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Old fashioned chicken soup is sometimes called “Jewish Penicillin” for the ways it manages to comfort and seemingly heal so many ailments – and if the soup alone can work magic, you just know adding fluffy matzo balls to it can only help. So, just as cold weather and sniffle season settle in, we set out to create a vegan matzo ball soup recipe that would melt off the chill and put some pep back into anybody’s step when they’re feeling gross.
Traditionally, matzo ball soup is made with a long-simmered chicken stock, and the “schmaltz,” or chicken fat, is mixed with matzo cracker crumbs and eggs to make dumpling-like matzo balls. For this vegan matzo ball soup recipe, you’ll use either vegetable or “no-chicken” stock and plenty of fresh dill in the soup; and chia seeds and olive oil in place of eggs and schmaltz in the balls. You can buy matzo meal ready to go, which saves a step, or it’s easy to grind the matzos (the whole crackers) yourself in the food processor. Go that route and you’ll have plenty of matzos left over to enjoy with dips and spreads.
Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
- If using crackers, break them up into a food processor bowl, then pulse to make a coarse meal. Measure 1 cup, reserve any extra for another use.
- In a large bowl, combine the matzo meal, potato starch, parsley, dill, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar and stir to mix well.
- In a cup, measure the bubbly water, then add the chia seeds and olive oil and stir. Let stand for 5 minutes for the chia seeds to start making gel. Stir the chia mixture into the matzo mixture, it will thicken as you stir.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and roll between your palms to make even balls. Place on a baking sheet or large plate. You should have 21 balls. Chill for 30 minutes.
- While the matzo balls chill, make the soup.
- In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and stir. When the onion starts to sizzle, add the celery, carrots, parsnip, salt and pepper and stir. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover, cook for 10 minutes.
- When the matzo balls are chilled,carefully drop each ball into the simmering soup, with space between them. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, adjusting the heat so it stays at a low simmer. Stir gently halfway.
- Uncover and stir in fresh dill, and mock chicken, if using. Stir over low heat until the “chicken” is heated through. Adjust seasonings and serve.