7 Delicious, Make-Ahead Side Dishes to Wow your Passover Guests

Passover is almost here and I’m betting that if it’s a holiday you celebrate you have all of your usual favorite recipes that you turn to when you host family and friends. In my house there’s lots of hard as rock matzoh balls, boozy charoset, long-cooked brisket, and mandel bread (the most popular part!).  But the real highlight is the rousing rendition of Chad Gadya!  You have to see it to believe it.


For holidays steeped in tradition, such as this one, it can often be difficult or unpopular to try something new or make something a little different.  That’s why I often find that opting to be the bringer of side dishes is the safest and most fun place to contribute — because it’s the one area that you can do something a little different without causing an uprising. Plus side dishes are one of the easiest things to make ahead of time and simply assemble or reheat at the party.

So when my dear friend wrote me with a plea for veggies other than carrots and topped it off with the ultimate compliment by calling me a “veggie goddess”, I couldn’t resist putting together a list for her and anyone else who might be looking to make something a little bit different this year.

Passover Sides (1)

I haven’t tried all of these, but here are some of my favorite potential side dishes for your next Passover (or other) celebration.  I’ve also included some make-ahead tips because please don’t be that person who shows up with a dish they need to prep, bake, and clean-up at the host’s house.  (And if you’re the one hosting, check out my tips on planning and prepping for a dinner – or other- party here and here for the most stress-free Passover yet.)


  1. Grill Roasted Vegetables with Pine Nut Pesto: I’ve made this one before and I love it because you can easily change out the vegetables for whatever is seasonal and also make it vegan by leaving out the butter and cheese.  
    • Make Ahead:
      • Vegetables: Grill or roast the vegetables up to 3 days ahead of time and store in a covered casserole dish
      • Pesto: Make the night before and store in a lidded container
    • Reheat at the party: 
      • Heat the vegetables in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through (about 15 minutes)
      • Top with room temperature pesto and serve
  2. Tomato Basil Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese and Asparagus: While I haven’t tried this specific recipe, I love the idea of serving a “noodle” made of veggies on a holiday that traditional noodles can’t be served. For this one, check that you can use a large pan and the stove (often the less utilized appliance!) for a few minutes at the party.
    • Make Ahead:
      • Sauce: Make the sauce up to 3 days ahead of time and store in a lidded container
      • Asparagus and “Zoodles”: Shave asparagus and spiralize zucchini the night before and store in a lidded container
    • Reheat at the party:
      • In a large skillet, cook zoodles and apsaragus for a couple minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook until heated through. Top with goat cheese (if using) and serve.
  3. World’s Best Braised Cabbage: Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo is not lying when she says that this is the world’s best braised cabbage. It’s hearty and warming, full of fiber (a must for Passover if you have any experience with a matzoh heavy diet), and can be easily made ahead.
    • Make Ahead:
      • Follow recipe to make cabbage up to 4 days ahead of time and store in a covered baking dish
    • Reheat at the party:
      • Reheat in oven at 425 degrees until warmed through, about 15 minutes
  4. Summer Squash Salad: Amy Chaplin is the queen of flavor-packed, nutrition-filled dishes, so while I haven’t tried this particular dish, I don’t hesitate to recommend anything that she makes. This is also a great example of escalating a salad to side dish by mixing up flavors and cutting your vegetables in interesting ways (i.e. a thin, raw squash rather than a thicker cut roasted one).
    • Make Ahead:
      • Dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a mason jar up to 3 days ahead of time shake to combine (now and before serving)
      • Vegetables: Shave all of the vegetables thinly the night before and store in a lidded container
      • Garnish: Grate manchego cheese (if using) and pick mint and basil leaves (don’t tear yet) the night before and store in baggies
    • Assemble at the party:
      • Place vegetables in serving bowl
      • Top with dressing followed by grated cheese and torn mint and basil leaves
  5. Stovetop Tzimmes: These don’t technically meet the request for “non carrot side dishes” but I’m including this new-to-me recipe here because they are super traditional and a real crowd pleaser thanks to their sweet and salty flavor profile.
    • Make Ahead:
      • Follow recipe and stop right before adding the prunes. Do this up to 3 days ahead of time and store in a lidded baking dish (which you can serve in)
    • Assemble at the party:
      • Add cooked veggies, with remaining liquid, to a large pot. If the liquid has all been absorbed, add a touch more broth or water. Place pitted prunes on top and cook 15 minutes over medium heat until cooked through and prunes are softening. Place back in baking dish to serve
  6. Lentil Salad with Beets and Pomegranate:  Passover tables everywhere were rocked last week when the Jewish Journal publicized the Conservative ruling that “kitinyot” including rice, beans, and corn are “are now permitted for Ashkenazi Jews on Passover, overruling about seven centuries of Ashkenazi custom that banned those foods”.  Now you probably don’t care about this too much if you’re a casual Passover guest or observer, but it does open up a world of culinary possibilities when it comes to side dishes. I’d recommend checking with your host first on their feelings on beans (and sharing the news), but if they’re open to it, something like this lentil salad could be a great way to celebrate (the news and the holiday).
    • Make Ahead: 
      • Put together dressing and store in a mason jar up to 3 days ahead
      • Cook lentils, strain and store in a lidded container up to 3 days ahead
      • Roast beets, clean pomegranate seeds, and slice onions up to 2 days ahead and store each separately
    • Assemble at the party:
      • Toss together dressing, lentils, beets, pomegranate seeds, onions, torn mint, and salt and pepper in serving bowl
  7. Spicy Quinoa Salad: This tabbouleh style quinoa salad with a little kick of spice looks like it could be a great carb-heavy side dish for non-matzoh or non-meat eating guests (gluten freers and vegans).  Based on the reviews, it looks like it could use a few small tweaks, but that’s easy to do in a salad dish like this, and it could be a great base recipe!
    • Make Ahead:
      • Cook quinoa and store in a lidded container up to 3 days ahead
      • Make cucumber mixture and store in a lidded container up to 3 days ahead
      • Combine onion, lime juice and vinegar in a lidded container up to 3 days ahead
    • Assemble at the party:
      • Combine all of the elements in a serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed
      • Top with avocado and serve

Let me know if you try any of these recipes or if you have other favorite Passover side dishes we should try!


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