Vegetable Matzoh Ball Soup

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I grew up eating at the many Jewish delis and bakeries in Los Angeles. Sitting down to pickles and bagel chips, eating mile-high sandwiches, and picking my favorite chocolate rugelach pastries in the bakery display window are some of my favorite memories. Delis in general are amazing, you just have to watch your salt intake!

Matzoh ball soup was a favorite, two huge doughy balls in a flavorful chicken broth. Sometimes my friend and I would stop after school just to snack on it. I later found out that these tasty dumplings are traditionally made with schmaltz, or chicken fat. No wonder they were so flavorful! I decided the recipe needed a little makeover so I cut out the chicken fat and made a vegetable matzoh ball out of roasted fennel and mushrooms. I still used chicken broth so it imparted a great flavor without the added fat!

I decided to post this recipe for Passover, “the festival of unleavened bread” that commemorates the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Matzoh bread is a symbol of Passover. It is said the Israelites left in such a hurry, they could not wait for the bread to rise and made unleavened bread instead. The name “Passover” refers to the sparing of the Israelites from the tenth plague of God.

Servings: serves 5, 11 dumplings


    Vegetable Matzoh Ball:
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms (1/2 container)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup crushed lightly salted matzoh cracker
  • Soup Base:
  • 3-4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 3 asparagus, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or fennel fronds for garnish

*Feel free to use any other vegetables you have on hand like mushroom, celery, onion to replace above or simply add more carrot.


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim fennel, reserve tops for decoration or salad. Remove outer layer and inner core. Slice thin. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and roast in oven 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add mushrooms and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Roast additional 10-15 minutes or until fennel is tender. Set aside to cool at least 10 minutes.
  2. Puree fennel and mushrooms in blender or with immersion blender. Add 1 egg, ½ cup chicken broth, 1 egg, and ½ cup matzoh cracker crumbs. (Crush matzoh crackers in Ziploc bag). Dough will be very moist. Wet hands and form into walnut-size balls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Place matzoh balls in gently and cover with lid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make soup base.
  4. Place chicken broth, water, carrot, parsnip, and leek in another pot. Bring to a boil then simmer gently for 10-15 minutes or until carrot is tender. Add asparagus and salt at last 5 minutes. When soup is ready, place matzoh balls in soup and let simmer a couple minutes. Then, serve and garnish with parsley or fennel if desired.

nutrition facts label for Vegetable Matzoh Ball Soup

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