Today Registered Dietitian Nazima Qureshi, from Nutrition by Nazima, brings us 10 Ramadan recipes and food traditions, from herself and other Canadian food bloggers who celebrate this month long time of fasting where the food is just as important as the act of coming together and sharing it with family and friends.

10 Ramadan Food Traditions Collage

Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims around the world. This year, from May 15thto June 15th, those observing Ramadan will fast from dusk to sunset. Muslims celebrate Ramadan from various cultures and even though this month is about not eating, there are so many Ramadan food traditions shared around the table when it's time to eat. (learn more about Ramadan and food here)

There are 2 main opportunities to eat during Ramadan. Suhoor is eaten before the early morning prayer, which ends up being around 3AM for most Canadians.  While the first couple of days of Ramadan may be challenging to wake up in the middle of the night, it quickly becomes cherished family meal-time for many households.

Iftar is the meal eaten when breaking the fast at sunset. If you ask anyone fasting during Ramadan, they will likely give you the exact sunset time down to the minute. Hey, after 17ish hours of no eating AND drinking, you would want to know too! Iftar can be had at home but it is also common to open the fast with family and friends at iftar parties or even at the local mosque.

Here is a look at 10 Ramadan recipes and food traditions from Canadian food bloggers.

1. Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats for Suhoor

 Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats for Suhoor

By: Nutrition by Nazima

Growing up, we used to have dinner type foods for suhoor in the middle of the night. I didn’t realize until after I moved out that it meant my mom was cooking for us in the middle of the night to have freshly made flatbread and curry! I still love eating suhoor with my family but try to prep most of the meals before going to sleep so there is minimal cooking at 3AM. A family favourite over the past few years has been my Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats because it provides the perfect balance of nutrients for a long fasting day with a hint of chocolate!

2. Spinach, Egg, and and Feta Breakfast Wrap for Suhoor

Spinach Egg and Feta Wrap

By: Chocolate and Chillies

When I was growing up, Suhoor felt like the time that I had to eat anything and everything.  I even remember having popsicles and chocolate!  Over time, I've learnt that was probably not the best choice of food to help get me through my day. We try to have items that we can make ahead because we don't want to be standing in front of the stove cooking in the middle of the night. These Spinach, Egg and Feta Breakfast Wraps are one of my favourite items for Suhoor.  I will prepare the wraps and at Suhoor time, warm them up on the grill. They make a yummy hot breakfast with a good amount of protein.

3. Black Bean Burrito Bowls with Homemade Crispy Tortilla Strips for Iftar

Black Bean Lentil Bowls

By: Nutrition by Nazima

Becoming a Registered Dietitian has really transformed the way my family and I observe Ramadan. It is very common for South Asian households to break their fast with deep fried foods such as spring rolls and samosas. While these taste amazing after a long day of fasting, it quickly catches up with you when you have a plate full of them every day for 30 days! I didn’t want to completely eliminate that tradition so I introduced other ways we to enjoy that fried taste, such as with these homemade Crispy Tortilla Strips. They are a part of my nutritious and wholesome Black Bean Burrito Bowls, so a little bit of fried goodness works!

RELATED:  7 Things You Didn't Know About Ramadan and Food

4. Traditional Lentil Soup for Iftar

Traditional Lentil Soup For Iftar

By: Healthy Genie

Sharing the Iftar meal is a wonderful experience to have with my loved ones and I came to appreciate it even more when I had my own little family. We would break our fast with water and dates, have soup (no matter what the weather was like), then take a break to go pray giving us about half an hour before eating our main meal. My mother was very creative and even though she made elaborate dishes she gave soup just as much attention. This slowly became a trend in our family, so now that I live thousands of miles away from my family I make sure I have soup on my iftar menu to make me feel closer to them. I would love to share part of my family tradition with you, the queen of soups and a personal favourite; Traditional Lentil Soup!

5. Aduku Roti (Layered Pastry) for Iftar

Layered Pastry (Aduku Roti)

By: Torview Toronto

Aduku Roti is a layered pastry, which is something we make during Ramadan to have after breaking our fast. It is a family recipe passed down by my grandma to my aunts and mother, who taught me how to make it. We make these parcels of delicious, filling layered pastry to give to family, friends, and neighbours during Ramadan for iftar.

