Ramadan

25 Recipes for Eating Well (& Feeling Strong!) During Ramadan

These hearty, satisfying meals will keep you going while fasting.

February  4, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

Muslims around the world look forward to the month of Ramadan, a time within the holy calendar not only to restrict yourself from food and drink from sunup to sundown, but also to reflect and refocus. For 30 days, we get up before the sunrise for a meal and the first prayer of the day, and fast until sunset.

Every year, the Islamic calendar shifts up a few days from the Gregorian calendar, and in the United States, this makes a big difference in the number of hours of fasting and heat levels. This is the most challenging time of the year to be fasting: The days are long, and the weather is usually hot. While it’s always necessary to keep track of your eating and drinking habits during Ramadan, it is especially critical to monitor what you eat, and when you eat it, in these hot summer days. This year, Ramadan begins on the evening of Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 and concludes on Monday, May 2nd, 2022.

For me, Ramadan is a great time to remind myself of self-restraint, and to reset any of my autopilot tendencies. When you’re around food all day, like I am on set at Food52, you start to think about what you would eat if you weren’t fasting, and you reconsider your everyday choices.

It also makes you more appreciative of everything you have access to. Oftentimes, my reflections on my eating decisions translate into all things—time management, the way I speak to friends, family, peers, and even strangers. While it’s always very important in Islam to practice kindness, it’s particularly essential during Ramadan to be considerate and aware of your thoughts and words. Hopefully, we keep the habits we redevelop during Ramadan throughout our lives.

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Top Comment:
“I find that protein makes a huge difference in how I feel during the day, so I've been trying to eat more meat, eggs, lentils, cheese, etc. than usual. Last year I was relying too heavily on fruit-based smoothies and things-on-bread, and there were days when I dreaded walking up the stairs to my apartment! We only have about 5 hours to eat and drink up here, so it's really important to make smart choices. I did make a batch of guacamole on Tuesday, though :) ”
— noisette
Comment

There is plenty to think about during the holy month of Ramadan, dietetic and otherwise. Keeping your body in good shape by feeding it (and hydrating it!) well when you’re permitted to eat and drink means you can focus on your religious and personal goals. The end of Ramadan concludes with Eid al-Fitr, also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast.” Here are 30 recipes to prepare for breaking the fast at iftar, once the sun goes down, and suhoor, in the early morning before starting your fast. There’s sticky, Malaysian-style chicken with a pineapple salad, jackfruit-based biryani, and jerk chicken kebabs (among many other special dishes that can be served during Ramadan).


Recipes for Iftar

1. Sabzi Polo With Fish

Richly spiced saffron rice; bright herbs; and tender fried fish make the perfect comforting, super-filling dish to break the day's fast. Don't forget to scrape the pan for the prized tahdig, or the crispy bits of rice at the bottom.

2. Shish Barak (Lebanese Lamb Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce)

These plump, spicy dumplings are filled with a harissa-and cumin-spiked lamb sausage, but are drenched a creamy yogurt sauce that's sure to cool you down on a hot summer's day.

3. Rachel Khoo's Sticky Malaysian Chicken with Pineapple Salad

Juicy chicken thighs are enveloped by a sweet, sticky, umami-rich glaze (thanks, soy sauce, fish sauce, and honey!) for an ultra-satisfying dinner. A refreshing pineapple and cucumber salad cuts through it all to complete the meal.

4. Jackfruit Biryani

In this biryani, meaty, tender curried jackfruit is layered with super-fluffy, saffron-scented rice and caramelized onions, creating an incredible combination of flavors and textures in each and every bite. 

5. Jerk Chicken Kebabs

Is there anything more satisfying than grilled chicken skewers? Here, a complex marinade made of scotch bonnet peppers, tart citrus juice, and lots of warming spices takes things to a whole new level. Start marinating the chicken the night before, and spend just a few minutes day-of grilling the chicken, before diving in—the chicken takes just 3 minutes per side to reach charred deliciousness.

6. Ma Po Tofu (Stir-Fried Bean Curd with Ground Turkey)

In this riff on the original restaurant favorite, firm tofu gets flash-fried with lean ground turkey and sweet red peppers, along with plenty of garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce. Serve this over a bed of rice and go to bed full and happy.

