Passover pop-ins: Low sugar bites
Cooking with Denise! Feast on Pesach treats

Passover pop-ins: Low sugar bites

Tuck into Pecan Coconut Squares, Root Vegetable Crisps or Cashew Nut and Cranberry Bites

Denise Phillips is a Jewish cook and author

Cashew nut and cranberry
Cashew nut and cranberry

Many  and after-dinner munchies tend to be overloaded with sugar.

It is with this in mind that the three recipes in this feature are made with as little sugar as possible.

This year, Pesach doesn’t fall over the Easter Bank Holiday, so many people will need transportable food.

These recipes tick this criteria and can be prepared in advance to fill the gap as part of breakfast, lunch or dinner

Pecan Coconut Squares

Pecan coconut squares
Pecan coconut squares

Passover snacks need to be parev so that they can be enjoyed any time. These pecan coconut bars are useful as part of a packed lunch, mid-morning treat with coffee or after dinner when you just want a little nosh!

Preparation time 40 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour 10 minutes, plus cooling

Makes 20



  • 200g fine matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 50g ground toasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 75g non-dairy margarine
  • 2 eggs


  • 150g brown sugar
  • 60g non-dairy margarine – melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ripe banana – peeled and mashed
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 60g pecans
  • 30g desiccated coconut


  • 30g flaked desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

1 Preheat oven to 180°F/350°F/Gas Mark 4. 2. To prepare the pastry, combine all the ingredients together, either in a food processor or by hand. 3 Press into bottom of a 23cm x 23cm baking tin lined with baking parchment paper. Cover with foil and insert baking beans. 4 Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown; cool for 15 minutes. 5 To prepare the filling, combine the sugar, margarine, vanilla extract, lemon juice, banana, egg whites and a pinch of salt. Set aside. 6 Stir the coconut and pecans in to the mixture.  7 Pour over the cooked pastry base. 8 Bake for 50 minutes or until set. 9 Cool to room temperature. 10 Cover and chill for at least one hour. 11 Top with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut and chopped pecans, and then cut into squares.

Cashew Nut and Cranberry Bites

Cashew nut and cranberry
Cashew nut and cranberry

These are Pesach friendly lemon spiked small bites of goodness!  They require only 10 minutes cooking and can be made in about 15 minutes. It is a snack that is sweetened with the natural sugar of the dates.

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

Makes About 30


  • 200g cashews – use raw unsalted
  • 6 Medjool dates – pits removed
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon A pinch of salt flakes 2 tablespoons dried cranberries – roughly chopped


1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. 2 Place the cashew nuts in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden. 3 Transfer the roasted cashew nuts to a food processor/blender and pulse until crumbly. You want there to still be a few bigger chunks to give the bites some nice texture. 4 Add the dates and pulse until the mixture starts to come together into a sticky ‘dough’. 5 Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt flakes and pulse again until combined. 6 Add the dried cranberries and about one tablespoon of water and pulse until just combined. 7 Using your hands, roll approximately one heaped teaspoon of dough into little bite-sized balls. 8 Refrigerate or enjoy at leisure.

Root Vegetable Crisps with Caramelised Onion Dip

Root vegetable crisps with caramelised onion
Root vegetable crisps with caramelised onion

My idea for a tasty snack is some healthy crisps with a good dip. What could be better than caramelised onion dip with some root vegetable crisps?

You can make your own healthy crisps using sweet potatoes, beetroot and parsnip, a vegetable peeler, a mandolin or maybe you have a spiralizer and a little oil and seasoning. At a fraction of the price of well-known brands, it’s not only the children who’ll love them.

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6 people


  • 3 carrots
  • 3 parsnips
  • 1 beetroot
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Ground black pepper


1 Heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. 2 Combine seasoning ingredients in a plastic bowl and mix. 3 Peel the vegetables and slice thinly with a mandolin, vegetable peeler or spiralizer. Lay them between paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Place slices in a bowl, add oil, seasoning mixture and stir to coat. 4 Spread the vegetables out on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment paper. 5 Bake for 10 minutes. Check they are not burning and continue for another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool and crisp up.

Caramelised Onion Dip

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 onions – peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 225g cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives – chopped


1 Heat the oil over medium-low heat. 2 Add the onions, season and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown for about 20 minutes. 3 Remove from the heat and place in the food processor with the cream cheese and chives and process until smooth. Season to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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