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Grain-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup {made with chickpea flour)

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Grain-free vegan matzo ball soup made with chickpea flour and whole psyllium husks (a unique egg replacer). It is also gluten-free and  100% kosher.

Matzo Ball Soup that is Vegan & Grain-Free

My college cafeteria gets the credit for my matzo ball soup affection. They offered a great one, rich with fragrant broth, tender vegetables and fluffy, yet also substantial, matzo balls. I had only read about matzo ball soup (from the All of a Kind Family series of books; I loved the food descriptions!), but after one serving, I was hooked.

I have made several versions of matzo ball soup in my own kitchen, following the sage instructions of Joan David, Mark Bittman, and others, but it had been more than a decade since my last batch. But I was prompted to think–and -re-think–matzo ball soup when I received an email request 2 weeks ago, asking if I might have any suggestions for making grain-free, vegan matzo balls.

At the moment, I didn’t. But now, I do!

Introducing my solution: Grain-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup!

Healthy Highlights of Grain-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup

This soup is:

  • Grain-Free
  • Vegan 
  • Gluten-Free
  • Nut-Free

The matzo balls are simple to mix up, plus they cook in a fraction of the time it takes for traditional matzo balls. For reasons that will be explained below, the balls are kept small, so they are easy to scoop up by the spoonful.

Key Ingredients for Grain-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup

Instead of matzo meal,  these matzo balls are made chickpea flour.

 I knew that I could make great dumplings from chickpea flour. Chickpea flour has a rich, nutty, savory flavor that is imminently satisfying in a range of dishes. This includes dumplings of all kinds in the Middle East, and pasta and gnocchi in Italy;

Chickpea flour is kosher, but choose a brand that is certified (e.g., Bob’s Red Mill) if you are following a kosher diet.

Psyllium Husks: A Unique Egg Replacement

The super-challenge was making chickpea dumplings that are also egg-free. My initial thought was that chickpea flour could serve as both egg (binder) and starch; it works so well in many of my concocted baked goods.

Wrong.T he balls looked promising upon entry to the pot of boiling water, but disintegrated (entirely) minutes later. So I tried adding “eggs” made of a ready-to-use egg replacement mix, chia seeds, and flaxseed meal. No, no and no. I also combined chickpea flour with almond flour, coconut flour, or both. Multiple sticky bowls and pots later, I was still stumped.

Racking my brain, I remembered one more option: psyllium husks

After some more testing, it worked like a charm!

What is Psyllium Husk?

Psyllium husk  is made from the seeds of the plantago plant.

The seeds of the plantago plant are covered with an outer layer, or “husk,” that is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. The husk is called mucilage, and, when mixed with liquid, forms a gel that can be used as an egg replacement in some baking recipes! Pretty nifty!

I have used psyllium husk in quite a few recipes here on powerhungry (use the search bar, type in “psyllium”). It turned out to be exactly what these matzo balls need to hold together. If you are new to using whole psyllium husks, it looks like this:

Can I use Psyllium Powder instead of Psyllium Husk?

Yes, you can! You will use the same weight, but the measurement (teaspoons) is different.  

The measurements are slightly different by brand, but in general 1 tablespoon of whole psyllium husks is 5 grams and 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk powder is 9 grams. This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons psyllium husk; you can use 1 and 1/4 teaspoons psyllium powder instead.

How to Make the Soup

Make the Matzo Ball Dough

Mix the chickpea flour and baking powder with the water, a bit of olive oil, and (optional) chopped parsley, dried dill and salt. The dough will be moist and sticky. Loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to thicken (the psyllium will gel with the water).

Make the Soup Base

After the dough has set up, make the soup. The ingredients are classic and minimal: carrots, celery, onion, olive oil for sautéing, and broth (I used vegetable broth). I like to add a pinch of cloves and pepper, too, but these are optional.

In a large, wide pot, sauté the vegetables in oil for 5 to 6 minutes until softened. If using cloves, add with the pepper in the last 30 seconds of cooking.

Add the broth, bring to a boil, and then simmer while prepping the matzo balls.

Roll the Dough into Balls

Shape and roll the dough into small balls; they will double in size as they simmer. Do not make them larger; it only takes a few minutes to cook the small balls. Larger balls will disintegrate with a longer cook time. If you like, you can prep these balls in advance, cover, and place back in the refrigerator until it is time to eat the soup.

With traditional matzo ball soup, the matzo balls are simmered separately from the soup in a large pot of water or broth. This is done, in part, to keep the soup clear (the matzoh balls break down a little bit as they cook; the murky water is left behind in the matzo ball water).

The extra pot/step is not needed with these little darlings, because they only need about 5 minutes to cook! Once the soup is ready (vegetables are tender, soup is flavorful), bring back to a low boil. Add the matzo balls. They will sink at first, but rise to the surface in  30 seconds or so. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 4 to 6 minutes longer, just until the matzo balls appear firm.

That’s it! Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

Enjoy, & Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating!

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Grain-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup {made with chickpea flour)


  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Tender, fluffy matzo balls made without grains, eggs or dairy! It’s all possible thanks to chickpea flour and whole psyllium husks (a unique egg replacer). The soup is 100% kosher, too!


Ingredients

Scale

Matzo Balls:

Soup:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peel and thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups (64 oz) kosher vegetable broth
  • fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

  1. Matzo Balls: In a medium bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, psyllium husks,  baking powder and dill. Add the water, olive oil and parsley, stirring until completley blended (the dough will be moist). Let stand at least 15 minutes.
  2. Soup: In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until softened. Add pepper and optional cloves; cook and stir 30 seconds longer.
  3. Stir in broth ; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes or until carrots are very soft. Season to taste with salt.
  4. While soup simmers, roll the dough into small balls (I use my small cookie scoop to portion), placing on a plate or piece of parchment paper.
  5. Return soup to a low boil and add the matzo balls. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until balls have risen to surface and appear firm.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes

Tip: Do not cook boil the matzo balls too long or they will eventually start to break down. Remove the soup from the heat once the matzo balls are cooked through.

Storage: Store the leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating the soup, remove the matzo balls. Add the matzo balls back in when the soup is very hot (heat the balls for about 1 minute in hot soup).

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 1and 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 198
  • Sugar: 9.3 g
  • Sodium: 439 mg
  • Fat: 6.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27.2 g
  • Fiber: 6.4 g
  • Protein: 6.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: grain-free vegan matzo ball soup, gluten free matzo balls, egg-free, dairy-free, vegan, chickpea flour, psyllium husks

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Jessi

Sunday 10th of May 2020

Can the Matzo ball be frozen if not used.

Camilla

Saturday 25th of July 2020

Hi Jessi,

No, they are a bit too delicate to be frozen.

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