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"Almost the Real Thing"

Photo: Rob Tannenbaum, Martha Steward Show

Chicken soup is the ultimate Jewish comfort food. If you were sick, Mom/Grandmom would say, "have a bowl of chicken soup"; somehow it had magical healing powers (and still does). Friday night dinner, everyone, especially the kids, loves a bowl of chicken soup. At holiday time, particularly at Passover, a big bowl of chicken soup and matzo balls is a standard menu item. No doubt about it, chicken soup has the power to evoke memories of family meals past, soothing both the body and the soul.

So, what happens if you are a vegetarian? How do you get your "chicken soup" with matzo balls during the holidays, or, any time? Or, for health reasons, maybe you want to cut down on your intake of meat items.  Chicken soup substitutes no longer have to consist of dissolving a powdered, parve chicken soup substitute in boiling water − there is a much healthier way to prepare a delicious and nourishing broth that may not be "the real thing" but is, nevertheless, tasty and satisfying.

Broth made from a combination of fresh vegetables is easy to make, good for you, and tastes much better than a store bought version. Depending what you are serving, it can be used for either dairy or meat meal preparation − use it in place of water when making rice, use it to flavor sauces, or when sautéing mushrooms. Make a large batch and freeze for later use.

We saw the following recipe for Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup on the Martha Stewart Show and wanted to share it with our readers. It is a family recipe from Jonathan Safran Foer, author of the New American Haggadah. We are also including a recipe for Homemade Vegetable Stock that was featured in our Vitamix Blender article.

Enjoy both recipes and the remainder of the Passover holiday.

Watch Jonathan Foer and his grandmother, Ethel, demonstrate how to make the soup and matzo balls.

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