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Gluten Free Ghriba for #SundaySupper

Moroccan pastries are small, bite size gems of deliciousness.  Most have nuts, usually almonds, honey, and powdered sugar. Sadly, the majority also have wheat making them off-limits for us.  Ramadan is right around the corner and I have been re-making all of our favorite treats into gluten-free replicas. Are you ready for a ghriba-a-palooza?  I’ve created four new ghriba recipes that I’ll be sharing over the next few days. I think you’ll have a hard time choosing your favorite!

Gluten Free Ghriba Cookies

What is a ghriba?

Ghriba are one of the most well known Moroccan cookies.  They are easily identified because of their cracked surface – a must in ghriba making. They tend to be a bit crunchy on the outside but chewy inside. Most of the time they’re made with almonds, but can be made with walnuts, peanuts, really any kind of nut. When I started developing a recipe for gluten-free ghriba I first looked to traditional recipes. There are some gluten-free recipes that exist but I find it easier to try and convert from a recipe with gluten to gluten-free. The problem here was there are a lot of different ways people make ghriba!  Some used butter, some oil.  Some caster sugar, and some powdered sugar.  Some used semolina, or white flour, or coconut. Some people make ghriba and put jam in them, like thumbprint cookies. Basically there was no real base recipe to start from. Maybe that’s a good thing?

What I Made

I came up with four new kinds of ghriba – all of them are gluten free.

Today I’m sharing the recipe I created for Lemon Vanilla Almond Ghriba.  I promise to share my recipes for all of the others, if you’re following me on Facebook or subscribe for updates (sign up is on the right sidebar), you’ll know as soon as they’re up!

Gluten Free Almond Ghriba

Lemon Vanilla Almond Ghriba

35 minutes

12 minutes

50 minutes

20-24 cookies


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp liquid from preserved lemon (if you don't have this, the zest of 1 lemon will work)
  • 4 Tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Whole blanced almonds to top cookies
  • powdered sugar to coat cookies


  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl combine almond flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder.
  • Add to the dry ingredients the preserved lemon juice (or lemon zest), vanilla extract, and egg yolks.
  • Break up the butter with your hands or a pastry cutter and begin working into the dough.
  • Using your hands or pastry cutter mix all of the ingredients until everything has been combined, the dough will feel slightly sticky.
  • From small balls with your hands, about 1" in diameter.
  • Coat the balls with powdered sugar and place onto a cookie sheet or plate.
  • Refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes, or place in freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Arrange cookies on baking sheet and gently press an almond into the top of each. Do not flatten the cookies, they will naturally shape.
  • Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. The cookies should still be a pale color.
  • Leave on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes to allow the cookies to finish setting, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • When the cookies are completely cool, transfer to an air tight container.
  • Cookies can be stored on the counter for 1-2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, remove from the freezer and allow to warm up before serving.

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is a “free for all” so every recipe is “free” of something.  There are other gluten-free recipes, sugar free, dairy-free, you name it! The hostess this week is Beate of The Not So Cheesy Kitchen – thanks for hosting! I hope you’ll join with us and try some of these great recipes from my fellow contributors – don’t forget to check back for the rest of my ghriba recipes!


  • Dairy, Egg, Gluten, Nut & Soy Free Brown Rice Breakfast Pudding bygirlichef
  • Dairy & Nut and Sugar Free Blueberry Tangerine Muffins by Vintage Kitchen
  • Dairy, Egg, Gluten, Nut, and Soy Free Homemade Mango Jam Recipe byMasala Herb

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Rogan Josh Stuffed Bread {Whole Foods Giveaway}

Rogan Josh Stuffed Bread 2

Cooking in someone else’s kitchen is no easy task. When it’s a bachelor’s kitchen the challenge is ten-fold. To prepare for our trip I packed two boxes of food and flours (gluten free) as well as kitchen tools that I thought I would need. I should have packed more. I tossed in a few packages of Saffron Road Simmer Sauce for quick and easy iftars and dinners. When we’re at home we tend to make a big iftar that includes dinner. We do this so that we can all eat together instead of having to feed the kids one dinner, making iftar, and then making another dinner later. MarocBaba caved in last night and decided we would do dinner the same way we do it at home.

