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#VeganRamadan: Here are three easy, healthy and low-waste iftar ideas Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

#VeganRamadan: Here are three easy, healthy and low-waste iftar ideas

Ramadan is a holy month in Islam [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2021

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Three easy and recipes to make for iftar that are fast, vegan and affordable and are also adaptable to what is already available to reduce food waste.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when it comes to Ramadan, iftar takes precedence.

One of the largest misconceptions about vegan food is that it is not filling. When someone has been fasting for 17 hours, it's understandable that they would want a meaty dish to satisfy their daylong hunger.

However, this could not be further from the truth. Vegan food is not only nutritious, but incredibly filling when done properly.

The following recipes are amazing when you are strapped for time, have vegetables that you do not want to waste and want to reduce animal product intake.

Every single one of these recipes was with vegetables that were already in the fridge to minimise waste. Some ingredients that may be substituted, but 90 percent of these recipes are adaptable to what is already available to you with minimal creativity.

For those who do not eat soy, feel free to substitute the tofu with any other protein source. Generally, I like to use shiitake mushrooms instead of tofu. I marinate for a few hours and roast or shallow fry. When I'm short on time, I shallow fry with olive oil and season with herbs. 

Remember, mushrooms are the chicken of the vegetable world. They only taste good when they are seasoned well.

Instant noodles in a jar [Diana Alghoul/ig: @flowerknafeh]

Healthy instant noodles (or ramen in a jar)

On non-fasting days, this recipe is one of my go-to ideas for meal prepping because of its diversity and flavour. To make things easy for myself, I buy ready-made sauces, but a quick search online proves there are tons of ways to make your own sauce to match the ramen. 

The vegetables are what make this recipe because there are so many ones you can choose from. I like to add a protein in my jar, so I opted for tofu in this recipe. Other alternatives are seitan, tempeh, or high protein vegetables edamame beans, spinach and broccoli.

The best thing about this recipe is that the noodles do not wilt. The sauce is at the very bottom of the jar and the noodles stay intact as long as they do not contact water, so this is a safe iftar to meal-prep. Just add boiling water before iftar and if your jar is microwave safe, put it in the microwave to heat it up even more.

Ingredients (one large jar - serves two):
Four tablespoons of black bean sauce
Handful of noodles of choice (I used wholewheat)
Ten cubes of shallow fried tofu
Vegetables of choice (I used bok choy that was gently fried with soy sauce, spinach, onions, grated fresh ginger and shallow fried baby corn)
Boiling water to fill the jar 

Method:

Stack the ingredients into the jar by placing the sauce at the bottom. Adding extra sauce between layers makes it faster to integrate when you add water

Add a layer of vegetables and protein so the sauce is covered and does not touch the noodles

Add a layer of noodles

Top off with another layer of vegetables

Five minutes before serving, pour boiling water over the ingredients and mix with chopsticks or a fork. If needed, heat the jar in a microwave if it isn't hot enough and if the jar isn't microwave safe, transfer to a pot to heat on the stove, or a microwavable dish

Serve with soy sauce

Sweet potato protein stew [Diana Alghoul/ig: @flowerknafeh]

Sweet potato protein stew

After a long day, a comforting dish with warm spices can be exactly what will hit the spot. This dish is high in protein, fibre and happiness.

I initially wanted to make a butternut squash stew, but I didn't have enough, so I opted for sweet potatoes, with leftover butternut squash instead.

This stew can be eaten alone, or with rice or bread. I used brown rice in this instance, which can be a bit tricky to deal with, but I have a guide on how to make brown rice on my Instagram blog.

This recipe has lots of flavour, but no spice. If you want a spicier dish, add a chilli of your choice and serve it with a side of soy yoghurt. Making this dish spicy is beautiful because it seamlessly contrasts with the raisins in the stew.

Ingredients (serves 2):
One cup of a mixture of sweet potato and butternut squash chopped into cubes
One can of mixed beans
One tablespoon of sweetcorn
Two cups of spinach
Two tablespoons of raisins
One onion – chopped
Three cloves of garlic – chopped
Two cups vegetable broth
One levelled teaspoon of tomato paste
Oil to fry

Spices:
Half a teaspoon of sweet paprika powder
Quarter of a teaspoon of cumin powder
Quarter of a teaspoon of coriander powder
Quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric
Quarter of a teaspoon of salt
Sprinkle of pepper

Method:

Sautée the onions in a pot until they have browned

Add the garlic and stir quickly on low heat to prevent them from burning

Add the butternut squash or sweet potato and stir on low heat, adding either more oil or a small amount of the broth to prevent them from burning

Add the mixed beans and sweetcorn and immediately add all of the spices and tomato paste and stir until the pot becomes fragrant

Add the vegetable broth and turn up the stove to medium heat and mix until the stew comes to a boil

Add the spinach and raisins

Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes, checking up on it every 10-15 minutes to ensure the water has not fully evaporated. At this point, if you want the stew to be waterier, add more water or broth, or if you want it to be thicker, turn up the heat and let the stew evaporate

Once the sweet potato is cooked and you are happy with the thickness, serve with a side of your choice 

Fresh noodle salad [Diana Alghoul/ig @flowerknafeh]

Fresh noodle salad

This is one of my favourite recipes for lunch because it's light and refreshing and it is perfect for iftar on a warm day when you want something filling, yet still cooling. This can be served on its own as a main, or as a side dish to share.

I used udon noodles, but feel free to use any noodles, or even pasta you have stored. The other main ingredient here is avocado, because it gives a natural creamy touch to the dish.

Ingredients (serves two):
One cup of noodles
One large ripe avocado
Half a sweet bell pepper
Handful of baby spinach
Handful of lettuce
Around 10 baby tomatoes – halved
Half a cup of tofu – drained and pressed to remove excess liquid

Dressing:
One teaspoon of Italian herbs
Half a teaspoon of garlic salt
Two tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of one lime
A sprinkle of pepper

Method:
Assemble by adding all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mixing thoroughly

Diana Alghoul is a journalist at The New Arab and a spiritual lifestyle blogger.

Follow her on Twitter: @SuperKnafeh and Instagram: @flowerknafeh for more healthy recipes

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