7. Ethiopian-Inspired Spicy Chicken Stew

After a long day, cooking up a storm can feel like the last thing you want to do. Here's a one-pot chicken dinner with a ton of spice and flair, and very little fuss. Serve with rice, riced cauliflower, or traditional injera, fermented Ethiopian flatbread.

8. Egg & Eggplant Sandwich

Creamy, spicy, crunchy, eggy, and filled with tender eggplant—what doesn't this sandwich have? What's more, you can make all of the components in advance (say, the night before) and just assemble it all when you're ready.

9. Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

This salad, filled with chewy rice noodles and what feels like every vegetable under the sun, is the ultimate clean-out-the-fridge favorite. Plus, it's doused in a funky fish sauce vinaigrette inspired by nuoc cham, and topped with herbs and crunchy, salty peanuts galore, so you'll look forward to a burst of bright flavor in every bite.

10. Tahini Roasted Broccoli

Imagine a pan of the very best roasted broccoli: all caramelized and charred at the edges, with tender stalks and flecks of garlic that almost melt on the tongue, spritzed with zingy lemon juice after coming out of the oven. Now, imagine that same, epic broccoli with a load of creamy, nutty tahini trapped between all the nooks and crannies of the florets. That's this dish, and it's calling your name.

11. World's Easiest Falafel & Tzatziki

The food processor does double duty for this time-saving falafel's herbed chickpea mixture and the garlic-scented tzatziki, saving you from both fine-chopping ingredients and washing extra dishes.

12. Spicy Stuffed Tomatoes

Enjoy these tomato halves stuffed with a green tangle of zucchini, onions, pistachios, and parsley. Don't skip the sprinkle of parsley at the end—the contrast between cooked and fresh parsley makes the dish shine.

13. Sumac & Za’atar Roasted Monkfish

The sharpness of sumac and lemon against the smokiness and spice of paprika and chile in this dish work really well in a number of dishes, but especially with a hearty fish like monkfish.

14. Crispy Roasted Shallot & Lentil Sheet-Pan Mujadara

Transfer this comforting rice and lentil dish to a sheet pan for a shortcut to crisp, easy mujadara in no time, flat.


Recipes for Suhoor

15. Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce

This take on shakshuka, the Israeli dish of eggs poached in a thick tomato sauce, employs bright, refreshing mint and verdant, spicy jalapeño to wake up the palate in the morning. The staying power of the eggs, with some crusty bread to sop up all the sauce, will keep you satisfied through the morning and beyond.

16. School Morning Muesli

This muesli's a fresh, speedy, brilliantly textured way to start your day right. And beyond that, it's infinitely adaptable to your fridge and pantry fodder: Sub in your favorite non-dairy milk for the dairy milk; swap out dried apricots or dates for the cranberries; use a plum or mango or kiwi instead of the nectarine, and a pear instead of the apple; consider toasted pecans, hazelnuts, or pine nuts as a sub for the almonds. You can't go wrong here, whichever way you try.

17. Avocado, Feta, & Mint on Sourdough Toast

Avocado toast feels like the oldest breakfast trick in book, and for good reason: It's lightning-quick and keeps you satisfied for hours. Here, feta and mint give some bite to creamy, mellow avocado, all slathered on top of a slice of crunchy sourdough.

18. Vegan Morning Glory Muffins

These spiced-up, fluffy muffins are jam-packed with all sorts of goodness, like raisins, carrots, walnuts, and apples. They're also vegan and naturally sweetened with dates, so you can totally avoid a mid-morning sugar crash.

19. "Moroccan Guacamole Toast" With Fried Egg

Another avocado toast, but make it Moroccan—with salty preserved lemons and fruity Aleppo pepper. (Also, you'll definitely want to put an egg on it).

20. Yogurt With Toasted Quinoa, Dates, & Almonds

In this dish, protein-packed yogurt is covered with all kinds of crunchy-chewy-sticky things to make it really sing. With the addition of powerhouse-seed quinoa, it'll keep you full and catapult you through the day.

21. Morning Date Smoothie

This is basically a milkshake for breakfast, but made with satisfying, filling bananas and dates, and laced with fragrant cinnamon and vanilla. It also takes about five minutes to blend up.

