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Gefilte Fish

gefilte fish gluten-free recipe passover

This Gefilte Fish recipe is based on one by Ellyn Goodrich at epicurious.com, called “Alaskan Halibut and Salmon Gefilte Fish Terrine.” While Goodrich’s recipe makes a gefilte fish “loaf,” mine is for traditional (yet gluten-free) gefilte fish balls (like my Bubby made) only with more vegetables, so that they are a bit lighter and healthier than the standard gefilte-fare. What are gefilte fish?

Here is Wikipedia’s definition: “Yiddish Gefüllte Fisch (Gefilte fish;from German gefüllte “stuffed” fish) (Hebrew: dagim memula’im, literally “filled fish”) is a poached fish mince stuffed into the fish skin. More common since the Second World War are the Polish patties similar to quenelles or fish balls made from a mixture of ground deboned fish, mostly carp or pike. They are popular in the Ashkenazi Jewish community and are typically eaten on Shabbat and Holidays.”

In my house, we eat gefilte fish once a year. They’re not easy to make, so we prepare them at Passover, as my Bubby did and serve them with homemade maror (ground horseradish).

Gefilte Fish


  • 1 pound halibut fillets, skinned and boned
  • ½ pound salmon fillets, skinned and boned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  1. Cut the fish into large chunks and place in a food processor
  2. Pulse until finely ground; do not puree
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan
  4. Saute onion over medium-low heat until soft and transparent, cool for 10 minutes
  5. Pulse onions, eggs, salt, pepper, honey and lemon juice into fish mixture
  6. Pulse in dill, carrots and parsley
  7. Refrigerate mixture for 3 hours
  8. Heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil
  9. Shape fish mixture into 1 ½ inch balls
  10. Drop balls into water and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through
  11. Place balls in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and refrigerate to cool
  12. Serve with Horseradish Sauce and garnish with fresh sprigs of parsley

Makes My family and I were so excited to have good homemade gluten-free gefilte fish, that I forgot to restrain everyone and count the amount of fish balls this recipe yields before they were eaten.

Did you know that Passover starts one month from today? If you’re planning a gluten-free Passover, you might want to check out my Gluten-Free Passover Menu which is full of yummy things like gluten-free Matzo Ball Soup and Charoset.

Even though it’s a month away, I’m ready for Passover, as for me, it is the holiday which ushers in spring!

posted on March 23, 2011, 24 comments

  1. I am not a big friend of gefilte-fish,but yours look both delicious and beautiful:)

  2. Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan @ sketch-freeveganeating.blogspot.com

    I never used to like gefilte fish, but I think I’m starting to warm up to it…your photos are beautiful by the way…

    We just started a heath food photo sharing website and would love if you would submit some of your photos!


  3. Erin

    I am not Jewish, but our church has a Passover meal that this would be wonderful for! This looks so much better than the gefilte I remember from growing up. thanks!

  4. Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing @ nourishingflourishing.com

    I’ve never seen gefilte fish that looks so appetizing! Lovely.

  5. Mia

    This recipe looks great. Thank you!

  6. zingara

    i love gefilte fish! when i was a little kid, mrs. soloman lived next door to us. i loved her, too. she used to let me watch her cook & sometimes help, also. on friday nights, my mother, who was not jewish, went over to turn on mrs. soloman’s stove, b/c mrs. S. was very orthodox & could not perform tasks on sabbath. when mrs.S made the fish balls, i distinctly recall that she used some sort of bread or cracker crumbs in the ingredients. could i have been mistaken? is there a recipe for gefilte fish that uses crumbs?

  7. Elana — what is holding them together? I also use vegetables and do not use matzah meal in the gefilte fish on Pesach, but use potato starch, and ground nuts to hold the fish together. Does frying the onions eliminate some of the liquid which occurs when using raw onions?

    Zingara: Yes — usually matzah meal is an ingredient, or during the year except for Passover, some people use bread crumbs.

  8. kathy

    i’ll be making these for Easter!

  9. Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds @ gingerandalmonds.co.uk

    Your recipes are always so inspiring – such a pleasure to visit every time.

  10. Shoshy @ shoshy.net

    You wouldn’t believe my reaction when I read the title – Gefilte Fish – my favorite! I seriously munch on it and chrain all the time. Blame my boyfriend’s Bubbie for introducing it to me (I’m Sephardic – and my family doesn’t serve it)
    I just bookmarked this recipe for Sunday – can’t wait to see how my attempt turns out!

  11. This is going to be my first Passover without my grandma’s Gefilte around (she is well, it’s me who went far away). I never liked G”F but this one looks GOOOD.
    Since I have tons of salmon in me freezer I will probably use only salmon. If you think it’s a big mistake – please stop me :-)

  12. sgryz

    i am unfamiliar with gefilte fish. i thought it was stuffed into fish skin?

  13. Oy vey! These actually look edible — and delicious!
    I’ll be away from my family this Passover so will definitely try them out for a (better) taste of home in Paris.
    Just discovered your blog when looking for a coconut frosting recipe and have made your cupcakes here in my tiny Parisian kitchen and they’re DELICIOUS. I think your frosting changed my life :) Thanks and keep up the fab recipes!
    Bisous from Paris, Rebecca

  14. I’ve never had gefilte fish, but this looks amazing! I might have to try it…

  15. Sarah

    I’d like to try this but it’s hard to find fresh halibut. Will frozen suffice?

  16. Julie

    Elana, do you have a recipe for gluten free matzo balls? I have a hankering for matzo ball soup.

  17. I have never had gefilte fish, but these look so tasty and light. I can imagine they would be SO good with horseradish.

  18. myrna schwartz

    how many servings does this make?

  19. Samantha

    Your gluten free gefilte fish looks wonderful, but I am also allergic to eggs. Do you have any suggestions for a way to hold the fish together without eggs? I would love to make this and surprise my family.

  20. scilla

    How interesting! I know very little about Kosher foods. You say the gefilte fish is not easy to make but this recipe sounds pretty straightforward. What do you think is the hardest part?

  21. Amy

    Is the fish in the first two ingredients raw or do you start with cooked fish?

  22. Greg

    I have to tell you these tasted even better than they looked. Almost everyone at our Seder table of 34 loved them (always a few fish-adverse people in any crowd). The gefilte fish was light, delicious and most of all fresh. Both of you Marror recipes were excellent as well. Especially the beet Marror. I got about 24 – 26 balls out of each batch. Thanks for the great addition to our table.

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