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    Vegans on Pesach – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. What should vegans do on Pesach?

    A. Since vegans consume no meat, fish, eggs, honey, butter or cow’s milk, their cuisine is already limited, and if they are Ashkenazim the rabbinic prohibition of kitniyot is a further complication.

    The Torah prohibits as chametz anything containing wheat, rye, oats, spelt or barley.

    Amongst Ashkenazim this prohibition is extended to kitniyot, “little things”: grain-like items like rice and legumes. Some communities put peanuts in this category; others allow peanut oil and also kitniyot derivatives.

    Hence many vegan foods such as nuts, potatoes and vegetables (including quinoa) are kosher for Pesach.

    Sephardim do not accept the kitniyot rule, so that, especially in Israel, many foods are acceptable for Sephardim but not Ashkenazim.

    However, there are lenient opinions in relation to kitniyot that can be relied upon by the Ashkenazi vegan in cases of need (in consultation with a rabbi).

    It should be added that regardless of one’s attitude to kitniyot, individuals should not decide for themselves what to eat on Pesach, as food technology is so complex that there can be admixtures which render an apparently innocent item chametz.

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