RELATED:  7 Things You Didn't Know About Ramadan and Food

6. Mutton Biryani for Iftar

Mutton Biriyani

By: Kravings Food Adventures

I’m not Muslim, but married to a Muslim man and over the years I’ve learned many amazing traditions over Ramadan. During this holy month, one thing is clear: the feast is almost as important as the fast. This is where I like to create a visual feast with textures and colors and a mix of fried and healthy options. While I like to take a lot of creative liberties with the menu, there is one traditional favorite you just cannot do without and that is the prized Biriyani. I make several kinds of Biriyani, but for Ramadan, I also favour the Mutton Biriyani. Simply put, these morsels of meat are cooked in a thick gravy till tender. It’s then layered with half cooked rice, sprinkled with Saffron Milk and topped with fried onions and boiled eggs. Somehow without the Biriyani, the meal does not seem complete.

7. Chocolate Truffle Energy Bites for Iftar

Chocolate Truffle Energy Bites

By: Chocolate and Chillies

It's during the time when we break our fast, that many items are made that are not made very often during the rest of the year.  Coming from an Indian heritage, that meant we had a lot of deep fried items. I would dig into all these items but then not feel great afterwards because it was not what my body needed.  As I've gotten older, I've paid more attention to what I eat, especially after a long day of fasting.  We break our fast with a regular date but throughout Ramadan, I will make these Chocolate Truffle Energy Bites as a treat since they are filled with wholesome ingredients. Not only are these chocolaty, but it is also a good way to get an energy boost after a long fast.

8. Spicy Cheesy Samosa for Iftar

Jalapeno Popper Samosas

By: Flour and Spice Blog

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where during the month of Ramadan by late afternoon things come to a standstill. An abbreviated workday with an earlier start means that when the sun is at its peak most people are in their homes, resting or praying. Soon enough though iftar preps begin to perfume the air, there is that sizzling smell of samosas and little by little your tummy begins to rumble.My mother, a woman with formidable freezer stocking capabilities, would always have a slew of frozen samosas and rolls on hand. While I don’t have my mother’s freezer cooking skills or a separate deep freezer, I do occasionally put my own spin on this tradition. These Jalapeno Popper Samosas are easy peasy and completely hit the spot with their cheesy spicy goodness!

9. No Churn Caramel Crunch Ice Cream for Post-Iftar

Caramel Crunch Ice Cream for Post Iftar

By: Flour and Spice Blog

During Ramadan, when my family had broken our fasts and recovered from our meal, we would gather in the living room and inevitably one of us would begin the freezer raid. In Pakistan, after a day of fasting in a hot country notorious for its power outages, that cold creamy delicious sweetness completely hit the spot. It also meant that we were all sitting in one place, chatting or silently eating, but just together. As an adult I am so grateful to God for those times, for family, and for the love and togetherness it brings. Now when I make ice cream for my kids – and this Caramel Crunch Ice Cream is one of my desi retro favourites – I make sure they sit at the table and take the time to enjoy it and each other’s company. Because if they do, then one day they too will look back and think that these were wonderful times.

10. Chocolate Coconut Pudding for Post-Iftar

Chocolate Coconut Pudding

By: Healthy Genie

My family always loved puddings back home (Abu Dhabi - UAE) but they were made using refined sugars, which isn’t the best choice when you are fasting and want a longer sustained source of energy. When I moved here, my family and I still loved having sweets and puddings so I came up with healthier options for Ramadan. I also wanted it to be more filling so I used coconut milk in this Chocolate Coconut Pudding. This is an ideal dessert to enjoy an hour or so after your main Iftar meal.

Nazima Qureshi, RD, MPH is a Registered Dietitian and food blogger at Nutrition by Nazima dedicated to helping Muslim women live healthier and happier lives. She uses a non-diet approach, which always includes dessert! She loves creating new recipes with her own South Asian flair and healthy twist. You can connect with Nazima on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.





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