The little kitchen I’m working in

One of the appetizers I made was a stuffed bread. There’s a version of this in Morocco, stuffed with beef, spices and onions. But because we need to use gluten-free flours it just doesn’t turn out the same. This recipe is a nice addition to the iftar table.


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 + warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 package Saffron Road Rogan Josh Simmer Sauce


  • In a large saute pan brown the ground beef and pour 1/2 pouch of Rogan Josh Simmer Sauce in with the cooking meat. Break up the meat as much as possible and cook until the liquid is reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • To make the dough mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Stream in the vegetable oil and slowly begin adding water. You can use your hand to mix the dough. Continue mixing and adding water to form an elastic but firm dough.

Rogan Josh Stuffed Bread

  • On a clean work surface put down plenty of flour. Break the pieces of dough off into small balls, about the size of a walnut.
  • Flatten the dough balls with a rolling pin to about 1/4″ thick.
  • On one dough disc place a 1/2 -1 tsp of the meat mixture.
  • Top with another dough disc and flatten, taking care to seal the edges.
  • Bake on the stovetop with a large pan on medium heat. Each side should cook 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve hot!

*note: barley flour is used in this recipe, if using all purpose flour the color of your bread will be different.

With Ramadan drawing to an end it’s time to start preparing for Eid celebrations. My next post using Saffron Road is going to give you great ideas for a kids party. But to help you prepare for your celebrations we’re giving away a $50 Whole Foods gift card!

If you would like your chance to win here’s how to enter;
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Chicken Salad with Harissa Dressing and Date, Tamarind, Walnut Briouats

Chicken Salad and Harissa Dressing

The first few days of Ramadan I am always excited to prepare meals that we rarely have during the rest of the year.  However by the end of the first week I start to notice bits and pieces of leftovers in my fridge and my enthusiasm begins to wane. Some of my favorite dinners are conceived using leftovers and pantry items that are taking up space.  Normally I don’t serve leftovers to guests but sometimes a last minute visit occurs and I don’t have a lot of time to prepare a big meal.

This salad was born with that thought in mind. With a little re-purposing and the help of Saffron Road hors d’oeuvres I took leftovers up a notch.  Your guests will be impressed (and satisfied) with this salad and it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!


  • Baked or rotisserie chicken
  • Your favorite lettuce mix
  • sliced cucumbers
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • optionally you could add pepper slices, zucchini, carrot slices or any other raw vegetables on hand
  • Chinese rice noodles
  • vegetable oil for frying the noodles
  • Saffron Road Date, Tamarind and Walnut Hors d’oeuvres 

For the dressing

  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar


Preheat your oven to 350F and place the Date, Tamarind and Walnut hors d’oeuvres on a cookie sheet. Begin baking these immediately.

Begin heating vegetable oil on medium high.  The oil should be at least 1/4″ deep. Add the rice noodles to a large bowl and top with hot water.  Allow to soak until the threads separate and soften. Remove from the water and place on a napkin or towel to dry off.  Once the oil is hot, grab small bunches of the rice noodles and drop into the oil.  They should fry in small clumps. Once cooked through remove from the oil, back to the blotting paper and reserve for the salad.

To assemble your salad chop and prep all of the ingredients. Layer the ingredients as you wish and top with the toasted sesame seeds and crispy noodles.

To make the harissa dressing, combine of the ingredients listed and whisk together. Depending on the thickness of your harissa you may need to add more water to thin it out.  The dressing should have a little heat but should not be overwhelming. Dress the salad with the harissa sauce.

Remove the hors d’oeuvres from the oven when crispy and plate with the salad.

