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Make vegetarian matzah ball soup

Celebrate Passover by making this soup-er recipe.

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You’ll need

  • Ingredients (see recipe)
  • Chopping boards
  • Knives
  • Mixing bowls
  • Wooden spoons
  • Cooking utensils
  • Hob
  • Baking trays
  • Washing up liquid
  • Access to a sink
  • Access to water
  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • Blender
  • Frying pan
  • Cooking pot or large saucepan
  • First aid kit, including for burns
  • Heat protective equipment, such as heatproof oven gloves
  • Bowls and spoons for eating

Before you begin 

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Take a look at our guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples.  
  • Make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. 

Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year. It’s a celebration of the story of Exodus.

During Passover, Jews remember how their ancestors left slavery behind them when they were led out of Egypt by Moses. Passover is celebrated with a series of rituals. Each ritual symbolises a different part of the story.

It’s a Spring festival that begins on the 15th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. The celebrations last for seven or eight days, depending on where you live. 

On the evening before Passover starts, Jews have a special service called a Seder (Order). This takes place over a meal with family and friends at home. Everyone at the Seder has a cushion to lean on. This reminds them that they are now free people and no longer enslaved. They also sing lots of songs.

On the table there are three Matzah (bread that’s flat because it hasn’t risen). At the start of the Seder, the middle Matzah is broken and the largest piece is hidden. During the Seder, the children hunt for it. The one who finds it receives a small prize.

During the meal, the story of Exodus is told from a book called the Haggadah. Everybody takes part in reading from the Haggadah. Some parts are read in Hebrew and some parts are read in English.

Jewish people’s foods must be prepared according to Jewish law. Food that may be eaten is called kosher, but food that can’t be eaten is called treif.

Matzah, also known as matzo or maẓẓah, is an unleavened flatbread. Matzah can be either soft like a pita or crispy.

At the Passover seder, a ritual feast at the beginning of the Jewish holiday, there’s always s simple matzah. For some Jews, this is only allowed to be made from flour and water to be kosher.

Some Jewish traditions allow you to use eggs and/or fruit juice in the recipe too, but some forbid it. 

For some Jews, Matzah made with a liquid, such as wine, fruit juice, onion, garlic and so on, isn’t kosher. It can’t be eaten at any time during the Passover festival, except by the elderly or unwell.

To make kosher Matzah during Passover, the flour used must be ground from one of the five grains allowed by Jewish law, which are wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oat.

Non-Passover matzah may be made with onion, garlic, poppy seed, and so on. It can even be made from rice, maize, buckwheat and other non-traditional flours, but these can never be used for Passover matzah.

After baking, matzah may be ground into fine crumbs, known as matzo meal. Matzo meal can be used like flour during the week of Passover, when flour can only be used to make matzah.

Matzah balls are traditionally served in chicken soup and are a staple food on the Jewish holiday of Passover. However, though they’re not seen as kosher by some Jews during Passover who observe a ban on soaking matzah products in liquid.

Matzah balls or matzo balls are made from a mixture of matzo meal, beaten eggs, water and a fat, such as oil, margarine, or chicken fat. 

The texture of matzah balls may be light or dense, depending on the recipe. Matzah balls made from some recipes float in soup, while others sink.

