No-Chicken Matzo Ball Soup (Pareve, Passover)

No-Chicken Matzo Ball Soup
Mizina/Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
126 Calories
7g Fat
13g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 772mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 462mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Over the years, I've tried my hand at creating a vegetarian matzo ball soup for Passover. Some attempts were so-so, some were pretty good, but I never really hit on one worth recording -- until now, that is.

There's no powdered soup mix in this recipe—all of the flavor comes from vegetables, herbs and spices. But the real secret to the savory vegetarian broth is the addition of mushrooms. Even if you're not a fan of mushrooms, don't skip them—they don't make the soup taste mushroomy at all, but do add a wonderful umami quality and depth of flavor. 

I like to serve this soup with Dill Matzo Balls, but if you've got a favorite family recipe, feel free to use that instead.


For the Soup:

  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium onions (about 3/4 pound or 330 grams), trimmed and chopped

  • 6 medium carrots (about 1 pound or 450 grams), peeled, trimmed, and sliced into coins

  • 4 stalks celery (about 1/2 pound or 190 grams), trimmed and sliced

  • 1 parsnip (about 130 grams), peeled, trimmed, and sliced into coins

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

  • 10 ounces (284 grams) cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced

  • 1 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced into half-moons

  • 8 cups (1.89 liters) water

  • Handful fresh dill sprigs

  • 1 tablespoon frozen or dried basil

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, or kosher salt

For Serving:

  • 1 bunch prepared matzo balls

Steps to Make It

  1. Warm the oil in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and parsnip, and saute, taking care not to brown the vegetables, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

  2. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add the mushrooms, and sauté until they release their juices and soften, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the zucchini and sauté 5 minutes more.

  5. Add the water, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in the dill, basil, and salt. Lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the broth is golden-hued and flavorful. 

  6. Carefully strain the broth. You can do this by setting a large colander over a second soup pot, and slowly pouring the soup from the stockpot into the colander. (You can line the colander with cheesecloth if you want a very clear soup.)

  7. Alternatively, use a large slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a colander set over a large bowl. Whichever method you choose, gently press the vegetables in the colander with the back of a spoon to extract any remaining broth from them, and return the extra broth to the pot.

  8. If desired, spoon some of the carrots and/or parsnips back into the broth. The broth can be made 1 to 2 days in advance, and refrigerated, covered.

  9. To serve: Bring the soup to a simmer, and add the prepared matzo balls. Simmer until the soup is hot and the matzo balls are heated through. Ladle into bowls and serve. Enjoy!


  • If you're serving major matzo ball fans, make a double batch of the dumplings. That way, you'll have plenty on hand if guests want seconds, or if you've got any leftover soup.

Recipe Variations

  • If you have fresh basil, use three tablespoons of the chopped herb instead of the frozen or dried versions.
  • For casual meals, or if you prefer a heartier soup, skip the straining step, and include some of the vegetables in each serving.