I really love the contrasts in this salad.  The crispy noodles with the chicken, and the spicy harissa with the sweet of the dates and tamarind. If you’re worried about it being too hot, reduce the amount of harissa you use.

What are some of your favorite meals to use up leftovers?

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Gluten-Free Warka {Moroccan Phyllo}

Ask any Moroccan chef or home cook what is the single item they would buy over making and chances are pretty good they will say warka (sometimes spelled oarka). Traditional warka is a pain to make. It is closely related to phyllo dough but is a little sturdier and has a crispier texture when cooked. It is time consuming, and involves a lot of stretching and pulling to make paper thin sheets. In her book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, Paula Wolfert details the process through illustration.  Recently she made a video with Alia from Cooking with Alia (I’m insanely jealous that Alia got to hang out with Paula!) showing a different way of making warka using a paint brush.

I knew that the traditional way of making warka wouldn’t work to make gluten-free warka. The pulling process is meant to activate the gluten and stretch out the gluten molecules to create the thin but sturdier sheets. Obviously, this would be impossible with gluten-free flours. But, when I saw Paula’s new technique there was some promise.  Some of our favorite Moroccan Ramadan treats use phyllo or warka so I was determined to create a gluten-free version.

I’m not going to lie to you – this recipe does take time but the results are worth it. Knowing that MarocBaba will be able to enjoy things like savory and sweet briouats as well as  b’stilla makes it all worth it.

Gluten Free Warka


  • 3/4 c sorghum flour
  • 1/4c tapioca starch
  • 1/4 c brown rice flour
  • 1/4 c white rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 3/4c water
  • paper towels or parchment paper
  • 3-4″ bristle paintbrush (one that is used only in the kitchen)


      • In a food processor combine everything except the vegetable oil. Blend until everything is well combined and is a thin batter.
      • Refrigerate covered for 2 hours.
      • During this time prepare for making the warka. Cut sheets of parchment paper or paper towel into pieces to place between the layers. Place a small bowl of the vegetable oil in your work area with a paper towel to be used on the pastry sheets.
      • Remove batter from the refrigerator and heat a skillet on medium high heat. I’ve found using a pan that is the same size as the sheets you would like is the easiest.
      • Pour a small amount of oil into the pan and wipe off with a paper towel.
      • Using your paintbrush, brush on the batter making a thin layer. Working in a circular fashion dabbing batter in the areas with holes. This may take a few attempts to get a good understanding of how much to use. (See Alia’s video as the technique is the same).
      • Heat for approximately 2 minutes. you will see the edges starting to pull up and the middle beginning to dry. You do not want this to cook completely through or it will become hard and impossible to use for briouats or b’stila.
        Warka Opacity


    • Very carefully pull the sheet out of the pan and transfer to a parchment/paper towel on a plate. Dab another paper towel with vegetable oil and spread on the warka sheet. Cover with a sheet of parchment or paper towel. 
    • Repeat the steps until batter is gone. This recipe will make 30-32 sheets or warka.
    • The warka can be used immediately or placed into a freezer bag and frozen until ready to use. Be sure to thaw at room temperature before using.

Saving Warka

 These sheets can be used to make traditional Moroccan foods that call for warka or phyllo dough BUT they also can be used for other recipes that use phyllo.  I’m thinking of making some baklava with them soon!

I hope you’ll join me tomorrow at 8pm EST for a Twitter Chat with Saffron Road Food.  We’ll be discussing getting your kitchen ready for Ramadan and I’ll be available to answer any questions or problems you have.  Simply jump onto the stream using #RamadanKitchen to join us!  Don’t forget you can also win this great giveaway for Moroccan goodies!

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Moroccan Chicken and Rice Soup

In my experience, every culture has it’s version of chicken soup.  With Ramadan approaching quickly I’ve been looking for new soup recipes. I’m a busy mom and finding fast, easy and healthy recipes can sometimes feel like a chore. I’ve always been hesitant about soup because it always felt like it took so much time.  I was wrong.  This soup is fast and delicious.

