Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset in an effort to increase compassion to those less fortunate, improve their discipline, strengthen their faith, and practice mindfulness.
Once that sunset or Maghreb prayer is called, families gather around the dinner table and break their fast, and it’s usually a highly anticipated feast!
This meal, or rather break-fast, is called iftar. If you’ve ever been to an iftar, you know you can expect these typical iftar food items at any table:
The healthiest way to break the fast is to do it slowly with small sips of water and eating one date.
Dates will replenish the system after long hours of fasting and bring back some of that energy one lost during the day.
This light breaking of the fast is a great way to prepare one’s body for the iftar meal that follows, which, if eaten too quickly, can upset the stomach for hours.
#2 Lentil Soup
The base of any iftar is soup! Before eating something heavy, people usually break their fast with some soup.
The most common is lentil soup, which is packed with nutritious benefits after a long day of fasting. It’s warm, savory, and filling!
Typically eaten in Lebanon on a Sunday morning or brunch, the Fatteh found its way onto the typical iftar menu.
The filling dish consists of a layer of toasted or fried pita bread, topped with boiled chickpeas mixed with Tahini, and covered with plain yogurt.
It is topped pine nuts, toasted or fried with butter or oil. Optionally, some add spices like paprika and cumin.
This is definitely the most filling all-time favorite “appetizer” on the iftar menu.
This has ought to be the most colorful salad on the Lebanese menu. Fattoush is a refreshing rich mix of different herbs and vegetables, with optional pomegranate kernels or bulbs when they’re in season.
But the most distinct flavor that makes this salad special is the sumac or pomegranate molasses, and crunchy toasted bread.
The Lebanese tabbouleh salad is also a dish present at Iftar in Lebanon when the fattoush isn’t on the menu.
This savory pastry, usually filled with cooked ground beef or cheese, is a favorite warm appetizer on any Lebanese dinner table, and almost always available at Ifta during Ramadan.
#7 Rakaek Jebneh (Cheese Rolls)
Crispy cheese rolls are a staple next to the sambousek! These light deep-fried rolls are a guilty pleasure!
#8 Homemade Fries
There’s nothing better than munching on some warm homemade fries! Does this omen really need an explanation? By fasting all day long, you don’t even have to feel bad for indulging a bit.
#9 Main Dish
The main dish is usually left to preference. A common one is the traditional Lebanese chicken and rice Riz 3a Djej or stuffed zucchini or a rich Maqloubeh Eggplant.
It’s all up to preference, however, the main dish is often pushed for late-night, for a fulfilling Ramadan dinner.
#10 Coffee & Dessert!
Coffee is a must-have, even if it’s late in the day. It’s an achievement if coffee lovers can get to sunset without having a migraine!
By the time you’re done with iftar, you may physically not be able to ingest anything else, but hey, here’s a secret: dessert goes straight to the heart!