As lovely as chickpea "eggs" are in so many vegan dishes, in this vegan matzo brei (usually pronounced "bry" to rhyme with "fry") they are simply sublime.
Matzo brei is a Passover tradition when Jews avoid unleavened baked goods. Matzo crackers, made with wheat and water, stand in as the bread of choice and in a brei, a frittata-like dish with a difference, the crackers are crumbled or broken into bits, soaked, and then stirred into eggs and veggies and cooked.
But Matzo Brei makes a delicious meal any time of the year. This vegan version is one of my favorite quickie breakfasts or brunches for weekends and it packs enough muscle to stand in for a light lunch or dinner even.
In my version, I don't soak the crackers. Rather, I semi-submerge them in the chickpea batter which softens some bits and leaves others crisp, offering a nice contrast.
I hope you will try it. It feels indulgent enough, yet it takes very little time -- and skill -- to make. And it's quite versatile so you can tweak it to your and your family's tastes.
If you do, be sure to let me know in the comments below, or take a photo and tag @HolyCowVegan on Instagram.
Why you'll love this vegan matzo brei
- It's tasty. The chickpea "eggs" are perfectly spiced with a bit of jalapeno and herbs like rosemary and parsley add freshness and more flavor. The matzo crackers, submerged in all this deliciousness, become seductively soft but they don't fully surrender their crackly, crunchy character. As a result you get a delightful variety of textures in each bit.
- It's healthy. Chickpea flour is great for you, as you already know, and the mushrooms and herbs make this healthful breakfast dish even healthier.
- It's easy. Mixing up the chickpea "eggs" is easy and probably takes about the same time it might take one to crack eggs and whisk them. Chop the mushrooms, onions and herbs and you are all set.
- It takes under 30 minutes. From scratch to the stovetop, broiler and then the table, this recipe comes together faster than you can say "brei."
- It's versatile. You can add to this dish other veggies that you like. Or you can make it gluten-free. The recipe is already soy-free and nut-free, so everyone can eat it.
The Manischewitz brand, which I used and is perhaps the most commonly available here in the U.S., is made with only wheat and water. So yes, they are perfectly safe to use in this vegan recipe, although if you use another kind be sure to read the labels.
Yes, the only ingredient with gluten in this recipe are the matzo crackers. The Manischewitz gluten-free crackers have eggs in them but I found at least one brand, Lakewood, that is both gluten-free and vegan.
Yes, use any quick-cooking veggie like spinach greens or zucchini or bell peppers here. I think it tastes especially good with mushrooms, but run with your imagination and you'll no doubt land somewhere delicious.
- Chickpea flour: The proteins in bean batters thicken and coagulate when heated, just like eggs do, making them a perfect stand-in for eggs in plant-based recipes. However, chickpea flour doesn't taste like eggs; it tastes, in fact, better. So you might expect some difference in flavor if you're used to the egg version of brei but also expect to be pleasantly surprised.
- Rice flour: Rice flour adds a bit of lightness to the batter and also it helps make the frittata crisp up slightly.
- Rosemary: Aromatic and smoky, rosemary is a great herb to add to this matzo brei. But if you don't have rosemary, or don't like it, use another savory herb like thyme or sage. I used a tablespoon of chopped rosemary in the recipe, which could be too strong for some although it's perfect for me. Use less if that's what you prefer.
- Parsley: Parsley adds freshness to the brei.
- Jalapeno pepper: For a touch of clean, spicy flavor.
- Avocado oil or any vegetable oil: To coat the pan. You can use a cooking spray in a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet, if you wish to keep this lower in fat than it already is.
- Shallots: Shallots create a wonderful, aromatic base in this matzo frittata. You can substitute onions or even leeks.
- Garlic: For building more flavor.
- Crimini or button mushrooms: You can use other wild mushrooms but I like a quick cooking mushroom like crimini or button mushroom here.
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Matzo crackers. Make sure you read the labels as some matzo crackers can have egg in them. I used Manischewitz matzo crackers, which have only wheat and water.
How to make the vegan matzo brei
Begin by mixing the chickpea batter. Place the chickpea and rice flours in a bowl with the minced rosemary, parsley and jalapeno. Add salt and water (I needed 1 ¼ cups) and whisk to make a batter that's thick but pours easily.
Heat the oil and saute the sliced onions and minced garlic with a pinch of salt until the onions are soft.
Add the mushrooms to the skillet and continue to saute another three to four minutes until the mushrooms soften a bit.
Get the broiler going on high.
Add the matzo crackers, broken into pieces, to the skillet. You can break them up into smaller pieces, if you like, I like rather large pieces so some stay on top and become a bit charred under the broiler and retain some of their crispiness.
Mix the matzo crackers into the veggies just lightly, then pour in the chickpea batter evenly into the skillet.
Let the matzo brei cook over medium heat until the edges look dry and bubbles rise in the center.
At this point carefully pick up the skillet and transfer it under the broiler. I let it go for about five minutes, but keep a close eye during this time as things can char pretty fast under the broiler.
Scatter more parsley or fresh chives on the brei and serve hot or warm.
- When you whisk chickpea flour with water, always start out with a small amount of water, whisk it into the flour, add a little more and so on. Doing this, and using a whisk, not a spoon or ladle, will help ensure there are no lumps in your chickpea batter.
- You can use the mung bean batter in my recipe for a Moonglet instead of chickpea batter in this recipe, for a different take and flavor.
More savory vegan breakfast recipes
- Vegan Sausage Breakfast Pizza
- Savory Vegan Corn Pudding
- Vegan Potato Sauerkraut Pancakes
- Vegan Breakfast Shepherd's Pie
- Vegan Biscuits
Vegan Matzo Brei
- Bowl for mixing batter
- Cast iron skillet or nonstick oven-safe skillet
- 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 1 tablespoon rosemary (minced. Use less if that's your preference)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (minced)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (minced. Deseed if sensitive to heat)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (like avocado or olive)
- 1 large shallot (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms (or button mushrooms, sliced)
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1½ sheets matzo crackers (broken into large pieces)
- Make the batter by placing the chickpea flour and rice flour in a bowl with the rosemary, parsley and jalapeno pepper. Add salt to taste.
- Whisk in the water, a little bit at a time, until a smooth batter forms. I needed 1 ¼ cups of water. The batter consistency should be somewhere between that of a crepe and pancake batter, thick but easily pourable.
- Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Saute until the shallots start to soften but are not brown.
- Add the mushrooms and saute until they are softened, about 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
- Stir in the matzo crackers. Then pour in the chickpea batter evenly over the mushrooms and crackers.
- Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the edges of the brei appear dry and multiple bubbles rise in the center.
- Start the broiler. Place the skillet carefully under for 3-5 minutes or until the top is set and the crackers are slightly charred. You need to keep a close eye at this point as the broiler can burn things up pretty fast.
- Remove the skillet from under the broiler, garnish, if desired, with fresh chopped chives or parsley, slice and serve.