Usually I go to my mother in law for new Moroccan recipe ideas.  In our latest conversation (translated through MarocBaba) I asked her for some ideas that don’t involve a lot of cooking – or that could be eaten cold.  Her response….“Why would you do that?” Frankly if I were in Morocco fasting during Ramadan in the middle of August, hot soup would be low on my list of “things to make and eat”.  But that’s just me.

Instead I did eek out two new ideas for soups.  As with most recipes she can’t tell me how much of anything to add, just what ingredients are in the dish. In darija she called this recipe chorba kdra vermicelli or Soup with Vegetables and Vermicelli.  Creative isn’t it?  I made my version with rice instead of vermicelli noodles but you can add in rice, noodles or any other grain you’d like.

Vegetables for Moroccan Chicken and Rice Soup

There is an endless list of vegetables you can use in this recipe.  Take advantage of whatever produce is local and in season for you.  All of my vegetables came from our farmer’s market, except for the herbs which I grew in my backyard (hey it’s a big deal for a black thumb like me!) If you’re making this with plans to freeze some to use during Ramadan, cook the noodles or rice seperately and as needed.  They don’t freeze and reheat well.

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Soup


  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, skin removed and left whole
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large breast of chicken cubed
  • 8-10 fingerling potatoes
  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 c (one carton) Saffron Road Traditional Chicken Broth.
  • 2 c water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6-7 springs of parsley chopped finely
  • 1/4 c rice or vermicelli noodles


  • Before cooking prepare your vegetables by peeling, chopping and grating as needed.
  • In a large pot add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and one small onion chopped finely. Heat on medium heat for 5 minutes until onion softens.
  • Next, add the chunks of chicken and brown on all sides making sure the onions are not burning. Turn down the heat if they start to turn dark brown.
  • Pour the Saffron Road chicken broth into the pot along with the water, grated ginger, salt, black pepper and parsley.
  • Stir in one Tablespoon of tomato paste along with all of the chopped vegetables. Drop in the two cloves of garlic. Cover the pot and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and stir in 1/4c of rice. While stirring use a large spoon to break up the pieces of chicken to smaller bites.
  • Continue cooking uncovered 10-15 minutes until the rice is soft.
  • **If you are preparing this soup to freeze cook the rice or noodles separately from the soup and add as needed. They do not freeze well in soup.

To help you get ready for Ramadan my friends at Saffron Road have put together a really great Moroccan inspired giveaway!  It’s so cute and I know that one of you will really love receiving it too. Saffron Road products are standard in my kitchen now.  I firmly believe in their values, mission and products. Their products can really help you focus on your spiritual Ramadan journey instead of always fretting about what to make for iftar/dinner.  Here’s what you’ll find inside;

MarocMama and Saffron Road Giveaway

Contents are:

  • 4 coupons for free Saffron Road Products + 4 $1 off coupons
  • One each of the new Saffron Road Simmer Sauces
  • 1 small ceramic tagine (they make great condiment dishes!)
  • 2 Moroccan tea glasses
  • Tagine Recipe Book
  • MarocMama postcard with a message from me!

Here’s how to win

This contest is open to US residents and will run from (today) Friday July 13th – Friday July 20th at midnight. Please follow the entries below on the rafflecopter widget to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and let me know what you think of this soup!

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Today is the last of the Ramadan giveaways (hey there are only a few days left!) If you haven’t checked lately there are many giveaways open right now.  I’ll add links to them all at the end of this post but I’m going to jump right into today’s giveaway. is a great online retailer for stationary.  They have all kinds of holiday cards and standard paper stationary to boot.  I first heard of them from American Muslim Mom, when Ponn (the owner of AMM) was one of the guest judges for their new Eid cards.  The final cards were beyond cute.  This is another example of the needs of Muslim consumers making it’s way into the American market.