  • Check for allergies, intolerances, fasting, food-related medical conditions, eating disorders, food sensitivities or dietary requirements, then adjust the food items used as needed. This may include making sure there’s no cross-contamination of packaging and no cross-contamination during the storage, preparation, cooking and serving. 
  • You may need to use separate chopping boards, equipment and utensils, such as tongs or toasters, for different dietary requirements, allergies and foods.
  • If you’re unsure, check with the young person and their parents or carers. You can check with the adult directly if it’s a volunteer or helper.
  • Some people may not like certain food textures or tastes and that’s OK. People don’t need to use all the ingredients if they don’t want to, and no-one should be made to try foods if they don’t want to. You can try to find an alternative for them. 
  • Take a look at our guidance on food preparation
  • You could run our kitchen hygiene activities before this session.
  • Always have a hand washing station, washing hands regularly throughout this activity, and taking extra hygiene precautions when handling food. If you're using gloves to prepare food, treat them like your hands. Wash any gloves before using them and in between if necessary.
  • Spray and wipe down all working surfaces and tables with anti-bacterial spray before and after use, and wash any equipment you’re using in hot soapy water.
  • Take extra hygiene precautions when handling raw meat, such as regular hand washing.
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate, having separate equipment for raw and cooked meat, and washing up equipment as soon as it's been used. 
  • Make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it. Always cut through poultry and meat to make sure it's fully cooked, especially when barbecuing food. Make sure it's cooked slowly and thoroughly, and not just done on the outside.
  • Always follow cooking instructions and never use food past its use-by date. 
  • Keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible.
  • At the start of this activity, remind everyone of kitchen or indoor cooking safety rules and how to act safely. Always tie hair back, tuck in neckers and loose clothing, and wear closed toe shoes. Take a look at our kitchen safety tips.
  • You may want to run a demonstration on how to use the equipment safely, such as for cooking or chopping ingredients. You could use our kitchen safety activities before this session.
  • Make sure any cooking equipment or heat sources, such as ovens and hobs, always have adult supervision, including during free time and arrival times. If anyone struggles with sensing danger, you should consider providing extra adult supervision. This could be especially helpful at unstructured times, such as breaks or waiting to cook.
  • Remind everyone to keep their fingers away from any knives. You may want to use blunt, child-friendly knives, or you could also have ingredients pre-chopped.
  • If you’re using a gas stove, tabletop hob plates or a mini oven, make sure it’s on a stable heat proof surface and in a clear and open area, with plenty of ventilation. Gas appliances and sources can increase risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Take a look at our guidance on different cooking methods and carbon monoxide.
  • You may want to put child-safe locks on cupboard doors to prevent access by young people, especially for cupboards containing matches, cleaning products or chemicals.
  • People can work in small groups or as a whole group to bake or cook. Each group should have adult supervision.
  • You may want to be in groups, but everyone to use the same cooking source, rather than having each group have their own.
  • You may wish for groups to make or prepare the ingredients in a wider, more spacious area, then invite each group into the kitchen to cook one at a time. 
  • Remember the groups not using the kitchen or cooking will still need to be supervised, always following the Yellow Card
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients ready. You may want to pre-chop or pre-measure some activities.


Getting ready to cook

  1. Gather everyone together in a circle and tell them you’re going to make a vegetarian Matzah ball soup. Matzah balls are traditionally served in chicken soup. They’re eaten by some Jewish people during the Jewish holiday of Passover.
  2. Explain that Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year. It’s a celebration of the story of Exodus. 
  3. You may want to run a fire safety talk or show people how to use the equipment safely, such as using the cooking source or chopping ingredients.
  4. You may want to make the paste or chop the ingredients in advance of the session to save time. 
  5. Ask everyone to wash their hands before cooking.  


For the dumplings:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 60g matzo meal (matzo flour)
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • A jug of water

For the soup:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1-2 chopped celery sticks
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 500ml of water
  • A squeeze of tomato paste
  • Paprika seasoning

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4-6 people

Get cooking!

  1. Ask everyone to get into pairs or small groups. Everyone should wash their hands, then collect the equipment and ingredients needed.
  2. You may want to divide your group into two teams, with one making the dumplings and one making the soup.
  3. Remind everyone to never reach into the blender, never put your hands or fingers in the blender, and never touch the blender blades. It’s OK if not all the mixture comes out. 

Make the dumplings

  1. Add the eggs into a bowl.
  2. Next, add two spoons of vegetable oil and half a cup of water into a bowl. Then add in three quarters of a cup of Matzo meal. 
  3. Using your whisk, mix everything together.
  4. While mixing, add a pinch of salt. Next, keep mixing this until you’ve got a paste.
  5. Once it's been mixed, let this rest for around 30 minutes. You may want to prepare this before the session to save time.
  6. Once it’s set, wash your hands, then use your hands to roll your mixture into balls. Place them onto a plate or baking tray, then place them one side. Each ball should be about the size of a ping pong ball. You should wash your hands after doing this.

