To me, Passover, or Pesach, is all about tradition. I’ve never actually hosted the holiday in my own home, but I imagine that when I do, I’ll be making the same foods that my mother always made.
I have fond memories of my mom’s Passover ratatouille, mock chopped liver, beet salad and cucumber salad all neatly arranged in mason jars on the door of the fridge. She always had big jars of simple syrup on the counter, which she used to sweeten everything from chicken to fish, meat and nuts. Towards the second days, when everyone had enough of the heavy meals, she always diced up a huge fruit salad in our giant glass Pyrex. And she doused it in simple syrup too.
The simple syrup didn’t bother me, especially as a kid, because the fruit tasted like candy. But the bananas – they just threw the whole thing off. There were never really rules to what went into the fruit salad – it was whatever was leftover around the house – but it almost always had melon, kiwi, sliced bananas, walnuts, and oranges.
There was always someone in the house who was walking around scratching their throat from one of the fruits – probably the kiwi, and I think it was usually my sister. But we still ate it – bananas, oranges and all – and we sipped up all those sweet drippings from the bottom of the bowl like they were liquid gold. Ah, Passover memories.
While everyone is busy preparing trays of Passover brownies, whipping up macaroons and fancy pavlovas – I’m here to say that it’s really just about the tradition. Fruit salad may be simple, but it’s what my Momma always made, and it’s what I plan to make when I host Passover in my home in the coming years.
For this recipe, I’ve done away with all the fruits that I picked out of my Mom’s fruit salad – the awful mushy bananas, pithy oranges, and throat-scratching kiwi’s. Instead, I used melons, mangos, plums and nectarines, and fancied it up with a basil honey lime dressing (a lot healthier and more flavorful than the simple syrup of my youth!). Feel free to adjust this salad to your liking – adding more lime juice for extra tartness, or more honey for extra sweetness. And you can also switch up the herbs with some fresh mint instead of basil, if you so desire. Don’t forget to top it off with some coconut whipped cream and chopped nuts to really take it over the top!
Wishing you and your loved ones a very fruitful and happy Passover!
Fruit Salad with Basil Honey Lime Dressing
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1/2 honeydew, peeled and diced
3 mangos, peeled and diced
4 nectarines, diced
4 plums, diced
handful of basil (about 20 leaves)
juice of 2 limes (3-4 tbsp)
1/4 cup honey
coconut whipped cream, optional
chopped nuts, optional
Add all the diced fruit to a bowl. In a food processor or blender, blend the basil, honey and lime juice. Alternatively, you may chop the basil into thin ribbons and mix with the lime juice and honey. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix. Serve with whipped cream and chopped nuts.
VARIATION: Feel free to use any fruit of your choice. Try using fresh mint instead of basil. Add lime zest for a stronger lime flavor.
NOTE: Add more or less honey, depending on the sweetness of the fruit.
YIELD: approximately 2 quarts.
Other Passover Desserts: