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“Sushi” Yalanji Bites

No, this isn’t really sushi. Yes, this is just Yalanji. Like the Mahshi Yalanji I shared back during the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday. They’re actually the same ones I made back then. I wanted to dedicate another post for the same recipe, to show how it can serve as both an appetizer and an entrée. Which is why I really don’t think I can ever get bored of Yalanji!

In celebration of World Vegan Day, I wanted to share my favourite childhood recipe with you again. I only started learning more about veganism and the plant-based diet earlier this year. I went for a 30-Day Challenge to follow a Vegan Diet and learn more about it.

One thing I didn’t realize back in February is that there were tons of traditional Vegan Arabic dishes that I enjoyed during my childhood. I just didn’t label them as ‘vegan’. I think it’s the education part of the challenge that inspired me to look deeper into my own culture, to plan my daily food journey. Which is why this made the perfect appetizer on our Friendsgiving Table last month for the Holidays.

Here’s a quick video for how to make the Stuffed Grape Leaves version!

Hope you give this recipe a try. I’m sure you will enjoy it! If you do, I would love to see your recreation and learn how it went. Leave me a comment here and tag me on Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/TikTok @demeals.ca #demeals

Yalanji Bites

Recipe by Waseem HijaziCourse: AppetizersCuisine: Middle Eastern, Vegan, Plantbased


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Stuffing Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Rice – Egyptian/Jasmine

  • 2 Large Tomatoes

  • 1 Bunch Parsley

  • 1/2 Bunch Mint

  • 3 Stalks Green Onion

  • 2 Garlic Cloves

  • Spice Mix
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • 2 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses

  • 2 Lemons – freshly squeezed

  • 1 Tbsp Salt

  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper

  • Plants
  • 4 Large Zucchinis

  • 8 Small Eggplants

  • 2 Potatoes

  • 2 Tomatoes


  • Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak for 30 mins. Drain the rice into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Finely chop the rest of the Stuffing Ingredients. Add them to the rice bowl along with the spice mix. Give it a good stir to combine. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Using a corer, carefully core out the inside of the zucchinis (cut in half) and eggplants – leaving it very close to the skin.
  • Slice the potatoes and tomatoes into thick circles. Place on the bottom of a large pot.
  • Place a strainer in a bowl, and drop the stuffing. Drain most of the liquid out and set aside. Tightly pack the zucchinis and eggplants with the stuffing.
  • Carefully place the stuffed zucchinis and eggplants over the potatoes and tomatoes in the pot. Add the reserved liquid, and top off with water until it reaches the tip of the veggies. Add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.
  • Place a heat-proof plate upside-down over the veggies, holding everything in place. Cover with the lid, and turn down to low heat. Cook for about an hour and a half, until the rice is fully cooked and the veggies are tender – timing will depend on the size of the veggies.
  • Remove from heat, and let cool down. Slice the zucchinis and eggplants into small sushi-like shapes. Best served cold.

    Enjoy your demeal!

Recipe Video

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