Unwind for Dinner with a Comforting Bowl of Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup

A lot of people say autumn weather pushes them towards the kitchen, towards the warmth of the stove as the sky darkens and the air chills, towards soups and stews and pies filled with apples.

Vertical image with text of a bowl of soup with dumplings next to crackers.

One of you even said here recently that this time of year means that the family comes inside together, to be cozy and warm, sipping hot cups of tea.

But can I tell you something?

October has had the opposite effect on me. Instead of slowing down to come inside, I’ve gotten busier – busier in a very good way!

I’ve been doing fantastic things like celebrating birthdays, getting ready for Halloween, touring new neighborhoods, visiting farms, and driving to see family and friends who live miles and miles away.

Vertical image of a pile of dumplings in a bowl with broth next to dill on a white towel.

But in the midst of all these good gifts of conversation and travel and not-made-by-me food, I am having the hardest time getting into the kitchen!

Luckily, a very good friend of mine brought this soup over to the house for me, when I was at my busiest and had absolutely nothing in the fridge, except for a half-empty bottle of ketchup and some expired milk.

This restorative meal is the perfect reminder to take a small break from the mayhem of a busy life – to sit down, hands wrapped around a warm bowl, slowly and mindfully savoring every spoonful of broth, subtly infused with the flavors from leeks and carrots, and eating the tender dumplings, bite by delicious bite.

Vertical image of two bowls with broth, vegetables, and dumplings next to crackers and spoons.

Traditionally, the matzo balls are mixed with schmaltz, or chicken fat. However, this version is a vegetarian alternative, using vegetable oil instead of the fat and vegetable stock rather than chicken stock.

I invite you all to try this simple and easy recipe below. Or, better yet, have someone else make it for you if you don’t have the time!

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Horizontal image of a white bowl with broth, vegetables, and three dumplings next to a white towel and crackers.

Easy Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup With Leeks & Carrots

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 4 bowls 1x


Chilly night? Warm up with a bowlful of vegetarian matzo ball soup. Enjoy homemade dumplings and broth flavored with leeks and carrots.



For the Dumplings:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 Tablespoons seltzer water or club soda

For the Soup:

  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Dill, for garnish


For the Dumplings:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and vegetable oil. Stir in the matzo meal, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons seltzer water and stir to form a slightly sticky mixture. If it is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of seltzer and stir to combine.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. While the dumplings are chilling, bring a large pot 3/4 full of salted water to a simmer.
  4. Form the chilled matzo mixture into 12 balls that are about 1 inch in diameter.
  5. Drop the balls into the simmering water and cook uncovered until they have expanded and are cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and set aside on a plate.

For the Soup: 

  1. In another large pot, simmer the vegetable stock. Add the leeks and carrots. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  2. Add the matzo balls to the stock to reheat. Ladle the soup into four bowls, placing a few matzo balls in each bowl. Garnish with some dill sprigs in each bowl, and serve.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: matzo ball, soup, vegetarian, comfort food, Passover

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare the Dumpling Mixture

Horizontal image of a white bowl with dumpling dough next to crackers on a white towel.

Whisk together the eggs and vegetable oil. Stir in the matzo meal, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add a little seltzer water at a time until the mixture is slightly sticky.

You can easily make your own matzo meal – pulse whole matzo crackers in a food processor or blender until it they become fine crumbs.

Horizontal image of matzo meal in a bowl next to the whole crackers on a white towel.

Cover and chill the mixture until it becomes cool and firm, for about one hour.

Step 2 – Form the Dumplings

Horizontal image of dumplings on a sheet pan.

Using an ice cream scoop, two spoons, or your hands, form the chilled matzo mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. You should have 12 balls total.

The dough is going to be a little sticky. If you are using your hands, be sure to lightly wet them in between each roll to prevent excessive sticking.

Step 3 – Cook the Dumplings

Horizontal image of a pot with dumplings cooking in water.

Simmer a large stock pot full of salted water.

Carefully drop the balls into the simmering water and cook, uncovered, until they have expanded and are cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and set aside on a separate plate.

Step 4 – Warm the Soup

Horizontal image of a black spoon with carrots and leeks in a liquid over a pot.

In another large pot, simmer the vegetable stock. Add the chopped leeks and carrots, and cook until tender, for about 10 minutes.

Love homemade? Try making your own vegetables stock, all from scratch!

Step 5 – Add the Dumplings and Serve

Horizontal image of two bowls of broth with matzo dumplings on white towels with crackers and spoons.

Add the cooked matzo balls to the simmering stock and reheat for a few minutes. Ladle the warm soup into four bowls, placing a few matzo balls in each bowl. Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill and serve hot.

Unwind with a Different Delicious Dumpling

We’re replacing chicken and dumplings with vegetables and matzo, in this comforting recipe for vegetarian matzo ball soup.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with broth, vegetables, and three dumplings next to a white towel and crackers.

So wherever you are, however your week is going, and whether it’s drawing you inside or sending you out, I hope you’ll find some time to cook this recipe.

Or if you don’t, I hope you have good friends in your life who stop by to sit a while, that you’re able to enjoy a day off, or that you get an opportunity to talk with friends and family… because, it seems to me, these are some of the best things in life.

While you’re relaxing and sipping on this hearty meal, take just a moment to rate this recipe, write a rave review in the comment section below, and skim through our other soup and stew recipes or try out these tasty options:

And if you’re craving something sweet after dinner, try our recipe for Chocolate Almond Toffee Matzo Crunchies!

