Tabbouleh with Cranberry Raisins and Sumac

Tabbouleh might be one of my favourite side dishes. It’s all fresh herbs and vibrant colours. I love the complex flavour profile you get from the sweetness of the nutmeg and cranberry raisins and the sour punch of the lemon. As an apprentice, tabbouleh was a great way to learn how to balance flavours and how to season a dish effectively.

Tabbouleh is very often paired with lamb, served in kebabs or souvlaki and is fantastic for cutting through fatty dishes. I love it with charred chicken too.

This particular recipe make a large amount of tabbouleh and is geared towards serving at a party or as an accompaniment to a large cut of lamb or a whole chicken.


 Prep Time 15 mins

  Cook Time N/A

  Serves 3-4



  • 1 small bunch curly parsley
  • 1 small handful fresh mint
  • 3 shallots
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 200g couscous
  • 80g Cranberry or regular raisins
  • 15g (approx.) shaved nutmeg
  • ½ lemon (juice only)
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil



  • Large stainless steel bowl
  • Chopping board



  • Knife
  • Juicer
  • Microplane/Grater


Making the Tabbouleh

  1. First, cook your couscous as per the packet instructions — this is usually as simple as pouring boiling water just above the level of the couscous and waiting until it absorbs it, but it’s always best to check.
  2. Take the curly parsley leaves and give them a thorough wash. Then, using a rocking motion with your knife, shred them until they are very finely chopped. You want to keep chopping until the parsley is very fine.
  3. Quarter the tomatoes, deseed them and then dice them finely. Dice the shallots to approximately match the tomatoes and finely chop the mint.
  4. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and add the cranberry raisins. Shave the nutmeg with a microplane or grater and add it, along with the sumac and salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and place the bowl in the fridge for later.
  5. When you are ready to serve, add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix again before plating.

Wrapping Up

If you want something sharp and delicious to serve alongside a lamb dish, then tabbouleh might just scratch that itch. The wonderful thing about it is that you can mix and match ingredients. I have used cranberry raisins because I think they add that extra bit of sweetness that you don’t get form normal raisins, but you can use any number of dried fruits. Apricots are great and add nice colour and dates can be a nice addition when chopped finely.

If you don’t like couscous you can use freekeh or quinoa instead. Pearl cous cous gives the tabbouleh a completely different texture and can really change this up. You can also add pine nuts for some extra colour and crunch!

Honestly you can do any multitude of things with tabbouleh and that’s what makes it one of my favourite side dishes!

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