Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 91 with Micah Siva

Noshing with Purpose: Micah Siva’s Plant-Forward Twist on Jewish Classics

In Episode 91 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Liren Baker talks with Micah Siva about her path towards plant-forward cooking, establishing a career in food, and her cookbook, Nosh: Plant-Forward Recipes Celebrating Modern Jewish Cuisine.

Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 91 with Micah Siva
Noshing with Purpose: Micah Siva’s Plant-Forward Twist on Jewish Classics
Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 91 with Micah Siva

If you’re interested in innovative plant-forward recipes or simply love to explore different culinary traditions, you won’t want to miss the latest episode of the Kitchen Confidante podcast featuring the talented Micah Siva. Based in San Francisco, Micah is not only a trained chef and registered dietitian, she’s also the recipe writer, food photographer, and creative force behind the blog Nosh with Micah.

Micah’s journey into the world of food is as flavorful as her recipes. From baking thimble cookies with her grandmother to hosting elaborate dinners in high school, Micah’s passion for food and entertaining was evident early on. After a brief stint in nursing, Micah realized her true calling was in the culinary arts, leading her to culinary school in New York and eventually becoming a dietitian in Canada. But it was the creative freedom and connection to her Jewish heritage that truly ignited her path in food media.

It’s so interesting in Jewish cuisine, because you either eat a meat meal where you have meat and no dairy, or you eat a dairy meal where there’s no meat at all. So there’s still lots of vegetarian and even dairy-free vegan dishes in Jewish cuisine. But I don’t think people always separate it out that way. So when I was thinking about vegetarian Jewish food, it actually came a lot more naturally than I thought.

And I think it’s just convincing people who grew up with meat and potatoes that we can get these foods and we can celebrate these traditions without a brisket. But if you want brisket on your table, here are 110 side dishes, or 1 million side dishes full of vegetables to help you balance out your meal. And I think that’s the beauty of a plant-forward book and plant-forward ethos, is that there is less rules, in a lot of ways, and it’s really welcoming to people who aren’t ready or interested in taking a leap into vegetarianism or veganism.

We also have to talk about your version of matzo ball soup. I love how you make it a little more comforting.

So in the book, I have two recipes for matzah balls. One is using eggs, because there are some people who just never want to try a vegan matzo ball, and I respect those people. So this is my favorite way to make them. And then I serve my matzo ball soup with a turmeric vegetable broth that’s a little spicy because it gives it that really beautiful golden color that you don’t get when you’re not making it with chicken.

But my vegan matza balls — I tested this recipe 30 times. It took me 30 times to get this. I learned that you steam vegan matza balls to help them keep their shape versus boiling them. I swear that last version where I was happy with it, they were steamed directly in my tears because it took me so long to figure that out. But I love that it’s more warming because of the turmeric, jalapeno, and a little bit of ginger. It’s just a different way to enjoy a matzah ball soup as well, which still pays homage to the original.

My mom was in town when we were testing it, and she and I were just sitting on the kitchen floor with our head in our hands and thinking, “this has to work.” I had tried every single recipe online for vegan matzo balls that I could find, and none of them worked. They all turned into absolute mush. And so once I had the idea to steam them, I swear I should have won a Nobel peace prize. I cried so many tears of joy that day for many reasons, not just for being matzo ball soup…it is a very comforting soup because it took so much out of me to figure out.

Nosh: Plant-Forward Recipes Celebrating Modern Jewish Cuisine by Micah Siva (The Collective Book Studio, 2024).

Learn more

Listen to the full podcast episode with Micah here, learn more on her website, and follow her on Instagram @noshwithmicah. You can get her book, Nosh: Plant-Forward Recipes Celebrating Modern Jewish Cuisine anywhere books are sold.

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