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A Vegetarian Passover: Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew

vegetarian passover stew with potatoes olives, carrots, and chickpeas

If you’re Jewish—or are a relative or friend of the tribe—you’ll be stuffing yourself silly with delicious traditional dishes next week. Unfortunately for vegetarians, the customary Passover menu is loaded with beef, poultry, and fish. My grandmother always made her famous brisket for seder, and my mother usually makes both brisket and chicken, not to mention her scrumptious chicken soup with perfect matzohballs. Then there’s gefilte fish, eaten with a dollop of spicy red horseradish, which I’ve grown to love over years of intense exposure therapy. Oh, and don’t forget that big bowl of hard-boiled eggs. No doubt about it, a traditional seder is not a whole lot of fun for those who don’t eat animal products. So this year, since our guest list includes some vegetarians, I’ve made it my mission to come up with an animal-free entree that we can all enjoy.

In putting together this veggie stew, I took a few things into consideration. I wanted to come up with something that would go well with the rest of the dinner, that would (at least seem to) have some relevance, and that would be incredibly easy to make. A potato-based vegetable stew seemed like a good match for a meaty dinner. And I tossed in some Mediterranean ingredients, as well as some springtime ingredients, for the relevance part. For the easiness, I made sure the entire dish could be made in one single pot—a critical quality for one of the kitchen’s busiest nights of the year.

Now, a word about the optional chickpeas: Ashkenazi Jews (whose roots trace back to Germany and neighboring countries) abstain not only from bread and leavened products during Passover, but also from rice, corn, legumes, and seeds, like sesame and poppy. On the other hand, Sephardic Jews (whose roots trace back to Spain and Portugal) don’t share the custom of those secondary restrictions. I decided to go Sephardic for this stew, and include chickpeas to add some protein—but you can certainly leave them out if you are a strict non-legume-consumer.

p.s. Leave out the optional Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got yourself a genuine vegan Passover entree.

Yield: 4 - 6

Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew

This vegetarian Passover entree includes hearty Mediterranean and Springtime ingredients like tomatoes, olives, potatoes, and artichoke hearts. And the entire dish can be made in one single pot—a critical quality for one of the kitchen's busiest nights of the year. (The chickpeas are optional, depending on your Passover dietary habits.)


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1½ pounds small red potatoes, halved or quartered
  • ½ pound carrots, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained (optional)
  • 8 ounces frozen or canned artichoke hearts, thawed or drained and cut in half
  • ¾ cup pitted green olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for optional non-vegan garnish


  1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add onions and stir until onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, potatoes, and carrots and stir for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and juice, wine, raisins, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Bring liquid to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes and carrots begin to soften (10 to 15 minutes).
  4. Add chickpeas, artichoke hearts, olives, and capers, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are soft.
  5. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan (optional).


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By on April 12th, 2011

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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2 thoughts on “A Vegetarian Passover: Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew”

  1. Oh, how I love this article. History and all. So glad you mentioned your grandmother since the whole celebration is so much about grandmothers and what they cooked, may you remember it forever. The recipe sounds scrumptious.

  2. Well, I tried this tonight, although I was caught short on an item or two. I ended up stupidly buying crushed tomatoes with puree and decided to use fresh Romas that I had instead. They were going to go bad, so this seemed like a good solution. I also didn’t have raisins, but then, I’m not really a raisin girl. I’m at the tail end of the final simmer, so I’ll report back in once I’ve dug in to a bowl. It looks delicious. Yay Lazy Gourmets!!


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