I like a lot of the designs but this one I think is my very favorite.  But the best news of all of this is now YOU get to choose your favorite design!  Minted is giving away a $100 credit to their website to one lucky reader.  If you are that lucky winner you will get a $100 credit to use on anything they carry (not just Eid cards!)  Follow the directions below to win.  I will choose the winner on August 30th (Eid).

 Mandatory Entry:  Visit the Minted website and tell me which Eid Card you like the best.

Additional Entries (leave a separate comment for each action)-

  • Like MarocMama on Facebook
  • Like Minted on Facebook
  • Follow MarocMama on Twitter
  • Follow Minted on Twitter
  • Tweet about this giveaway; (Enter to win a $100 gift certificate to @minted from @marocmama


<a href=””>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.Meal Ideas for Tomorrow

Suhoor:  It’s my standby!  Muffins and cheese slices.

Iftar: No one else in my house appreciates Greek Cheese Pie as much as I do.  But that’s ok it’s time to make something that I truly enjoy even if no one else does!

Dinner: I love the name of this blog and this dish intrigues me even more.  Try out this Sweet Chili Lime Chicken with Cilantro Couscous from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.

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We are in the final 10 days of Ramadan and I’m actually a little amazed at how fast the month has gone by.  I wanted more out of this months’ posts.  I had a big plan and I was going to have all of these posts pre-written, posted ahead, sent to email subscribers ahead.  Instead I have ended up writing in the spur of the moment.  What do they say about the best laid plans?

I may not have mentioned this but MarocBaba and I are gearing up for a trip to Morocco in a little over a month.  It will be less than three weeks however I have a special project planned for the trip.  When I found out we were “really” going I hatched Mobiles for Morocco to bring baby mobiles and clothing to a home for abandoned babies in Marrakech.  I have a long term dream of building a women and children’s shelter that I hope will someday be realized.  For now this is the little bit that I can do.  If you’re interested in getting involved (even by sharing or blogging about the project).  Please check out my page about this project. I will be documenting this trip heavily, including all steps of the journey for the little ones.

Finally, I have two giveaways open right now.  One is for an insulated thermal tote from Leslie, independent consultant for Thirty-One bags.  Think work lunches, snacks on the go, sports games, all that goodness that comes with the kids going back to school.  There’s lots of ways to enter and if you flip through the catalog and find something you really can’t wait to get – buy it!  You’ll get FIVE (5) extra entries to win the tote!  Follow this link to enter.

The other giveaway is a Dancing Flowers tea pot from Numi Tea.  If you’ve never tried flowering tea make sure you enter this giveaway. I had always wanted to give it a try and was really very excited when we brewed our first pot.  It’s tasty not to mention a great table centerpiece and conversation piece.  You have 5 days left to get your name in.  Follow this link to enter.

Starting tomorrow I will have three days of NEW giveaways.  What a great way to wrap up this month right?  I’m planning ahead as we get September under way for some posts about freezing and preserving food(s) and meals and I’m sure my Morocco trip is going to bring back a lot of inspiration and ideas for new foods and recipes.

Meal Ideas for Tomorrow:

Suhoor:  I’ve been eating muffins every morning lately.  Not sure what it is but they just taste good early in the morning.

Iftar:  Give my recipe for Beef Briouats a try.  You can even make them today and freeze for use in tomorrow.

  • ½ lb ground beef mixed with ½ lb ground veal (can use 1 lb of either ground beef or ground veal as well)
  •  1 medium onion, finely chopped
  •  1 teaspoon paprika, cumin, white pepper
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •  Large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves chopped as fine as possible
  •  2 eggs, beaten
  •  1 package filo or eggroll wrappers
  •  1 egg yolk, lightly beaten (for sealing briouats)
  •  vegetable oil (for frying)


Combine the ground meat, onion and spices.  Place in a large frying pan and cook on medium heat, breaking up the meat as you go.  Continue this until the meat is browned and cooked through.  Mix in the flat-leaf parsley and the eggs, keeping the heat on low just until the liquid is absorbed.  Set the filling aside and allow to cool.

