Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup

In honor of Chanukah, and the first day of winter, Jane made the matzoh ball soup recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. This is the second time she's made this recipe. The first time, the matzoh balls disintegrated.  The recipe suggests refrigerating the matzoh ball mixture one hour to overnight.  We were both excited about the soup and so, after the hour was up, Jane made the balls and then the soup.  What we got was not-so ball soup, or rather a gelatinous mess at the bottom of the soup bowl.  That was very disheartening as we both loved matzoh ball soup in our pre-vegan life.  We'd been rather hopeful about this recipe since many people have expressed real enthusiasm over this recipe.

Fast forward to yesterday in the grocery store.  Jane grabbed a box of matzoh meal.  I asked what she was planning on making with it.  She replied, "I think it's time to try the matzoh ball soup again."  This time she used extra firm tofu and refrigerated the mixture over 24 hours.  (We decided the previous failure was due to the 1 hour refrigeration.)  As they were cooking the matzoh balls floated; they sank when we removed the lid from the stock pot... as expected.  But even though the matzoh balls held together, we were both unimpressed with the taste.

Over time, I've learned there are just some things you can't veganize.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining... perhaps that would have been a complaint last year when I was trying to acclimate to my new way of eating.  But over this last year and a half, Jane and I have discovered some really wonderful dishes we might never have tried otherwise.  I'm just not sure we'll be trying to veganize matzoh ball soup any time in the near future.

Anyway, we wish a happy Chanukah to all of our readers who are celebrating tonight.


  1. Hi jennifer,
    Please do! Jane is glad to hear she’s not the only one to have trouble here. So many people rave about Isa’s cookbooks, and while we are fans, we haven’t had the best luck with her recipes. Must say though, LOVE the chickpea cutlets.

  2. thanks for the “heads up” about the recipe… matzoh ball soup is a passover tradition in my family, so knowing this I’ll have to experiment well before attempting it for the first night of passover (or, just skip it as you imply and do an alternative dish); I also had trouble with Isa’s falafel recipe – it just didn’t hold together, despite tasting really good

    – Leo

  3. The tricks I’ve figured out: use Imagine’s no-chicken stock in the recipe and in the soup. Also use half matzo ball mix and half crushed yourself matzohs. And no carrots for goodness sakes. I’m trying to remember what else I did, but everyone was quite happy with them last time I made it!

  4. My wife and I had some great vegan matzoh ball soup last year at a seder. I have no idea what the recipe was! But I might be able to find out… Then again, I’m easy to please, food-wise.

  5. My last name is Feldman, and I have yet to have figured out a good vegan matzoh ball soup.
    I only like the Maneschewitz boxed mix, but it calls for the addition of eggs, and i have tried tofu in different ways, to no avail. I may try ener-G and Tofu.

  6. Hi Vegan Libre,
    If we come across something worthwhile before Passover, we’ll post about it. But, as I stated above, I believe there are some things that simply don’t translate…. If we do stumble across a workable recipe, we’ll certainly post about it. Also, Heather comments (#4 above) that she’s had some success using a vegan chicken stock.

    Hi Heather,
    If you remember the recipe, please share. Thx.

    Hi Seitan,
    Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Gary,
    If you can get the recipe you should market it… Or share. I’ll be more than happy to link to your post. Hopefully it’s not a secret family recipe! (fixed your typo, figured it might help your marriage! 😉

    Hi Emily,
    We were talking about trying the ener-g too. But I think, since there are so few ingredients, it’s really difficult to replicate this as a vegan option.

  7. I loved my mom’s chicken matzoh ball soup as a kid, but I haven’t had it since becoming vegan. I got really excited when I found a vegan recipe!

    I ended up with little soggy balls in an oily maztoh broth – half of each matzoh ball disintegrated while cooking! I tried again, at a gentle simmer, but achieved mostly the same result.

    My plan is to try again with firmer tofu and overnight refrigeration, but from other people’s comments, it sounds like this might not work! I have to try, though. 🙂 I’m also tempted to try the flax seed egg replacer method I recently found for chocolate chip cookies – you simmer ground flax in water until you have an egg white-like gel. Ever tried that?

  8. Hi David,
    That was our feeling too… excitement! This time Jane used the extra firm tofu and refrigerated overnight. The balls mostly held together, but they were rather dense. They did taste a bit like matzoh balls, but they were nowhere near as good as the originals. Alas. If you find a successful recipe be sure to let us know!

    Jane often uses flax seed and water to replace eggs, but she’s never cooked them. She’d be interested in hearing how that turns out. What proportions of flax to water will you be using?

  9. I use 1 TB ground flaxseed mixed in 3 TB water in place of an egg – I use it in cooking all the time and it works great. Especially in cookie & muffin recipes. But I feel like it would have too much flavor for a matzoh ball.

    Sigh – my best friend is so excited about me trying to find her a vegan matzoh ball soup recipe.

    Thanks guys!

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  11. So I tried making some – but added vital wheat gluten to the mix and boy did that make a difference. I had baked half the batch in a steam bath and I had simmered the other half of the batch.

    The baked batch came out dense (like supper matza ball soup) and I soaked them in the broth for a good 5 minutes and then they were perfect. The boiled batch was the big light airy fluffy balls that you eat at passover – although I did have some come apart – out of 10 that I put in to boil 8 came out as complete balls.

    Great to have finally found a good substitute.

    In case you want to make these:
    1 package medium or soft tofu (use an immersion blender to make it into a sauce)
    3 tbsp vital wheat gluten
    nutritional yeast, parsley, chives, onion powder, celery salt, pepper to taste
    1 tsp oil
    1 tsp baking powder or baking soda – both worked for me
    matza meal (enough to make the dough stick together)
    Let chill in fridge for 20 minutes and when it comes out it should be fluffy but when you shape into balls should adhere like regular matza ball dough.

    If baking – set oven to 375 for 20 minutes. Make a foil bowl and put your matza balls in the foil and cover bottom of pan with water and set in oven to bake.

    If boiling – bring water to a rolling boil then turn down to a low simmer (water should not be rolling or have large bubbles, but it can have little bubbles), drop the balls in one by one and cook for 10 – 15 minutes (20 minutes if simmering on very low)

    Remove when done and add to broth before serving. If using baked ones – add to broth about 5 minutes before serving and let sit to soak some of the broth up.

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