7 healthy Iftar meals this Ramadan

From Chef Omur Akkor of the W Doha, here are seven options to break your fast in a healthy way. 

June 15, 2016

If abs are made in the kitchen, then Ramadan is the worst time of the year for your body fat goals.

Yes you may have altered your training regime after this advice from our fitness expert, but if you’re fasting, the likelihood is that you are overindulging at Iftar and Suhoor on fatty and sugar-rich foods, something we’ve previously told you not to do.

So in an effort to prevent your waistband from ballooning during the Holy month, here are seven healthy Iftar meals from Chef Omur Akkor, who was a guest chef for Ramadan at the W Doha last year. 

Dates with cucumber

  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 pieces of dates
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • mint leaves 

A fresh and healthy option for Iftar, a dates and cucumber salad allows the body to rehydrate and balance sugar levels after a long day of fasting.

Dice the cucumbers with their skins in circles and put them on a plate. Crush the mustard seed and salt in a mortar, and then add the dates. Continue to crush until it becomes paste-like. Add lemon juice and olive oil and stir well. Place mint leaves on the cucumbers, and add the sauce on top, then serve.

Strawberries with labneh

  • 1 bowl of labneh
  • 1 bowl of chopped strawberries
  • 1 bows of raisins
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 4 spoons of musli 

A sweet, healthy and filling dessert that can be eaten both for Iftar and Sohour.

Put the labneh on a plate and stack up the rest of the ingredients on top. Serve. Easy.

Homemade fruit soda

  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange
  • Handful of fresh mint leafs
  • 1 litre of apple juice
  • 1 litre sparkling water 

Hydrating a fasting body is extremely important in Ramadan. If you are having trouble drinking plain water, this option is a healthy alternative to the sugary sodas that you may be craving.

Dice the apple and orange with their skins. Put the chopped fruits in a large carafe, add the apple juice and the mint leaves and place in the fridge to chill for two hours. Just before serving, add the sparkling water and stir.

Cold roasted pepper soup

  • 8 red peppers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 10 spoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
  • 2 clvoes of garlic
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 5 teaspoons of whipped labneh
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, basil)
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt 

With the temperatures soaring up to 45 degrees Celsius, you probably won’t feel like having hot soup but you may need something to ease your stomach after a whole day of fasting. This recipe is a light, flavourful option to break your fast with. 

Place the whole peppers and the largely cut tomatoes on an oven tray. Add the salt, the fresh herbs, black pepper, garlic and the olive oil and cook at 220 degrees Celsius in the oven for 20 minutes.

When you take it out of the oven, cover it to make the mixture steam for 10 minutes. Peel the tomatoes and pepper afterwards and put both in a food processor. Add the lemon juice and the tomato juice and stir. When cold, add the labneh, the fresh herbs together and serve.

Mint tomato salad

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 8 spoons of olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tea spoon of chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tablespoons of vinegar
  • Sea salt

Minty, flavorful and fresh! Eat it as it is, or top your bread with the salad.

Peel the tomatoes and chop in large cubes. In a bowl, put the vinegar, the molasses, chili flakes, finely chopped garlic, salt and olive oil together and stir. Take the mint leaves and mix them with the tomatoes. Add the dressing onto the tomatoes and serve.

Zeyt'ül labne

  • 2 kg plain yoghurt
  • Half a litre natural olive oil
  • Dried currants
  • Fresh thyme
  • Dried tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Cheesecloth to strain the yoghurt 

Your very own homemade cheese spread. Whether you keep it for yourself or take it with you as a gift to Iftars with family and friends, it’s a winner.

First of all, wet the cheesecloth and place it in a bowl. Whip the yoghurt with sea salt. Pour half of the yoghurt on the cheesecloth and pour half a cup of water on it. Put the other half of the yoghurt on top, followed by another half a cup of water.

Tie the cheesecloth and let it strain for five hours. Place it afterwards in the fridge to strain for another three days. After three days, remove it from the cloth and create walnut sized balls of the dried yoghurt. Fill up little jars with olive oil, put the yoghurt balls in it along with the dried currants, thyme and tomatoes. After two weeks resting in a cool place, serve with warm bread.

Tomato rice

  • 1.5 kg tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of rice
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Small bunch of finely chopped ruccola
  • Small bunch of finely chopped parsley
  • Small bunch of finely chopped dill
  • Small bunch of finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tea spoon of sugar
  • Blackpepper
  • Sea salt 

An alternative to the plain old rice, this recipe is full of flavor and greens, perfect for the summer heat.

Peel the tomatoes and cut them in cubes. Put the garlic in a pan with the olive oil and add the tomatoes. Add the rice, salt, sugar and black pepper and top with water. Once the water has evaporated, around 30 minutes, cook in low heat and let it steam.

Once the rice is cooked, add the greens and the butter and mix well. With the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, mix the chopped cloves of garlic and use this mix to serve as a base on the plate for the rice.

Omur Akkor was a guest chef at the Sultan's Tent in Ramadan at the W Doha. Visit whoteldoha.com