Open the package of filo or wrappers and place with the points facing towards you. Place 1-2 tsp of filling in the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold upwards. Fold in the edges and continue wrapping to form a cylinder. Just as you would for an eggroll. Close the edges with egg wash.

Continue until all wrappers or filling has been used up.  Briouats can be baked at 375F until crispy or fried.  If not using all at one time, bake for 10-15 minutes; lay flat on a cookie sheet and freeze.  Once frozen they can be placed in a re-sealable container or freezer bag and kept in the freezer until needed.  When ready to use, remove and allow to thaw.  They can be baked or fried.


Dinner:  Beef Brisket is a go to slow cooker meal for me.  Monday’s I’m tired after heading back to work so I try to make things as easy as possible.  My kids down this with plenty of mashed potatoes and fresh corn on the cob in summer.

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A Typical Ramadan Day

Ramadan August 20, 2011 7

I got a message recently asking me if I could share what a day is typically like for us during Ramadan so this post is me making good on my promise to share!  Overall the day is really not that much different from any other day.  Though there are a few exceptions.

That’s 4am not pm.  We wake up early to eat “breakfast”.  This is really hard for me because I am not good at eating early.  During a normal day I wouldn’t have breakfast until 10am at least.  This year I have been very good at getting up, even if it means eating with my eyes closed.

This is our very basic table for the morning meal (suhoor) on one day.  Apparently I had a headache already as there is a big bottle of Advil on the table too.  I try to eat things that will keep me full but most of the time opt for some type of toast, fruit and a little something sweet.  MarocBaba has some potatoes and eggs.  No way I’m getting that down at 4am.

We usually pray the early morning prayer and go back to sleep.  I get up again around 7am to get ready for work and start my day.  Without a lunch break the day goes by a little faster.  I take a break around 1pm to pray again and do a little reading.  By 4pm I’m heading home.  Often after work I try to take a short nap if the kids are cooperative.  With long days of work and fasting I find that I am much more tired than normal.

Even though we’re fasting our kids are not.  This year with Ramadan being during the summer we try to make sure that we are still doing things with the kids.  This can get hard as most activities are outside in the heat.  But it’s important to us that they still enjoy their summer.

Around 7pm I start to prepare our meal for iftar (fast breaking).  I try to vary the menu but staples include chbakiya, dates, lots of water, and a few appetizers and maybe a main dish like a tajine.  This meal happens after 8 but varies depending on the day.  Every day the time moves a little earlier.  When the time comes we dig in!  The kids head to bed after eating and we pray again.

If MarocBaba doesn’t have to work he’ll go to our mosque at night to pray the final prayer of the night and the special Ramadan prayer of tahraweh.  This special prayer incorporates reciting from the Qu’ran into the traditional prayer.  This usually lasts at least an hour and sometimes more.  He usually will come home after 11pm and we will sometimes eat again, usually it’s something small for me but I’ll make him something bigger.  (That is if I’m still awake at this point).

All that’s left is all the dishes to do!!  If I’m really lucky MarocBaba will take care of that after I go to sleep!

So that’s it a typical day.  Not so much different right?

Menu plan for tomorrow:

Suhoor:  One of my favorite Moroccan bread items is beghrir.  This pancake is so tasty in many ways.  My favorite is with nutella and raspberries.  You can make these ahead and freeze.  You can also dip them in honey butter for a tasty treat!

Iftar: I love to do a simple iftar sometimes that includes some great fresh bread and a variety of salads and dips.  Make up several Moroccan salads like zaalook, taktouka and green pepper, add in some hummus and tahina dip with it.  You can add in some fresh olives and fruit dish to the meal too.  Healthy and tasty!

Dinner: Just like with the chicken kabobs you can also make grilled Tuna Kabobs.  I like tuna steak because it’s a thick fish that will hold it’s shape.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or are in season to alternate with the chunked tuna.  Season with olive oil, paprika, cumin and some lemon juice.  Grill.

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