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Big News: Quinoa Officially Kosher For Passover, According To The OU

The topic has long been a point of contention, but the Orthodox Union—one of the world’s foremost kashrut authorities—recently declared quinoa kosher for Passover. (Cue collective Jewish hipster sigh of relief.) Of course, Jews have been eating quinoa on Passover for a while now, regardless of rabbinic rulings—in 2008, Gourmet lauded the protein-rich super-food as “the belle of the Passover ball.” But this recent development is big news for those who strictly adhere to Passover dietary restrictions: although quinoa isn’t one of the five originally prohibited grains, many rabbis have vetoed it because of its grain-like appearance and consistency. (But some have approved it! Because rabbis, amirite?) Classification aside, the production process is also potentially problematic: if quinoa comes into contact with wheat or corn on factory equipment, it becomes chametz (leaven).

Anyway, the Orthodox Union has allayed these fears by sending a representative to inspect quinoa fields and production facilities in South America. NPR reports:

So… OK for Passover? Or not? Last winter, says Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer of Orthodox Union Kosher, he sent a rabbi to check it out.

“This rabbi went all the way to Bolivia and Peru,” Elefant reports. “He saw that quinoa grows near the top of the mountain and grain grows near the bottom of the mountain.” Thus, there was no chance for the intermingling that might happen with crops planted near wheat. Another plus for quinoa, says Elefant: “Many rabbis are of the opinion that anything that wasn’t part of the original custom is not included in the custom.”

All that was left for the rabbis was inspection of factories that package quinoa to see if forbidden grains are processed on the same equipment that processes it. And some passed. Those factories that got the all-clear now produce quinoa that will bear the OU-P symbol, meaning they’re kosher for Passover.

Alright, then. With the kosher technicalities settled, let’s get down to business. Here are some of our favorite Passover quinoa recipes for you to read, share, cook, and enjoy:

1. Rachel Harkham‘s delicious, ridiculously easy Marmalade-Garlic Glazed Roasted Chicken With Cranberry-Almond Quinoa Stuffing.

2. Paula Shoyer has this Sweet and Crunchy Quinoa Salad recipe that I am O-to-the-B obsessed with and make year round. It’s pareve/vegan, but sometimes I throw in a bit of crumbled feta cheese, because cheese makes everything better.

3. Roasted Mushroom Quinoa Risotto — worth the repetitive stirring, I promise.

4. Leah Koenig has a lovely modern seder menu up at Saveur, which includes this simple recipe for Herbed Lemon Quinoa.

5. Cinnamon-Scented Breakfast Quinoa — better than granola!

6. Quinoa Tabbouleh — so pretty.

7. Tilapia and Quinoa with Feta and Cucumber, because what sort of the holiday recipe round-up would this be if I didn’t link to Martha Stewart?

p.s. FYI, here’s a great post explaining how to make perfect, fluffy quinoa every time.

(Image: Shutterstock.)

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