most people associate Passover with eating matzo, you can put a little spring in your Passover meals by featuring fresh, colorful vegetables, fruits and herbs to add a little twist to your main and side dishes and desserts.

Since it is a holiday, I’ll start with everyone’s favorite – dessert – and work my way to the entrée. Flour is a no-no during Passover, so try a flourless chocolate cake, which turns out half-brownie and half-chocolate cake, and not at all like those Passover cakemixes.

Then we’ll move on to a salmon dish to find a more creative use for matzo.

Chocolate Beet Coconut Cake with Chocolate Icing (serves 24)


  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 3 cups natural canned beets, drained, juice reserved, mashed with a potato masher
  • 2 cups matzo cake meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup juice from the canned beet
  • 1 cup cocoa powder1½ cups unsweetened grated coconut, packed


  • ½ cup powdered sugar (you can substitute Splenda)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons margarine
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant espresso granules
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. For the cake: With a mixer, whip the egg whites and salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually and whip until stiff. Switch to low speed and mix in the rest of the cake ingredient one at a time, just a few seconds each, until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into a non-stick 10-inch round pan or 11-by-14-inch pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Top with remaining layer. Drizzle glaze over top of cake, spreading it out over edges.

Nutritional information: calories: 231; fat: 5.3g; saturated fat: 2.2g; monounsaturated fat: 2.1g; polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g; protein: 4.8g; carbohydrate: 27.6g; cholesterol: 27mg; sodium: 184mg

Matzo-crusted Salmon with Asparagus and Pistachios (serves 4)

Ingredients (salmon):

  • Canola or olive spray oil
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 4-ounce boneless, skinless, wild-caught salmon fillets
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 matzo crackers, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly spray a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard and turmeric.
  4. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  5. Brush the top of each fillet with some of the mustard mixture and sprinkle generously with matzo crumbs, pressing them down to form a crust.
  6. Transfer salmon, matzo side up, to prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Ingredients (Asparagus):

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh young asparagus
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup to 1/3 cup pistachios, chop after toasting
  • 1½ cups dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2¼ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Toss the asparagus in the oil to coat well and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place on a pan in the oven and roast, until al dente, 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. While the asparagus is roasting, place the pistachios in a single layer in a baking pan. Place the pan in the oven with the asparagus and toast the nuts until they brown slightly and are fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the nuts immediately and cool slightly, as nuts will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped pistachios, cranberries, olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and top with the cranberry-pistachio mixture. Serve immediately. This dish can also be served as a chilled salad.

Nutritional information: calories: 394; fat: 9.5g; saturated fat: 1.6g; monounsaturated fat: 3.1g; polyunsaturated fat: 4.1g; protein: 38.7g; carbohydrate: 14.8g; cholesterol: 79mg; sodium: 423m


Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was also part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts.

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