22. Baked Onion-Walnut Frittata

Easy and hands-off, this creamy-crunchy walnut frittata will keep and reheat well, so make a big batch.

23. Shakshuka Focaccia

Create nests for the sauce and eggs in a sheet pan of focaccia dough, then cut the finished bread into squares, each with an egg, for a delicious meal to feed the whole family.

24. Turkish Breakfast

Use this recipe as a guide and fill in or substitute with whatever you have or like best for a filling, protein-packed breakfast with dried fruit and nuts for slow-release energy.

25. Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers)

Turkish menemen is a dish for anyone and everyone. All you need is a handful of vegetables (preferably picked from your garden, but hey, that's a dream we can't all fulfill) and some eggs.


Additional Ramadan Recipes

26. Lamb Burra Kebab

An entire rack of lamb chops are used for these handheld snackable kebabs that pack a powerful punch of flavor from mustard oil, plus nearly a dozen herbs and spices ranging from garam masala, red chili powder, ground turmeric, fresh ginger, and garlic.

27. Lamb Meatballs With Tahini Sauce & Red Onion Salad

Lamb already has a ton of delicious, gamey flavor, but Sohla El-Waylly amped it up even more (because why not) with these ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, Kashmiri red chile powder, lots of garlic, and just a little bit of cinnamon for these meatballs that are made for tucking into pita.

28. Spicy Beef Kebab Rolls

This popular spicy snack is generally eaten throughout Ramadan and this one uses ground beef (but go ahead and sub in any meat of your choice). “These ultra-convenient and portable kebab rolls are perfect for iftar on the go, and are often enjoyed at late-night gatherings for suhoor, the predawn meal,” writes recipe developer Zaynab Issa.

29. Salmon Kebabs With Nigella

You might think that salmon works better with lemon and dill, but we love how recipe developer Christine Sahadi Whelan has paired it with cumin, which she says gives this dish a “gutsy, hearty flavor that appeals especially to the carnivores in the crowd.”

30. Baked Chicken Shawarma

“Shawarma is a popular middle-east dish prepared during Ramzan. It is nothing but, thinly sliced chicken or mutton, wrapped in a pita bread with veggies and sauce,” explains Sohana Saiyed, a reporting specialist for Schoolhouse.

This article was originally published in June 2016. It has been updated to include more recipes, and to help you stay strong and satisfied through Ramadan.

Which foods have you found keep you going and feeling good while fasting? Share your favorites in the comments.
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Will ultimately choose pancakes over the veggie omelette every time.

18 Comments

MJ April 11, 2021
I second the wish for a link to the Lubiah Polo recipe, which does not exist; neither does a search for that title on the Food52 website meet with success.
 
Muna P. May 2, 2021
I googled it and came up with this - https://craftlog.com/us/cooking/ext-mahin-joon-s-lubiah-polo-crispy-persian-rice-with-beef-and-green-beans-BbJr - don't know if it's definitely right, but hope that helps!
 
Michelle March 29, 2022
This is a recipe I've tried and enjoyed for loobia polo: https://www.unicornsinthekitchen.com/lubia-polo-persian-green-bean-rice/

And here is a variation with carrots from a site I have cooked *many* recipes from -- always reliable: https://persianmama.com/green-bean-carrot-stew-on-rice-lubia-polo-ba-havij/

Cookbook author Naz Deravian (her book is "Bottom of the Pot" - excellent) makes the dish with chicken: http://bottomofthepot.com/a-green-beans-and-chicken-rice-with-lavash-tahdig-a-friday-night-loobia-polo/

 
aimlessprais April 11, 2021
Where's the recipe for the Mahin Joon's Lubiah Polo? There's no link.
 
angie April 11, 2021
Thank you for these recipes! They look great and also thank you
for helping us celebrate Ramadan!
 
xhille March 9, 2021
some of these recipes look so good!

i'm noticing that while all the pictures go with the headers, some of the corresponding recipes are posted with the wrong picture and position; should be a quick fix! luckily your links seem to match up.
 
Trisha J. May 15, 2018
Ramadan Kareem and hello from Saudi Arabia! We live in an expat community here, but have really enjoyed sharing iftar with our Muslim friends and neighbors. Thank you for some suggestions on what we might bring if invited this year.
 
