Gluten-free Passover: the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Passover is a special time of year for those of us with celiac disease.

Whether or not you’ve got a spiritual or familiar tie to Passover, the simple fact of the matter is that the dietary restrictions surrounding the holiday are largely gluten-free.

You don't have to go to Seder to enjoy GF Passover!

A quick recap: Passover, or Pesach, celebrates the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. It’s when Moses earned his chops, parted the Red Sea, led the people to freedom.

Of course, they left their homes in such a hurry that their bread did not have time to rise – which is why today the Passover celebration includes eating matzah, unleavened bread, and abstaining from chametz.

What’s chametz? Anything that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats is considered chametz and – if there’s a chance it came into contact with water for more than 18 minutes and had the chance to ferment – it’s not eaten during Passover.

A holiday dedicated to avoiding wheat, barley, rye and oats? Indeed.

First, the most important disclaimer: just because something is OK for Passover does not mean it is gluten-free. Matzah is still very much gluten-full, and matzah meal makes its way into many Passover foods.

If you’re purchasing an item from a company that also works with matzah meal, you may want to think about the possibility of shared equipment as well. The word “Non-gebroktz” is a good indicator that there was no matzah or other wheat anywhere near the product.

Second disclaimer: Kosher is not the same as kosher for Passover!

Now, the most important fun stuff: LOTS of what’s OK for Passover has no matzah anywhere near it. If there’s a Jewish community near where you live, you’ve likely already seen the Passover displays in supermarkets. There are gluten-free cakes made with potato starch, gluten-free coconut macaroons, and also the most delicious thing ever: Joyva cherry marshmallow twists (try eating them straight from the freezer!).

For those of you with less of a sweet tooth, there are also plenty of savory gluten-free options. Noodles, mixes, blintzes, “bread” crumbs, etc.

If you don’t like the options available near you, you can also go online to one of these retailers and stock up:

Interested in cooking your own kosher for Passover treats? Check back soon for recipes!

Are you celebrating a gluten-free Passover or stocking up on goodies? Tell us about it in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Gluten-free Passover: the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

  1. I agree… It is very easy to eat gluten-free while observing Passover. EXCEPT during the seder, when we are commanded to eat matzah. What then?!

  2. I was looking at purchasing an extra box of potato starch this Passover to use for gluten-free baking for friends, but so far I’ve not found a single brand that will state it’s Kosher for Passover potato starch is gluten-free — and at least one which states explicitly that it is processed in the same facility that processes wheat. Since I’m not the one who will suffer if I’ve made a wrong choice of brand, I’m a bit confused. (BTW, the Gefen noodles are based on potato starch and state explicitly non-Gebrokst, but that only means that they’re made consistent with a tradition that does not believe in eating products made from matzoh that has been broken, not that it wasn’t produced in the same facility as matzoh/wheat products. OTOH, I’m not sure that Gefen produces matzoh or matzoh-based products in the first place.)

  3. A little late for the Seder, but for the rest of Passover and the future, Yehuda makes a fantastic GF Matzo-Style Squares. They taste like baked potato chips, but look like matzah. The package has the Proud Sponsor of Celiac Disease Foundation logo so it is all good. I am not GF but tasted it and now I am eating it also.

  4. There definitely are Kosher for Passover (KP) potato starches. There is also a co. that makes “matzah-like” crackers from potato starch that is KP. Depending on how observant you are though, matzah made from potato is not something you can say the hamotzi over – you need something from one of the 6 grains. I make my own matzah from GF oats! It’s a lot cheaper than buying the imported GF matzah at $30/lb. Grind the oats in a coffee mill, sift out the bran, and mix it with just enough water so that it holds together and can be rolled as thinly as possible. Poke some holes and bake!

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