Kuku Sabzi (Herb Frittata) with Kale and Cranberry

Symbolizing spring, this herb-laden Persian frittata is typically enjoyed at Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

Kuku Sabzi (Herb Frittata) with Kale and Cranberry

Ellen Silverman

Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
8 servings

The bright color of this kuku sabzi, an herb-laden Persian frittata, symbolizes spring. It’s traditionally prepared for the thirteenth day of Nowruz, called Sizdah Be-dar, which marks the end of the new year celebration. Nasim Alikhani, the chef and owner of Sofreh in New York City, makes this recipe for the Nowruz gatherings she hosts at home. It’s well worth the effort for the delicious, compact, crispy wedges it yields.

Symbolizing spring, this herb-laden Persian egg frittata is typically included in Nowruz spreads alongside Sabzi Polo (herbed rice) and fish, which symbolizes good fortune for the new year. Packed with flavor from the multitude of fresh herbs, this frittata is more of an herb dish bound by eggs. A variety of textures bring additional interest to this dish when you get a pop of tartness from the candied barberries and some crunch from nutty walnuts. Dried barberries can be purchased online at foodsofnations.com.


Candied Barberries

  • 1 cup dried barberries 

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

Kuku Sabzi

  • 1 medium (10-ounce) bunch curly kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 10 cups)

  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (about 4 ounces)

  • 2 medium bunches fresh cilantro, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 10 to 12 scallions, finely chopped (about 1 1 /2 cups)

  • 1 medium bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • 12 large eggs

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided

  • Basil, tarragon, dill, and radishes, for garnish


Make the candied barberries:

  1. Place dried barberries in a medium bowl; add cold water to cover, and soak 20 minutes. Drain, shaking gently, allowing a bit of excess moisture to cling to barberries. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high. Add oil and barberries; reduce heat to medium. Shake skillet, and add 2 tablespoons sugar, gently stirring once to incorporate.  Cook barberries until all the sugar dissolves, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over barberries. Set aside. Stir just before using.

Make the kuku sabzi:

  1. Pulse kale in a food processor until finely chopped but not pureed, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a large bowl. Pulse cranberries in food processor into fine but visible pieces, about 5 pulses. Transfer to bowl with kale. Add cilantro, scallions, parsley, and chopped walnuts to kale mixture in bowl; stir to combine.

  2. Whisk together eggs, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper, if using, in a large bowl until smooth. Add to kale mixture; stir well to combine. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid over medium. Once oil is hot but not smoking, reduce heat to medium-low; pour egg mixture into center of skillet, spreading into an even layer. Increase heat to medium. Cover and cook, undisturbed, 10 minutes. Remove lid, and gently shake skillet to make sure egg mixture doesn’t stick. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, uncovered and without stirring, until edges have darkened and center is set, about 15 minutes.

  3. Remove skillet from heat. Place a large plate or baking sheet over skillet; carefully invert frittata onto plate. Return skillet to heat over medium-low; add remaining 1/4 cup oil. Carefully slide inverted frittata back into skillet, and cook, uncovered, until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Slide onto a plate, darker side up. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Top with candied barberries. Slice and serve with desired garnishes, such as basil, tarragon, dill, and radishes.

Suggested Pairing

Pour a savory, textural orange wine such as Field Recording Skins

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