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 29, 2009. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone. Last updated: December 27, 2019 at 22:36 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

20 thoughts on “Unwind for Dinner with a Comforting Bowl of Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup”

  1. Autumn is the season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ and it certainly is a great. Even i feel the force pushing me to the kitchen. enjoyed your blog very much. Elizabeth’s Matzo Ball Soup Recipe was great.

  2. Now that sounds delicious. Just the ticket for some of these cooler evenings.

    Sue has beautiful, beautiful hair! Wish I could ask her where she gets it cut LOL – I need a new hairstylist. And it is hard to find someone who treats curly hair correctly.

    Shanna, sounds like a perfectly lovely October to me. Our Oct. has been similar – we haven’t gotten to the curling up, quieting down, cozying together part of autumn yet. We are in Florida, after all =) Maybe Nov. will be like that for us.

  3. This looks lovely and full of comfort: broth is so restorative.

    I’m one of those people who fall pulls to the kitchen to roast and braise and stir. In Toronto, it’s chilly and rainy and the windows fog up with steam, and I eat from big bowls, with a spoon, because it seems appropriate.

    Right now it’s at my work desk, heater turned high, spoon diving into last night’s nutmeg-spiced butternut squash that I’ve doused in almond butter. It’s right.

  4. Shanna, I just LOVED visiting with you that EARLY Sunday morning. A good friend is truly one of the best gifts. AND, I wasn’t going to pass on an opportunity to brag on my “full-of-food-knowledge” friend to that restaurant owner… Plus, I’m pregnant and really wanted good food… 🙂
    Amanda… If you have curly hair, you know my plight! 🙂 After years of searching, I found a lady who seems to “get” curly hair, and I still am not happy with how I fix it 90% of the time! Truly, the grass is always greener on the other side. Thank you for that sweet compliment, though!

  5. I agree with Elizabeth that I never quite like things when they’re over-hyped. Let me make my own decisions, otherwise I have totally unrealistic expectations 🙂

  6. awww how nice 🙂 i agree that autumn brings people into the kitchen…but at the same time i think, hey, what about all the food you ate in summer? and spring? i think it’s people who draw people in to the kitchen, out to the barbecue, onto the picnic blanket and not necessarily weather. though it is nice to cuddle with tea cups, i won’t lie 😛 the part about far away friends, im just now starting to go through it, my best friends from college are treating me as if i am dying because i am moving to brazil. it’s so hard knowing that you make other people unhappy by making myself happy…hmmmm i think i see a new post! hehehe but what to bake with it….:P

  7. I have never had matzo meal…. I feel a new ingredient coming in to my life!
    I sure have missed catching up with your blog whilst I’ve been gone sorting out my hot mess of a life as we moved countries. I like calling in, it slows my rushing mind of all it’s lists, and reminds me to come to the table more often rather than eat on the couch, attempting to multi task.
    Thank you!

  8. Hampers, And also, of gusts of wind and days of rain, as I’ve been learning this week. I love it all.

    Amanda, I don’t know, your green smoothie and breakfast oatmeal sounded mighty cozy to me! 🙂 Thanks for your sweet words and for the record, your curly hair is beautiful, too!

    Sue, It really was such a nice gift to get to reconnect. Elyse is SUCH a total doll (even with her crazy faces, LOL!) and I can’t wait to see what her little brother or sister looks like!

    Sues, Isn’t she hilarious? Love the way she put that!

    Mallory Elise, LOVE what you said about how it’s people that bring people into the kitchen. Love, love it. And as far as faraway friends, I have so many people who don’t live by me now, and some really do fall out of touch and some make time to communicate and visit… I am learning, I think, that friends come in and out of my life but I am always loved, and when they come back in, even just for a morning, it is so, so good.

    Emily, You’ll find it in the ethnic/Jewish section of the store and usually in more prominent displays at Passover time. Matzo ball soup is one of my all-time favs! And… you’ve moved countries!? I need to catch up with YOU, sounds like. Thanks for making time to stop over here. So nice to hear your thoughts.

    Lorraine, Me, too! So comforting!

  9. I’ve been trying to get in the kitchen, but some of fall for me is wanting to be out in it. I want to walk through the leaves, climb apple trees, and drink apple cider cold, straight from the press at the local orchard. And yes, it’s also visiting friends, because that’s something that has no season in my opinion 🙂

  10. Yum Yucky, Ha! Sorry?

    Caitlin, Yes and yes, both to the part about fall and the part about friends. So true.

    JessieV, Me, too!

  11. Isn’t hilarious how your friends tell the eatery that you’re food critic?! I guess the benefits are that you can take as many shots of the food as you like without the restaurant thinking that you’re a complete nut. LOL

    Those pancakes look divine. Wish we had Sophia’s House of Pancakes here is Australia

  12. Adrian, I laughed so hard and still do when I think about it! Sue is hilarious. And I’m sorry you don’t have Sophia’s, but – you get to live in Australia! I’d say you’re getting the better end of the stick!

  13. Ah yes. Matzoh ball soup. This batch looks great! I keep a supply in the freezer to ward off evil germs and add matzoh balls on occasion and always for the holidays.

    It’s time to replenish my supply — there’s a nice, fat chicken in the fridge waiting to be turned into “Kosher Penicillin.”

    I’ve got a friend who just doesn’t appreciate the soul warming properties of this soup — he calls it “Chicken water.” It’s a shame.

  14. Fran, You bring up such a good point that this is like a get-well-soon soup. It’s like chicken noodle but so much better. Love that! As for your friend who doesn’t like it – I’m shocked! A shame, indeed.

  15. I have to say, I just loved this piece! I even interrupted my husband’s day at work to tell him about it. And, Shanna, I’m still working on my OH-my-goodness-you-make-my-heart-glad-I-know-you gift. Keep on cooking!


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