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dolphin with head sticking out of water during daytime

Written by: Joe Loria, Meat Reduction Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection, US

I was 11 when my family decided to go on a cruise through the Mexican Riveria. It was beautiful, stopping in ports along the Baja Peninsula and the western coast of Mexico. The day before we were expected to dock at Puerto Vallarta, my dad approached my sister and me about an excursion he had booked after seeing it in a brochure in the ship's lobby.

Knowing how much I've always loved animals, he was excited to share that he had signed us up to swim with dolphins.

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Koshari

Photo courtesy of World Animal Protection US

Written by Joe Loria, Meat Reduction Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection, US.

For those who eat little or no meat, dairy, and eggs, avoiding the 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.

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. For those who eat little or no meat, dairy, and eggs, avoiding the 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. Ramadan Mubarak!

Koshari - this is the Egyptian national dish


KoshariPhoto courtesy of World Animal Protection US


Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ an onion
  • Optional: 1 Green pepper

Fried Shallots:

  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots

Rice and Pasta:

  • 1 cup of medium grain rice (sushi rice is perfect here)
  • ¾ cup of brown lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of elbow pasta
  • Optional: canned chickpeas

For the sauce, roast the green pepper in the oven for 40 minutes until tender. Remove seeds and green pepper top and puree. Over medium heat, sauté diced onion until translucent. 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. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the fried shallots, 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. Cook over medium heat for roughly five 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. 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.

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

For the pasta, follow box instructions.

Assembly, 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. Enjoy!

Macarona bel béchamel (macaroni with béchamel)


Macarona bel béchamel (macaroni with béchamel)Photo courtesy of World Animal Protection US


Bechamel:

  • 1 ½ cups of Earth Balance butter
  • 3 cups of plant-based milk (I use Oatly)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¼ cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Impossible beef:

  • 1 package of ground beef alternative (Impossible or Beyond beef)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of Allspice
  • 2 tbsp of neutral oil

Pasta and tomato sauce:

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

For the bechamel, melt the butter in a saucepan, once it's all melted, add the flour stirring constantly and cook for one to two minutes until the flour looks a little toasty. 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, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the beef, cinnamon, and Allspice. Cook until the beef is browned, and fully cooked through. Off the heat, add ¼ cup of béchamel to the mixture and stir to incorporate. Set to the side.

For the pasta, follow the box instructions to make al dente pasta and subtract two 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, in a skillet, over medium heat, add the tomato paste and cook for about two minutes – the goal is to cook off any metal or raw taste in the paste. Add pasta water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce has thickened to the texture of a traditional pasta sauce. Off the heat, add ¼ cup of the béchamel and the cooked pasta and mix until all the pasta is coated in the sauce.

Assembly, 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. Add all the pasta to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef mixture atop the pasta. Layer the bechamel sauce over the mixture, it should be a thick layer. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. As an optional step, place under the broiler for five minutes to brown the top of béchamel.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes and serve hot.

Eggplant with pomegranate reduction

Eggplant with pomegranate reduction.Photo courtesy of World Animal Protection US


  • 1 large eggplant cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • ½ can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon of sumac
  • 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • ¾ cup of olive oil

Generously salt eggplant for 30 minutes prior to cooking. In addition to seasoning the eggplant, this will draw out excess moisture from the eggplant.

Add olive oil to a skillet or cast iron on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, start browning eggplant in batches, brown the eggplant on all sides for roughly 4-5 minutes for each batch. Remove eggplant from skillet and set aside.

Add more olive oil to the skillet and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

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).

Once desired consistency is achieved, add eggplant and spinach to the pan and cook for two minutes.

Plate over rice and enjoy!

Kofta

KoftaPhoto courtesy of World Animal Protection US


  • 1 package of ground beef alternative (Impossible or Beyond beef)
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 2 tsp of Allspice
  • 1 tsp of Cinnamon
  • ¼ cup of oat milk
  • ½ cup of panko
  • ¼ cup of chopped parsley
  • 4 pinches of salt

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.

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.

Kofta pairs well with any tomato-based dishes or the Eggplant dish listed above.

Baba ghanoush


Baba ghanoushPhoto courtesy of World Animal Protection US


  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup of tahini
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: a pinch of paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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. Let the eggplant cool for 10-15 minutes until cooled slightly and remove the eggplant skin. Toss the eggplant skin.

Add the eggplant into a blender or food processer and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and season to taste.

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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!

red tomatoes
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By: Joe Loria, Meat Reduction Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection US

These delicious and nutritious plant-based recipes show that you can keep your commitment to eating less animal products and honor your religious values at the same time.

While many holidays have a way of putting extra pressure on those looking to eat less animal products and more plant-based foods, the annual Jewish observance of Passover may be even more of a challenge. It's not just a matter of finding swaps for traditional, animal-based foods. Passover, which lasts for eight days, also asks those who observe to abstain from grains, beans, and corn–three important staples for anyone looking to consume more plant-based proteins. The Passover dietary rules restrict the use of such grains because they can ferment and become leavened.

Those celebrating Passover do not eat any leavened foods because the unleavened matzoh reminds that the Israelites, fleeing slavery with Pharaoh's army at their heels, had no time to let their bread rise and hence ate flat matzoh instead.

