Making New Family Traditions: Tri-Colored Matzah Balls

Tuesday, Mar 28 2017

For some people, Passover is one of the most sacred and beloved holidays. They have deep family traditions, and they look forward with great anticipation to their Seders. For others, it's a challenging week of limited eating for any number of reasons.
I find Passover to be all of these things. While I did grow up attending my grandparents' Seder each year, it was a very small, low-key event. I didn't have a lot of cousins, and there wasn't singing and games the way there is at other families' tables; by contrast, my husband's family and 30,000 cousins shared annual family gatherings that were the highlight of their year. But now that I am married with my own family, it is an exciting (albeit somewhat stressful) time where we have created our own traditions, customs and joyous ways to commemorate. We host a Seder for my family and our close friends, with a group that is growing bigger and rowdier each year: everyone just keeps having more babies. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Here's one of my dearest friends, Danielle, and her son Felix at our Seder last year.

My husband and I have spent a LOT of time thinking about fun and meaningful ways to tell the story of our people around the table for our friends and all the little ones. We bring props, masks, placemats to color and make sure there's lots of interactive singing. Everyone brings a dish or dessert or special pickles from Brooklyn, and it’s really quite nice.
On the other hand, there's the challenge of the food: so many rules! And a whole week without bread! It's a lot of work, and cleaning, cooking -- and more cleaning since you're always cooking -- and finding creative ways to keep the week interesting and delicious. During the week I like to cook some pretty non-traditional dishes like zucchini noodles with Bolognese sauce or chili topped French fries or potato kugel pizza.

But our Seder food stays pretty traditional: brisket, potato kugel, chopped liver, macaroons and other flourless cookies, and of course, matzah ball soup. You can never have enough.
I think most kids love matzah ball soup, but this year I wanted to make it just a smidge more fun with some healthful, colorful matzah balls. What kid can resist a yellow or pink or green matzah ball? Made with super-spice turmeric, fresh roasted beets, and fresh herbs and spinach, these matzah balls are as delicious as they are beautiful.
It's easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of kashrut and rules around Passover, but at the end of the day, for me it's all about sharing the story of the Jewish people, passing on traditions and sharing with our loved ones. I don't often say that food is secondary, but in the case of Passover I think it really is.
I hope you enjoy this fun take on matzah balls, and however you celebrate, I wish you a meaningful, freedom-filled and delicious Passover this year.
Shannon Sarna is Hadassah’s food guru and spokesperson for Every Bite Counts: Hadassah's Nutrition Program. The food editor of The Nosher, Shannon writes a monthly Hadassah column with signature recipes for Every Bite Counts.

Join the push for heart health with Every Bite Counts: Hadassah's Nutrition Program, featuring innovative recipes, practical tips, and heart healthy cooking.


  • Makes 6-8 Servings
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (or chicken fat)
  • ½ cup seltzer
  • 1 cup matzah meal
  • ¼ tsp salt


(Slight nutrient variation between matzah ball type)

Calories: 185 - 190 Cal
Fat: 12.2 g
Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
Trans Fatty Acid: 0 g
Poly Fat: 3.2 g
Mono Fat: 6.9 g
Cholesterol: 93 mg
Sodium: 111-115 mg
Carbohydrates: 13-15 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1-0.2 g
Total Sugars: 0.6-0.8 g
Protein: 4.7-4.8 g
Dietary Exchanges: 1 starch, ½ lean meat, 2 fat


For the beet matzah balls:
Add 2 Tbsp beet puree (can also use baby food) + 1 Tbsp additional matzah meal

For the turmeric matzah balls:
Add ½ tsp turmeric + ¼ tsp black pepper

For the spinach matzah balls:
Add ¼ cup frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained), 2 tsp chopped parsley + 2 tsp chopped fresh dill

Whisk together eggs, vegetable oil and seltzer. Add matzah meal and salt and combine with a fork until just mixed.

Divide and spoon mixture into three bowls.

Add beet puree and additional matzah meal to one bowl. Add turmeric and black pepper to the second bowl. Add spinach and herbs to third bowl.

Mix each flavor until just combined.

Place in fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Prepare a bowl of ice water and a large pot of boiling water.

Dip hands in ice water and roll first matzah ball, gently in the palm of your hands. Take care not to pack matzah balls tightly.

Repeat with all mixture. Place balls in pot of boiling water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Serve matzah balls with chicken broth, cooked vegetables, chicken and noodles if desired.


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