The month of Ramadan means many nights of food, family, friends, and entertaining company to break day-long fasts.
During the month of Ramadan, daily fasts are capped off with nightly feasts, known as an iftar. For those observing, we've pulled together menus featuring Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian cuisines for bright, flavorful, and colorful dishes. Vibrant vegetable sides, spicy condiments, and colorful salads make these memorable recipes to serve to guests – or to simply add to your weeknight dinner rotations. These healthy and fresh takes on traditional foods of the holiday season are full of fresh herbs, warm spices, and complex layered flavors including mint, sumac, harissa, cardamom and more.
1. Saucy Skillet-Poached EggsShakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish, can be eaten as a flavorful brunch or a complete dinner with a side of crusty bread to mop up the red pepper sauce. Fresh chives and oregano sprinkled on top are a bright finish to the dish.
2. Falafel, Feta, and Tomato SaladFalafel adds crispy texture to this Mediterranean salad that is filling and protein-packed, making it a complete meal.
3. Grape RaitaSweet grapes accompany tart Greek yogurt and toasted mustard seeds. This cooling Indian yogurt side dish pairs nicely with a spicier dish to help balance the burn.
4. Grilled Lamb Kufta KebabsLean ground sirloin bulks up a recipe that's loaded with vibrant Middle Eastern flavors such as mint, sumac, and cumin. And – a bonus – the dish can be made in under half-an-hour. If you can’t find sumac, use lemon rind to substitute its citrusy flavor.
5. Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cucumber-and-Tomato SaladAfter marinating the chicken, this meal takes only 20 minutes to cook, assemble, and get on to your dinner table, making it a quick and easy weeknight meal all year long.
6. Curried Cauliflower Salad with YogurtThis spiced Indian-inspired recipe makes use of in-season cauliflower and nixes the repetitive salad ingredients of carrots and cherry tomatoes, making this a welcome vegetable side dish at the dinner table.
7. Persian Rice-Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and DillComplex sweet, spicy, tart, and savory flavors all come together in this Persian-inspired vegetable dish that also packs protein and fiber into each serving.
8. Roasted Pepper-Tomato RelishThis relish uses harissa, a chili pepper paste traditional to North African cuisine. Serve this spicy condiment with a meat or side of your choice, or with a homemade flatbread.
9. Quinoa-Cilantro Tabbouleh with Flake SaltThe crunch of flake salt and the tartness of lemon bitters add flavor and textural appeal to this parsley salad.
10. Tah Dig (Persian Rice)Tah Dig is an Iranian rice side dish that can accompany a wide array of vegetable or meat recipes. Make sure not to stir or disturb the rice as it’s cooking to ensure a perfectly golden, crispy crust.
11. Slow Cooker Cardamom Rice Pudding with Fresh PeachesAdd all of the ingredients for this recipe to your slow cooker in the morning and forget about it until it’s time for dessert. Tart juicy peaches accompany the warm, South Asian-inspired flavors of Jasmine rice, cinnamon, and cardamom.
12. Tahini-Date ShakeDates and date-laden dishes are traditionally used to break the day-long fast each night of Ramadan. This sweet, creamy shake brings together two of the most prominent flavors of the holiday: dates and sesame.