Shalom Rabbis What is the status of quinoa on Pesach? Do we treat it as being similar to rice and as forbidden or is it allowed? Thank You
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There has been much Rabbinic discussion over the last few years as to the status of quinoa on Passover. Is it considered as a kitniyot like rice, and therefore forbidden by custom to the Ashkanazi Jews? Or perhaps being a new food to the western table, it is not considered as a kitniyot and may be eaten on Pessach? There are various opinions on the issue, with major Rabbis coming down on both sides (for example the O-U Kashrut organization in the USA approves quinoa for Passover, as does Rabbi Dov Leor, chief Rabbi of Hebron (as quoted in our Hebrew site). The Adath HaHaridi in Jerusalem is traditionally very strict about the definition of kitnoyot and does not approve new species). There is a separate issue which is important to note is that even those who rule that quinoa is permitted need to ensure that it was processed and packaged in a non chametz environment. Here in Israel (as well is in the USA) one is able to purchase quinoa certified as kosher for Passover – I am unaware of what the situation is in the rest of the world. In questions such as these it is very important to take note of the local customs and rulings. I see that you from South Africa, which is blessed with a fine Beth Din in charge of its kashrut. May I suggest you turn to them to ask about local practice? You may find it useful to draw their attention to the opinions I have quoted above. If someone is without the benefit of a local Rabbinical ruling, then, in my humble opinion they may certainly rely on those opinions that allow Ashkanazi Jews to eat quinoa on Passover, after determining that it was produced and packaged in a chametz free environment. May you be blessed with a wonderful Pessach!