Nut- Free Charoset

5 from 2 votes

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Charoset is one of the 6 symbolic foods on the seder plate during Passover, but beyond being symbolic it’s actually pretty delicious, too.

Wooden spoon scooping Charoset onto Matzoh.

Charoset is a traditional Passover dish. It is usually made from sweet fruits and nuts, along with some red wine, and it represents the mortar used by Jewish slaves in the building of pyramids and other structures for the Egyptian masters. This easy charoset recipe has no nuts, so it’s allergy friendly. The word charoset (pronounced ha-row-sit) is derived from the Hebrew word for clay, cheres

Charoset is one of the 6 symbolic foods on the Seder plate during Passover, but beyond being symbolic, it’s actually pretty delicious, too. The classic ingredients, fruit, nuts, and wine, are all nods to verses in the Bible, but again, no nuts here! It can be spelled Haroset or Charoset; both are correct (kind of like Hanukkah/Chanukah).

Passover table setting with charoset and matzoh alongside purple flowers.

 My family keeps eating it even after it has served its role in the Seder ceremony — we are pretty loosey-goosey on both my husband’s side and mine about the Seder, so snacking on Seder plate foods is quite acceptable as the readings go on (and they do go on).

Charoset (or haroset) is one of the 6 symbolic foods on the seder plate during Passover, but beyond being symbolic it’s actually pretty delicious, too.

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Wine in Charoset

It is traditional to use sweet red wine, such as Manischewitz when making charoset (and this is not a wine I have in my house for any other purpose — it’s SWEET). You can also use any red wine you have open, but taste the mixture, and if it is not as sweet as you would like, add a bit more sugar.

As for texture, some people like it pretty roughly chopped, and I have also seen it ground into almost a paste, which doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Variations and Substitutions

  • If you want to add nuts to your Charoset, add 1 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds with the other ingredients.
  • Try orange zest in place of the lemon zest.
  • You can use any apple you like, but some of my favorites are McIntosh, Gala, or Fuji. A combination makes the charoset even more interesting and delicious.
Freshly made charoset on matzoh.

How to Make Charoset for Passover

  1. Chop the apples: Pulse the chunks of peeled and cored apples in a food processor a few times until as finely minced as you like. (Or chop by hand).
  2. Sweeten the apples: Add the sugar and wine.
Adding sugar and red wine to a bowl of fresh chopped apples.
  1. Season the charoset: Add the lemon zest, if using. (This is my little twist on the traditional.) Add the cinnamon and salt.
Adding lemon zest and cinnamon to bowl of chopped apples for charoset.
  1. Toss well to combine: Serve the charoset with matzoh. 
Mixing and serving charoset on matzoh.

FAQs

What is charoset made of?

Most American Jews who celebrate Passover, at least in the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, which both my husband’s family and mine fall into, have probably had some combo of apples, nuts, and red wine, possibly seasoned with ginger or cinnamon. There are plenty of other fruit and nut ingredient combos to play with, but that’s the most common in the Ashkenazi world — Sephardic Jew’s interpretation of Charoset can be much more varied. This version has no nuts, so it’s allergy friendly.

What is the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardic charoset?

Most Ashkenazi versions include apples, while most Sephardic recipes include dates.

What is the symbolism of charoset?

As is written in the Haggadah (which is the text read during the first two nights of Passover, as a ritual to commemorate the ancient enslaved Israelites’ exodus from Egypt): “They embittered the Jew’s lives with hard labor in brick and mortar.” The Jews used mortar to build the Egyptian Pharaohs’ buildings.
The cinnamon and other spices are meant to represent straw, part of the mortar the enslaved Jews used to build the buildings. Cinnamon sticks resemble straw.

Tips for Making Charoset

  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the apples by hand to the consistency you like and simply mix up everything in a bowl.
  • Charoset can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days before serving. If you have leftovers, they can last another couple of days in the fridge.
Yellow bowl filled with fresh charoset on table with blue napkin.

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5 from 2 votes

Charoset

Charoset is one of the 6 symbolic foods on the seder plate during Passover, but beyond being symbolic it’s actually pretty delicious, too.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people
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Ingredients 

  • 4 apples (such as McIntosh or Gala or Fuji; peeled, cored, and roughly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • cup sweet red wine (such as Manischewitz; see Note)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch kosher salt

Instructions 

  • Place the apples into a food processor. Pulse a few times until as finely minced you like. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the apples by hand to the consistency you like and simply mix up everything in a bowl.
  • Turn the apples into a bowl and add the sugar, wine, lemon zest (if using), cinnamon, salt, and nuts (if using).
  • Serve the charoset with matzoh.

Video

Notes

  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the apples by hand to the consistency you like and simply mix up everything in a bowl.  
  • You can also use any red wine you have open, but taste the mixture, and if it is not as sweet as you would like, add a bit more sugar.
  • Charoset can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days before serving. If you have leftovers, they can last another couple of days in the fridge.
  • If you want to add nuts, you can add up to a cup of chopped walnuts or almonds.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 176mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 53IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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