Veggie Packed and Refined Sugar-Free recipe ideas for your next Iftar Party
This post is sponsored by No Frills. As always, all opinions are my own.
As much as Ramadan is about not eating, it is also about coming together and eating with friends and family when you open your fast. Iftar parties are a great way to not only share food but also bring friends and family together after a long day. When planning an Iftar menu, it can get stressful, especially if you have been fasting and are in charge of feeding a big crowd with an even bigger appetite.
Most iftar menus are filled with a variety of fried items, which can not only make it high in calories but it also means you’re standing by the stove-top for quite a while.
When planning your iftar menu, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Do your grocery shopping a few days before your iftar party to ensure everything you need is stocked in your kitchen.
- Make items that can be prepped in advance to minimize time in the kitchen on the day of your iftar party.
- Make bite-sized items so it is easy to serve and people can enjoy a variety of foods.
- Utilize multiple aspects of the kitchen to maximize cooking space and minimize cooking time (i.e. stove top and in the oven).
I found it really easy to do all my grocery shopping at No Frills because they carry a variety of authentic brands like Suraj, Arz, Nanak and much more at low prices. They also carry a great variety of fresh produce like Indian eggplant, okra, methi to a great assortment of meat products under the exclusive Sufra brand. The Sufra brand of meat products are all Zabeeha by hand and HMA Halal certified. This was an easy trip for me because I was able to pick up everything I needed in one place. Today I am sharing two savoury recipes and one sweet recipe for your Iftar menu. The savoury recipes are packed with veggies but also desi flavour, because let’s face it, our Ramadans are usually void of an adequate amount of veggies. Not only did I test these recipes on my own, but I also made them for an Iftar party with my in-laws, so these recipes are party approved too!
Recipe 1: Garam Masala Stuffed Mushrooms
This recipe for stuffed mushrooms will satisfy your desi taste buds with its spicy kick from garam masala and red chili powder. Mushrooms are packed with nutrients such as B vitamins, potassium, and vitamin D. I also added spinach for even more of a nutrition boost with vitamin A and iron. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to tell your guests this is “healthy”!
Garam Masala Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes: Approximately 24 stuffed mushrooms
- Two 227g packages of cremini mushrooms, stems separated by hand
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Suraj Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Suraj red chili powder
- ½ tsp Suraj ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove mushroom stems by hand and chop the mushroom stems finely. Place the mushroom caps on the lined baking sheet and set aside.
- Over medium-high heat, at 1 Tbsp olive oil to a skillet and add red onions. Saute for 2 minutes until softened and add minced garlic, garam masala, red chili powder, black pepper, and salt.
- Add chopped mushroom stems and saute for 2 minutes until softened. Add spinach and cream cheese. Mix until cream cheese is melted through. Turn off heat and fold in green onions and cilantro. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes, until mixture is no longer runny.
- Using a teaspoon, add mixture into mushroom caps. Start with 1 teaspoon in each mushroom and add 1-2 teaspoons until all of the mixture is used up. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Optional: garnish with cilantro.
Recipe 2: Mini Tandoori Veggie and Paneer Skewers
You are most likely familiar with regular veggie skewers, but these are made with toothpicks to make them mini! When you are hosting an iftar party, making enough food is top priority and this recipe stretches a few simple ingredients a long way. You will get at least 75 mini skewers with some leftover veggies and paneer!
Paneer is a great complement to the veggies and makes it more filling since it is a source of protein. I used eggplant and grey zucchini as well as marinated the veggies and paneer with tandoori masala for a more desi flavour. One thing I liked about Suraj tandoori masala was that it gets its red colour from a natural source, beetroot, rather than artificial red colour. This means that the skewers still showcase the colours of the veggies.
Mini Tandoori Veggie and Paneer Skewers
Makes: Approximately 75 mini skewers
- 75 Toothpicks
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 5 Tbsp Suraj tandoori masala
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Packages Nanak Paneer, cut into cubes
- 1 long eggplant, cut into half moons
- 3 grey zucchinis, cut into half moons
- 1 red onion, cut into quarters
- 3 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
- In a bowl, soak toothpicks in water to prevent burning when cooking. Keep in water until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350oF. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil and grease with oil.
- In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, tandoori masala, and olive oil. Set aside.
- Cut up your veggies and paneer and place them in separate bowls. Add 2 Tablespoons for the marinade into each bowl and 1 Tablespoon of the mixture into the bowl of red onions. Using your hand, mix the masala into the veggies and paneer well.
- Make mini skewers by placing the veggies and paneer through the toothpicks. The order that I used was bell pepper, eggplant, paneer, red pepper, and grey zucchini. If there are extra veggies leftover, you can continue to make skewers with the remaining veggies. As you finish each mini skewer, place on baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Recipe 3: Date Scones
Dessert and chai are a must-have at any party, let alone an iftar party! These date scones are a perfect companion to your chai while also satisfying your sweet tooth. The date scones can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
These scones have no added white sugar and are naturally sweetened with Bard Valley Medjool Dates. The dates are added in to the flour at the same time as the butter. When you are cutting in the butter, the dates mix into the flour as well, creating a sweet but not overly sweet scone.
Since dates are in abundance in all households during Ramadan, these date scones are an easy choice for a post-iftar snack.
Makes: 16 scones
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup Natural Delights Medjool dates (about 10 dates), chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add cut up cold butter and dates. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter and dates into the flour, until butter is pea-sized.
- In a small bowl, beat eggs and add to flour mixture. Mix with hands until combined, but do not overmix. Add 1 Tbsp of milk and fold together until dough comes together. Remove from bowl, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Split dough into two balls and flatten into 1 inch round discs. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 pie pieces.
- Brush with milk and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Planning on trying any of these recipes? Be sure to share your pictures of your dishes on Twitter or Instagram by tagging us @Masalamommas and @NutritionbyNaz
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