Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of prayer, self-reflection, fasting, devotion to worship, and helping those less fortunate. Ramadan is celebrated all over the world, and as such, the traditions and meals vary drastically by region. We’ve included recipes commonly eaten by one of our Egyptian World Animal Protection Staffers.

This year, Ramadan begins on April 12 and will last until May 12. Avoiding animal protein-heavy dishes during Ramadan can be difficult. However, there are plenty of delicious plant-based Ramadan recipes that even the biggest meat-lovers will undoubtedly enjoy. Here are some of our favorite plant-based recipes, for suhoor and iftar.

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Ramadan Mubarak!

Koshari: The Egyptian National Dish 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 an onion
  • Optional: 1 Green pepper

For the Fried Shallots: 

  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots

For the Rice and Pasta: 

  • 1 cup of medium grain rice (sushi rice is perfect here)
  • 3/4 cup of brown lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of elbow pasta
  • Optional: canned chickpeas

Preparation:

For the sauce:

  1. Roast the green pepper in the oven for 40 minutes until tender.
  2. Remove seeds and green pepper top and puree.
  3. Over medium heat, sauté diced onion until translucent.
  4. Add tomato paste, coriander, and cumin and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes to cook off the metal flavor of the tomato paste. Add puree tomato sauce and pureed green pepper.
  5. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the fried shallots:

  1. Thinly slice the shallots into rings. Try to be as consistent as possible, so the shallots cook evenly. In a saucepan add the shallots and cold vegetable oil. The shallots should be fully submerged, so they fry instead of sauteing.
  2. Cook over medium heat for roughly 5 minutes agitating the shallots slightly so they don’t stick together and cook evenly. Don’t walk away while doing this because the shallots can urn very easily.
  3. Once golden brown, remove from the oil and salt. Remember, the shallots will continue to cook once you remove them from the oil, so remove them when they are still on the pale side.

For the rice & pasta:

  1. Add the rice and lentils to pot, and rinse a few times under cold water to remove any excess starch off the rice.
  2. Add water and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentils are fully cooked.
  3. Follow box instructions for the pasta

To Assemble:

  1. In a bowl or plate, combine rice and lentils, pasta, chickpeas, add a layer of tomato sauce, and top with a handful of fried shallots.
firey koshari

Firey Koshari

Check out this Firey Koshari by Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer!

Macarona bel béchamel (macaroni with béchamel) 

Ingredients:

For the Bechamel:

  • 1 1/2 cups of plant-based butter 
  • 3 cups of plant-based milk
  • 1 cup of flour 
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 

For the vegan beef: 

  • 1 package of vegan ground beef alternative 
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon of Allspice  
  • 2 tbsp of neutral oil 

For the Pasta and tomato sauce: 

  • 1 package of rigatoni 
  • 1 can of tomato paste 
  • 1cup of pasta water 

Preparation:

For the bechamel:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, once it’s all melted, add the flour stirring constantly and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flour looks a little toasty.
  2. Add in the plant-based milk gradually and whisk constantly until all the milk is incorporated and you have a smooth creamy texture that coats the back of a spoon.

For the plant-based beef:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the beef, cinnamon, and Allspice.
  2. Cook until the beef is browned, and fully cooked through.
  3. Off the heat, add 1/4 cup of béchamel to the mixture and stir to incorporate. Set to the side.

For the pasta:

  1. Follow the box instructions to make al dente pasta and subtract 2 minutes from the cooking time. You don’t want the pasta to be fully cooked through since it will bake for a long time in the oven.

For the sauce:

  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes – the goal is to cook off any metal or raw taste in the paste.
  2. Add pasta water to the skillet and bring to a boil.
  3. Cook until the sauce has thickened to the texture of a traditional pasta sauce.
  4. Off the heat, add 1/4 cup of the béchamel and the cooked pasta and mix until all the pasta is coated in the sauce.

To Assemble:

  1. In a baking dish, add a thin layer of the béchamel to coat the bottom. This will prevent the bottom from sticking to the pan.
  2. Add all the pasta to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the plant-based beef mixture atop the pasta.
  4. Layer the bechamel sauce over the mixture, it should be a thick layer. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. As an optional step, place under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the top of the béchamel.
  5. Let rest for 10-15 minutes and serve hot.
Sam’s Creamy Béchamel in a Veggie Pasta Bake

Creamy Béchamel Veggie Pasta Bake

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Please also check out this Simple Bechamel Sauce by Rene Barker, Creamy Béchamel Veggie Pasta Bake by Maria Koutsogiannis, and Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce by Jamie Bevia.

Eggplant with pomegranate reduction 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant cut into small cubes 
  • 1 cup of spinach 
  • 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 medium onion chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove minced 
  • 1 tablespoon of sumac 
  • 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses 
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil 

Preparation:

  1. Mix in crushed tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, and sumac and bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low. Simmer on low for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until a reduction is formed (the sauce should coat the back of a spoon).
  2. Once desired consistency is achieved, add eggplant and spinach to the pan and cook for two minutes. Plate over rice.

Please also check out this Egyptian Eggplant Moussaka by Taavi Moore, Eggplant Rollatini by Maggie Wescott, and Grilled Eggplant With Lemon Basil Drizzle and Taryn Fitz-Gerald.

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Kofta 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of vegan ground beef alternative
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder 
  • 2 teaspoon of Allspice 
  • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon 
  • 1/4 cup of oat milk 
  • 1/2 cup of panko 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley 
  • 4 pinches of salt 

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. To test the seasoning, you can take a small portion of the mixture and cook in a skillet for 1-minute.
  2. Separate the mixture and begin forming into meatballs or a 2-inch-long oblong shape. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a thin layer of olive oil and cook the kofta in batches. It should take 3-4 minutes per side each side should be browned.
  3. Kofta pairs well with any tomato-based dishes or the Eggplant dish listed above.
Veggie Kofta Balls

Veggie Kofta Balls

Check out this Malai Kofta by Renee Press, Veggie Kofta Balls by Melanie Sorrentino, and Raw Walnut Kofta With Cashew Yogurt by Lauren Glucina!

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Baba ghanoush 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 1/4 cup of tahini 
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Optional: a pinch of paprika 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half-length-wise, place in a sheet tray, and toss in a thin coat of olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes or until fork-tender.
  3. Let the eggplant cool for 10-15 minutes until cooled slightly and remove the eggplant skin. Toss the eggplant skin.
  4. Add the eggplant into a blender or food processer and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and season to taste.
Lemon and Thyme Baba Ghanoush [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Lemon and Thyme Baba Ghanoush

Please also check out this Baba Ghanoush by Roxane Brien, Lemon and Thyme Baba Ghanoush by Laura Hemmington, and this Baigan Choka by Nita Ragoonanan!

Now that you know some of your favorite Ramadan meals can be made plant-based, try them out!

Looking to #EatLessMeat? We’ll help you get started when you join Meating Halfway, a 21-day journey that’ll guide you towards eating less meat!

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Vegan BBQ Lentil Meatballs in skillet

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

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Here are some great resources to get you started:

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