These delicious and nutritious plant-based recipes show that you can keep your commitment to eating less animal products and honor your religious values at the same time.

The memes that brought us some joy in the darkest times of the pandemic conversations.indy100.com


Matzoh Brei

  • 2 whole boards of Matzoh
  • Half a cup of liquid JUST Egg
  • 1 tablespoon of non-dairy butter or canola oil for the frying pan
  • Large bowl and frying pan

1) Pour half a cup of liquid JUST Egg into a bowl. Gently and quickly run boards of matzoh under water. Do not soak. Break up pieces of matzoh into plant-based eggs. Coat completely with the JUST Egg. Let stand for 2-3 minutes.

2) Heat one tablespoon of non-dairy butter or canola oil in a frying pan. Pour the matzoh/JUST Egg mixture into the pan.

3) Keep turning until the mixture is cooked through. Make as well done to one's liking!

4) Serve plain or with salt, sugar, or jelly.

Matzoh Lasagna

  • Two containers of Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta
  • 5-8 boards of matzoh (depends on pan size)
  • 24 oz. Jar of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of shredded plant-based mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

1) Coat 9x13 pan evenly with olive oil. Mix two containers of Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta, 3/4ths of jarred tomato sauce, and 1 ½ cups of plant-based mozzarella cheese in a large bowl. Ever so lightly sprinkle water on boards of matzoh and lay in the pan. You may need half of another board to fill the pan to the edges.

2) Now start layering your ingredients, beginning with your first layer of matzoh, then your sauce and cheese combination. Be careful not to break or crack matzoh boards. Repeat layering (matzoh, sauce, and cheese) until the top. For the top, lay down boards of matzoh, add remaining plain tomato sauce and sprinkle with half a cup of shredded plant-based cheese.

3) Cook at 350-degrees for approximately 35 minutes. Check halfway through since ovens cook differently. The plant-based cheese should be melted when it's done.

Plant-Based Matzoh Ball Soup

Broth

  • Large soup pot
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 32 oz. vegetable broth

1) Fill a large soup pot with vegetable broth.

2) Peel a large onion and put the whole onion into the broth. Cook on medium heat. While this heats up, clean and cut up chunks of carrots and celery. Once the onion softens, add carrots and celery to the soup. Lower heat and simmer for approximately 1.5 hours or until everything is soft and you begin to smell the broth.

Matzoh Balls

  • 1 cup Matzoh Meal
  • 3 tablespoons of potato starch
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • A pinch of salt and/or pepper to taste

1) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for 40 minutes.

2) When matzoh ball mix is ready, turn soup broth on high to a full boil. Form mixture into balls and drop them into the broth. The matzoh balls should rise to the top of the pot and expand, continue this process until the mixture is completely used.

3) Lower heat and cook for approximately 30 minutes.

(Please note: The matzoh balls will absorb much of the broth, so the amount of broth in the pot is much less than when you began to cook.)

4) Pour matzoh ball soup into a bowl and top with crushed matzoh.

Dark Chocolate Covered Matzoh Bark

  • 1 cup of Melting Dark Chocolate or 4 dark chocolate bars
  • 5-6 boards of matzoh
  • Half a cup of Pistachio nuts (or a different topping, ex: sprinkles, walnuts)

1) In a double boiler or microwave, melt dark chocolate until completely smooth. Gently run matzoh until water very quickly (10 seconds) to absorb a little moisture.

2) Lay the boards of matzoh out on a baking sheet or tin foil. Pour melted chocolate on the board of matzoh. Sprinkle the chopped pistachio nuts or another type of topping on the matzoh while the chocolate is still hot (other toppings including but not limited to sprinkles, walnuts, or cashews)

3) Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until chocolate hardens. Take out of the refrigerator and break into small squares and enjoy!

Matzoh Granola

  • 3 boards of crushed matzoh (or whole wheat matzoh, pending preference)
  • Half a cup of coarsely chopped walnuts
  • A quarter of a cup of canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of light-brown sugar
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Stir together matzoh, walnuts, canola oil, sugar, agave nectar, and salt in a large bowl. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees until toasted, or approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

2) Let it cool and break into smaller pieces. Best served with your favorite non-dairy yogurt or plant-based milk and fresh fruit!

For an additional plant-based dish that doesn't use Matzoh:

Jello Mold

  • 1 pack of plant-based jello (ex: Simply Delish)
  • 1 can of whole cranberries
  • 1 can of jellied cranberry
  • 1 can of fruit cocktail (or any canned fruit preference)
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts

1) In a large bowl, add the jello packet with hot water and follow the directions according to the jello box. Add a can of whole cranberries and mash. Add in a can of jellied cranberries and mix them all together. Drain the liquid from the fruit cocktail and add to the mixture. Continue mixing. Add in crushed nuts.

2) Best in a nonstick plastic mold (lightly spread vegan butter, Pam, or canola oil on a piece of paper towel to spread around the molding to ensure the jello doesn't stick) but can be put in any dish. Let rest in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Now that you know some of your favorite Passover 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!

For more information, please visit World Animal Protection's website here.

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