Vegan Passover Brisket
March 30, 2021
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

The traditional centerpiece at Passover, brisket is a mainstay of the Seder meal, and a delicious way to feed a celebratory crowd. This vegan twist on the classic utilizes mushrooms and tempeh as the base for a tender and savory brisket stand-in, that’s braised in the same richly flavored sauce as the original. Tempeh is a nutrient-rich fermented tofu product packed with protein, fiber, and gut-healthy prebiotics. It’s purported to lower inflammation and reduce oxidative stress and cholesterol in the body and contributes a meaty texture to this recipe. While a bit more time-consuming than most recipes shared here, it adds to the celebratory feel, and your home will smell incredible from the braising sauce in the oven. Serve this up for any vegans or vegetarians around your Seder table, and watch the meat-eaters reach for a bite!

Serves 4-6
Total Time: 90 minutes

Brisket Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (try cremini, portobello, or shiitake)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium cooked red beet, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 8 ounces soybean tempeh, crumbled
  • ½ cup cooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Brisket braising sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
  • Sprigs of parsley, to garnish (optional)

Brisket Braising Sauce:

In a small skillet, sauté one onion and 4 cloves of garlic until tender (4-6 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and stir to combine. Add 1 ½ cups vegetable broth and bring up to a boil. Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Blend until smooth (either in your food processor or blender).

Brisket Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and slightly golden in places. Add the onion, garlic, beet and spinach, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach is almost wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the mushroom mixture, along with the hemp hearts, coconut, pumpkin seeds, crumbled tempeh, oats, parsley, and spices. Pulse to a rough crumble that still has some texture.
  3. Transfer the pulsed mixture to a large bowl. Put 1/3 of the mixture back into the food processor, and blend into a paste (this the whole mixture stick together more easily). Mix the paste back into the pulsed mixture in your bowl.
  4. In an oven-safe baking dish, pour in ½ the brisket braising sauce. Use your hands to form the mushroom tempeh mixture into a meatloaf shape over the sauce. Arrange the carrots and parsnips around the brisket, and pour the remaining sauce over the brisket and vegetables.
  5. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the brisket feels firm to the touch and slightly browned on top. Allow to rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley sprigs if desired, slice and enjoy!

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About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: