Vegan Gefilte Fish

Vegan Gefilte "Fish"

Vegan Gefilte "Fish"

Vegan Gefilte Fish
Recipe Type: Vegan
Author: Suzanne Barnard
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: Makes 12
Gefilte Fish is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish made of ground fish. It is often served as a starter on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. This delicious fish- and egg-free version is an easy to prepare and kosher for Passover.
  • ½ medium cauliflower
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon fine matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon medium matzo meal
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon Schwartz “Fish Herb and Spice Blend” (optional)
  • 1 small carrot, for garnish
  • a squeeze of lemon, to serve
  1. Peel the potato and parsnip and cut these into small pieces. Break the cauliflower into florets.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potato, parsnip and cauliflower for 10 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, grate the onion into a large bowl.
  4. When the vegetables are cooked, add them to the bowl along with the grated onion. Mash thoroughly.
  5. Add the salt, pepper and celery salt, matzo meal and ground almonds. Mix well.
  6. Use two tablespoons to form “Gefilte Fish” shaped patties (i.e. small lemon shapes/rugby ball shapes). The tablespoons help keep each one neat and uniform. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Bring a litre of vegetable stock to the boil (the pan which was used to cook the vegetables can be used again) then lower the heat.
  8. Add the carrot, whole, into the broth.
  9. Carefully place the “fish” patties in the broth and cook on a low heat for 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook or they will start to disintegrate.
  10. Gently remove the “fish” with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Remove the carrot and cut into diagonal slices.
  11. Plate up the “fish” or refrigerate until needed.
  12. Serve topped with a slice of carrot, a sprinkle of Schwartz “Fish Herb and Spice Blend” (optional), a squeeze of lemon and some “chraine” (horseradish and beetroot sauce).


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    • Kevin Carr
    • 9th September 2013

    I made these but added a tablespoon of sushi seasoning. Could also use finely sliced nori.

    Tried just two in the stock on an extremely low simmer and they fell apart.

    So the rest I just pan fried and they were really good. Latke style.

    • Elaine israel
    • 21st March 2014

    I made this recipe today and spent 3 hours at it. I lost 16 quenelles. I decided to bake them. They were delicious. I baked them at 300 for 1/2 an hour. They tasted pretty close to gefilte fish especially with horseradish.

      • Clyde Lerner
      • 11th April 2015

      If you’re around Elaine . . . did you put anything on the pan when you baked them? Did you soak them in vegetable broth at all?

    • Shyaporn Theerakulstit
    • 15th September 2015

    The recipe, as stated, is VERY watery. I used 3-4 times the amount of matzo meal suggested in order to get a thick enough consistency for the “fish” ovoids to be even remotely firm enough.

    I also recommend retaining the water used to boil the initial root vegetable mixture, to add to the broth, as it tends to get a bit thick after a few rounds of cooking.

    Good taste, though. Would make again.

    • Rob Montague
    • 14th June 2017

    Thanks to everyone for the previous comments and suggestions. I’m going to try this recipe soon. Just looking at it, though, I would probably add some vegan egg-replacer as a binder (Ener-G brand egg replacer is kosher for passover but there are other alternatives you might prefer) and I would add some kelp powder to the mixture to achieve a “fishy” flavor. For the poaching liquid I would also make some Japanese kombu dashi and use it as the base stock to which onion, carrot, celery and salt can be added to achieve the traditional flavor. For fans of jellied broth, some agar-agar powder (about half the amount normally called for to firmly set the amount of liquid) will result in a softer jelly. Actually, some agar-agar powder added to the “fish” mixture could also help firm up the final “fish” balls and get the texture of the non-vegetarian original!

    • Rob Montague
    • 14th August 2020

    An addition to my comments from 2017:

    Based on some other recipes I recently learned, I think this will solve the problem of the fish patties/quenelles falling apart during poaching

    Prepare 1 quart/liter (at least) Japanese kombu dashi (seaweed broth). Salt it lightly, if necessary. Boil the cauliflower, parsnips and potato in the dashi as in the original recipe. Strain out the cooked veggies, reserving the dashi. To the reserved dashi add sliced carrots, a halved onion, and two stalks of celery (cut up) and bring back to a boil. Cook until the carrots slices are tender. Strain out the carrot slices and reserve to decorate the quenelles. Strain out the onion and celery and discard.

    Following the original recipe, mash the vegetables, matzo meal, almond meal, adding a bit of kelp or other seaweed powder to heighten the “fish” flavor. The mash should be quite thick.

    In a small saucepan bring one-half cup (125ml) of the reserved dashi to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of agar-agar powder over the dashi and whisk/stir for 4 or 5 minutes until the agar is completely dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly. Stir the agar-agar solution into the mashed vegetables. Allow it to sit and begin cooling for a few minutes. Try forming your patties/quenelles. If too loose to hold their shape add a bit more almond/matzo meal to the mixture and mix very well. Allow a few minutes for the additional meal to absorb the liquid and try again. Form the patties/quenelles, arrange in a baking dish/pan, place a carrot slice on each “fish” and cool. The agar-agar will begin setting and bind the patties together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    If you like your gefilte fish in a jellied broth, bring the remaining dashi to a simmer, add a few drops of lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. When you like it, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of agar-agar powder over the simmering dashi (there should be about a quart/liter of liquid) and stir/whisk it in until completely dissolved. Allow to cook for 4 – 5 minutes until the liquid begins to thicken slightly. Allow to cool a bit and pour over/around the gefilte fish quenelles. Return to the refrigerator. This amount of liquid and agar-agar will produce a soft gel.

    The kombu (kelp for making dashi) and agar-agar powder can be bought in shops selling Japanese and Korean ingredients, or online. Making dashi is extremely easy. Just use a piece of kombu suitable for the amount of dashi you’re making (in this case a bit more than a quart/liter and an 8 inch/20cm piece of kombu). Wipe the piece of kombu with a paper towel and score it lightly with the point of a knife in a couple of places. Put the kombu in cold water and allow to soak for 1 hour. Bring the water almost to a boil and immediately remove the piece of kombu. Once you have removed the kombu it’s OK to boil the dashi.

    The piece of kombu can be reused to make “secondary dashi” used for simmering vegetables or other ingredients. Add the kombu to another quart of water, bring to a boil, and simmer (this time with the kombu in it) until the broth is reduced by about 1/3 (about 15 minutes).

    • Rob Montague
    • 14th August 2020

    Oops, last observations: By using the agar-agar there is no need for further simmering the patties/quenelles. Just pour the remaining dashi (with or without agar-agar, depending on whether you want jelled broth) over and around the “fish” and refrigerate. The patties will absorb the liquid they need so they are moist when served.

    If you like your gefilte fish sweet, add some sugar or other sweetener to the mashed mixture and to the dashi. Start with a teaspoon or two and taste until both reach the degree of sweetness you like.

    • Joanne Gordon Frey
    • 27th March 2021

    This was a terrible recipe. I followed the instructions exactly and they fell apart after 4 minutes. Total waste of time and money.

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