Make the soup

  1. Carefully dice your onion and garlic clove, then chop the carrot and leek.
  2. Next, place the vegetables in a pan and fry them. Let them fry for a few minutes on both sides, until they’re soft and golden.
  3. When fried, turn the hob off, remove the pan from the hob and place the pan onto a heatproof surface, where it can’t be knocked.
  4. Place the vegetables into an unplugged blender. 
  5. Next, dissolve a vegetable stock cube into 500ml of water, stirring it until it’s fully dissolved. 
  6. Add the vegetable stock, a bit of paprika seasoning and a squeeze of tomato paste into the blender. Put the lid on the blender. 
  7. Switch the blender on and mix all the ingredients together. This can be noisy, so you may want to use one blender at once. Anyone who’s sensitive to noise may want to move to a quieter space or wear ear defenders. 
  8. Once blended, carefully pour the soup mix into a large pan. 
  9. Place the pan on a hob, turn the hob on and bring the soup to the boil.
  10. Next, use a spoon to carefully add in your Matzah balls to the pot.
  11. Let this simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the Matzah balls have puffed up.  
  12. Remove the pan from the heat source and turn off the hob. Make use heat protective equipment and place the pan on a heatproof surface. The pan should be left to cool out of the way of young people and where it can’t be knocked.
  13. Allow the soup to cool before serving, then place it into bowls and enjoy!


This activity gave everyone the opportunity to try something new and work as a team to cook some Matzah ball soup. Have you made anything similar before? How easy was it to make the soup and Matzah balls? What did they taste like? What was the soup like?

You had to work as a team to make the soup. How did you make sure everyone could be involved? How did you make sure everyone could share and use their skills? Did everyone get to have a turn mixing the ingredients or making the balls? Did you have any problems? How did you solve them? 


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Fires and stoves

Make sure anyone using fires and stoves is doing so safely. Check that the equipment and area are suitable and have plenty of ventilation. Follow the gas safety guidance. Have a safe way to extinguish the fire in an emergency.


Teach young people how to use cooking equipment safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Make sure it’s safe to use and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for use.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a serious risk, so make sure you cook or use appliances in a properly ventilated area. If you need a sheltered cooking area, consider an open sided gazebo, dining shelter or a marquee that has sufficient air circulation and ventilation. Take a look at our further guidance on carbon monoxide. 

Hot items and hot water

Kettles, cookers and microwave ovens produce a lot of heat by the very nature of them. Caution is needed when in contact with items that have been heated and young people should use them under adult supervision. Use on a suitable surface, protecting it if necessary. Never leave hot items unattended and make sure there’s a nearby first aid kit, with items to treat burns/scalds.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.


Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.

  • To make this activity easier, you could pre-cut the ingredients before you begin.  
  • There are lots of loud noises and different smells in a kitchen or while cooking, which may overwhelm some people. People may choose to wear ear defenders while in the kitchen, take a break from the activity or prefer to stay a distance away from the activity and that’s OK. You could use fragrance free soap or washing up liquid or have items pre-chopped to reduce noise. You might also want to keep any blending, electric whisks or noisier equipment to being used in one room and shut the door, so people have an option to step out if it’s too loud.
  • If anyone needs help or struggles with fine motor skills, such as chopping, or measuring out ingredients, give them the opportunity to work in pairs or small groups, so someone can help with the parts they find fiddly to do or tricky. They could also work with a young leader or an adult volunteer. 
  • Cooking activities can be done either sitting or standing – people can choose whichever way is best for them. People could work with a partner, with one taking on any standing tasks and the other doing tasks seated. 
  • Check for allergies, eating problems or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you've checked everyone's dietary requirements and allergies then adapted the recipe as appropriate. This may include ensuring no cross-contamination during food preparation, too. Check if there are any items of food (or packaging) that people can’t touch or be near to or if there are items that people might not be comfortable using in the activity.
  • Some people may not like certain food textures or tastes and that’s OK. Try to find an alternative for them. No-one has to use all the ingredients or be made to try foods if they’re not happy, comfortable or don’t want to.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.