Matt May 14, 2018
This type of fasting sounds outdated. Even Catholics don't follow Lent as fervently as they used to. Is there any movement in Islam to relax the rules? This type of binge eating sounds dangerous considering what we know about psychology, binge easting disorders, and obesity.
 
Fatima I. April 10, 2022
It’s almost exactly like intermediate fasting which is all the rage in health right now. There is no binge eating. You shouldn’t overeat (there is a hadith [sayings and doings of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him]) that talks about leaving 1/3 of your stomach for food, 1/3 for water and 1/3 for air; and I would be surprised if you could. Try it. Fast until sunup from sundown and try to even eat a 1/2 plate of food. It’s impossible. Generally overeating is looked down on in Islam, indicative of hoarding food when others are needy. Many scholarly medical articles show this type of fasting is not dangerous and actually is a great reset for the body and can prevent the onset of diseases that one in genetically predisposed to, like diabetics, cancer, high cholesterol etc. it depends on if you lean heavily on the food of your respective culture to start and break your fast. However, anyone who is a Muslim Influencer is talking about the “right” foods to eat to stay healthy and avoid thirst, weight gain, etc. Of course the rules for people who are sick, chronically ill, elderly, children, those who are traveling, in extreme heat, etc. is to not fast. For those who are age able and medically able to fast, but don’t, you either make up the fast or pay a fee for someone else to eat food (called a fidya). I named my first child after Ramadan, it is a wonderful time for family and family traditions. Certainly anyone with food related/eating disorders are going to struggle with food centered holidays and fasting. That includes Jewish and Christian holidays too! And even the religious holidays that are secular, think of all the food in Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Memorial Day, Military holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, (even some these holidays have religious origins, but are celebrated secularly and with a lot of food).
 
Zeinab May 14, 2018
Thank you for this article! I remember emailing the Epicurious Editor In Chief to complain about their lack of Ramadan coverage a year or two ago. Why did they post new recipes and articles for every other holiday but not Ramadan? I never got a reply and sort of gave up. I simply accepted that it wasn't a front page, create new content for kind of holiday. Funny enough, Ramadan can be a literal 30 days of feast in most homes. While not the point of fasting, the fast-breaking meal plays a huge role. Its something we look forward to, something we plan, something we get together for. I cook on most days and trust me, I spend SO much time digging for new recipes that will help us power through and are still delicious to serve to my family and friends. I appreciate this article immensely! Thank you.
 
Sonja M. May 14, 2019
Oh, I totally agree. I'm pretty disappointed at the lack of content on Ramadan on most major food blogs. Suhoor is where I really get stuck, because it's tough to come up with something that is filling and nutritious AND can be made quickly or the night before. I find myself just relying too heavily on either fuul or oatmeal.
 
Jessica June 5, 2017
I completely agree with Whiteantleers and Rebecca DS. Thanks for this article!
 
Whiteantlers May 27, 2017
Thank you for this article. I know next to nothing about Ramadan or the Muslim faith. Food is something we all have in common and, to me, a good basis for learning about the culture, beliefs and every day lives of others.
 
Author Comment
Carmen L. June 1, 2017
Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. This article sheds more light on the month and what it's about http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/what-is-ramadan-and-when-is-it/
 
Whiteantlers June 5, 2017
Thanks for that link, Carmen! : )
 
Rebecca D. June 22, 2016
This is my favorite article that I have read on this site. It is so great to see food52 employing people that can relate to a variety of occasions (i.e. ramadan healthy food vs. christmas cookies).
 
noisette June 10, 2016
Thank you for this! I find that protein makes a huge difference in how I feel during the day, so I've been trying to eat more meat, eggs, lentils, cheese, etc. than usual. Last year I was relying too heavily on fruit-based smoothies and things-on-bread, and there were days when I dreaded walking up the stairs to my apartment! We only have about 5 hours to eat and drink up here, so it's really important to make smart choices.

I did make a batch of guacamole on Tuesday, though :)
 
Author Comment
Carmen L. June 10, 2016
I'm so glad you found this helpful! Proteins are important for sure. Eggs are my bff. Fruit is great as an additional nutrition source! I try to steer clear of empty carbs/white bread and go for things like oatmeal/whole grain breads, in moderation. And guac beats everything so...:)