Passover charoset (pronounced HA-ro-set with a hard H) is so much my favorite thing on Passover that I think I have actually posted this recipe twice before. Nevertheless, in this version I make sure you can find vegan options, even though there is nothing inherently UNvegan about this recipe.
Before I get into the recipe, I'm going to give you a little history lesson because--well it's me! Charoset is eaten on Passover, a holiday which recognizes when the Jews were freed from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. Each food eaten in the Passover seder (meal eaten during Passover) has a significance, for instance we dip lettuce in salt water to be reminded of our tears during slavery. Charoset, a sweet dish and Passover staple, represents the mortar used when building for the Egyptians.
Charoset is typically eaten on matzah, which is basically a very dry cracker that most Jews have very divided feelings on. The matzah represents what the Jews took with them when they escaped from Egypt as they didn't have enough time to wait until the bread rose. As a consequence, during Passover, Jews avoid anything that is chametz (pronounced HA-mets with a hard H), meaning any wheat, barley, rye or spelt product that has been allowed to rise. Thus, matzah is eaten during festival period as a substitute.
Charoset is really easy to make, and a great healthy(ish) snack to graze on. My recipe is a traditional Ashkenazi (or Jews from Eastern and Western Europe) one, and you can look up recipes for charoset online if you want something a little different. Fruit and nuts, however, are typically the base no matter which type you go for.
So how is it made?
3 apples, diced
1 1/2 cups of walnut halves (you may add more or less depending on your fondness for walnuts.)
1/2 cup of sweet red wine (as far as vegan wines, I have had trouble finding vegan sweet red wine in the UK. Yellow Tail's cabernet sauvignon is vegan and works well in the mix. You can purchase many sweet vegan wines from specialty vegan wine companies. The tradtional wine used for Ashkenazi charoset is Manischewitz, which is vegan and abundant in the USA.)
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar (Fairtrade to ensure its veganism)
Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix them together with a spoon. Serve on a matzah cracker. It will also save in the fridge in an airtight container.
Side note: Most Ashkenazi matzah (the matzah you typically find in a grocery store) is vegan as there is nothing in it that typically contains animal products. However, some Sephardic versions may contain egg, so read the label to double check.