Charoset is an integral part of the Pesach tradition, but not always allergen-friendly. This nut-free version combines sweet fruity flavors, a splash of red wine, and a special substitute for the perfect crunch! Slather it on matzah for Pesach or eat it all-year-round as a dip for your favorite snack.
Why is this night different from all other nights?
Because we’re eating my favorite “sandwich” (emphasis on the air quotes) of all time! I know, it’s weird. Of all things, I’m kind of seriously obsessed with romaine lettuce topped with charoset and horseradish. I kid you not, I even dig eating it on matzah.
My entire life, the years have been marked by Jewish holidays. School vacations, family get-togethers, special foods and songs. Everything revolved around Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach—that’s only a handful. I’ve got plenty more that we could talk about. Most of my friends loved Channukah for its 8 nights of presents. Plenty of them were diehard Purim fans, planning their costume months in advance.
And then there’s me, counting down the days until Pesach. What can I say? I’ve always been different from the other kids.
First, though, we need to take a step back. Charoset represents the mortar that the Jews used while slaves way down in Egypt-land. It doesn’t look particularly appetizing yet tastes so good. Essentially, charoset is fruit and nuts, cooked down in sweet wine and pureed to a spreadable consistency.
If you’re imagining boozy apple fig butter, then you’re on the right track.
Growing up, my family never used the traditional walnuts, since my brothers were allergic. The first time we went to a Pesach seder at someone else’s house, I was shocked that there were nuts in the charoset. It’s a whole different ballpark. So, when I told my mom this year that I wanted to try and make a better recipe for our charoset, she only had one condition. I needed to make it crunchy.
Game on, Mommy. Game on.
I’ll admit, for a while I was stumped. Substituting nuts for seeds is my usual solution, but we don’t eat seeds on Pesach either. (We can sit down for a long discussion on my opinions about that some other time. Maybe not when everyone is trying to get ready for the holiday.) After racking my brains, I finally landed on the perfect swap. Truthfully, I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before. Better late than never.
Now, are you ready for this? I’m proud to present nut-free charoset, brought to you by PINE NUTS—satisfying crunch without the allergens.
I strongly encourage you to eat it as many ways as you can think of. On matzah, with celery, spooned straight from the jar. Whether or not you’re celebrating Pesach, this nut-free charoset is going to be your new favorite jam. Because honestly, everyone needs a little boozy apple fig butter in their lives.
If you try my recipes, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- 2 cups peeled and chopped apples
- ½ cup chopped dried figs
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup sweet red wine
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ - 1 tsp cinnamon*
- ½ cup pine nuts
- Combine all ingredients except the pine nuts in a saucepan on the stove. Cook it over a medium-low flame for 10-13 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the wine is fully reduced.
- Let cool a little, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree to desired consistency, then remove into a bowl.
- Pulse the pine nuts until roughly chopped, about 10-15 seconds total. Mix into the fruit mixture.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
**Please note: Pine nuts are classified as a seed, not a tree nut. That being said, those with nut allergies may be advised to confirm that they are not allergic also to pine nuts.