Why do we eat poppy seeds on Purim? The tradition finds roots in the intermarriage between Queen Esther and her husband Ahasuerus, the king of Persia. Esther was Jewish, King Ahasuerus was not. When Esther came to live in the king’s palace, tradition says she became a vegetarian in order to avoid eating food that was not kosher. She got her protein from nutrient-rich seeds, nuts, and legumes.
Many Jewish families celebrate Purim with a vegetarian meal in honor of Esther, which includes items like chickpeas, nuts, and — you guessed it — poppy seeds! This poppy seed cake has dairy in it, making it a good choice as the sweet ending of a vegetarian kosher meal. It’s pretty rich, so I’ve used low-fat dairy to take some of the guilt out. I highly recommend the warm lemon glaze; it takes this cake to a whole new level of yum.