Feel-good recipes with South African Raisins

Get 2021 off to a good and healthy start by snacking and baking at home with delicious and versatile South African raisins.

South African raisins make the perfect snack, as they only contain natural sugar and are packed with many nutrients, such as fibre, iron, calcium and antioxidants. Because most of the water is extracted from dried fruits, their nutrients are concentrated, giving us that boost of energy. 30g of raisins counts as 1 of your 5-a-day, compared to 80g of fresh fruit.

Raisins are a cost-effective way of eating healthily, due to their long shelf life. They’re also incredibly versatile and can be added to a variety of different recipes. We’ve chosen six feel-good, healthy and creative options that we know you’ll love.

#SouthAfricanRaisins week will be taking place on our social media channels from 22nd – 28th March when food bloggers’ will share their favourite ways to use South African raisins, and we’ll be hosting exciting giveaways.

Being naturally sundried in the Western and Northern Cape regions, with exceptionally high levels of sunshine and water from the Orange and Olifants rivers, creates the world’s highest quality raisins.

Varieties to look out for in supermarkets are:

Thompson – brown to dark brown in colour with a rich and sweet flavour

Golden – light yellow to golden in colour with a soft texture

Flame – dark deep red/black in colour, sweet flavour and a soft, chewy texture

Super-seeded South African Raisin and Almond Energy Balls

This energy-boosting snack is made with blitzed and whole South African raisins mixed with ground and chopped almonds, almond or peanut butter and maple syrup – then rolled in toasted mixed seeds. They’re perfect for an on-the-go pick-me-up – and great for vegans too!

Preparation time: 20 minutes          

Makes 10

150g South African raisins

50g ground almonds

50g whole almonds

4tbsp crunchy or smooth almond or peanut butter

2tbsp maple syrup

30g mixed seeds (e.g. linseed, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, chia)

1  Put 100g of the raisins into a blender or mini processor and blitz until very finely chopped. Tip these into a bowl and add the remaining raisins and ground almonds.

2  Blitz the whole almonds in the blender or food processor until finely chopped. Add to the raisin mixture with the almond or peanut butter and maple syrup. Mix together thoroughly with a fork (or use your hands), then shape and roll the mixture into 10 balls.

3  Put the seeds into a frying pan and dry roast over a medium heat for about 1 minute, shaking the pan often. Tip into a bowl and leave until cooled. Roll the balls in this seed mixture. Keep in a sealed box or bag in the refrigerator and use within a week.

Cook’s tips:

*You could use honey or agave syrup instead of maple syrup.

*Just use one type of seed if you like – such as sesame or chia.

Carrot Cake Muffins with South African Raisins

This simply delicious recipe is based on carrot cake, and it makes eight marvellous muffins – with lots of South African raisins for flavour and natural sweetness. YUM!

Cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles on top

Description automatically generated with medium confidencePreparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes: 8

200g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

100g light muscovado sugar

1 large egg

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp finely grated orange zest

100ml milk

50g butter, melted 

250g carrots, finely grated

70g South African raisins


150g cream cheese

2tsp icing sugar

1tsp finely grated orange zest

8 sugar carrot decorations

1  Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6. Put 8 paper muffin cases into a muffin tin.

2  Put the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar.

3  Beat together the egg, vanilla extract, orange zest, milk and melted butter. Add to the dry ingredients with the grated carrots and raisins and stir until just combined. Avoid over-mixing.

4  Share the mixture between the paper cases. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

5  Mix together the cream cheese, icing sugar and orange zest. Spread onto the muffins, then serve, topped with fine shreds of orange zest and the carrot decorations.

Spiced Orange and South African Raisin Hot Cross Buns

Juicy South African raisins add a fruity sweetness to these delicious Easter buns. Making them is so satisfying – and eating them is even better!

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus approx. 2 hours to rise

A picture containing food, slice, dish, sliced

Description automatically generatedCooking time: 20-25 minutes

Makes 12

500g strong white bread flour

40g butter, plus extra for greasing

1tsp salt

2tsp fast action dried yeast

50g caster sugar

1tsp ground cinnamon

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

150g South African raisins

300ml milk

1 egg

A little vegetable oil

To finish:

80g plain flour

50g caster sugar

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add the salt, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and raisins, stirring them in to mix thoroughly.

2  Heat the milk until lukewarm, then beat in the egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir it through, then draw the dough together with your hand. Transfer to a floured worktop and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Put the dough back into the clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly for just a few moments, then cut into 12 equal pieces and shape into buns.

Spinach, Sweet Potato and South African Raisin Biriyani

This vegan-friendly Indian-style rice dish is bursting with flavours – so good that everyone will enjoy it – vegan, vegetarian or otherwise!

Preparation time: 15 minutes          

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves 4

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 large red onion, sliced into thin wedges

2tbsp olive or vegetable oil

150g basmati rice

1tsp cumin seeds

30g pine nuts

Generous pinch garlic salt (or regular salt)

Freshly ground black pepper

80g South African raisins

400g can green lentils in water, rinsed and drained

2tsp medium curry powder

50g young spinach leaves

To garnish:

4tbsp dairy-free yogurt

Fresh coriander sprigs

Thinly sliced red chilli

1  Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6.

2  Put the sweet potatoes and red onion into a large, deep roasting tin. Add the oil and toss to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potato is just tender.

3  Meanwhile, cook the rice in lightly salted simmering water for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Rinse with cold water and drain well.

4  Add the cumin seeds, pine nuts and garlic salt to the sweet potato mixture. Season with black pepper and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

5  Tip the raisins, cooked rice and lentils into the roasting tin and stir in the curry powder. Add the spinach leaves and stir them through the mixture. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until heated through. Share between 4 serving plates and serve topped with yogurt, coriander sprigs and red chilli.

South African Raisin and Cherry Chocolate Tiffin

This easy no-bake raisin and chocolate refrigerator cake is SO delicious – it’s the perfect energy-boosting treat!

A picture containing food, wooden, sushi

Description automatically generatedPreparation time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time    

Serves 12

100g butter, plus extra for greasing

3tbsp golden syrup

2tbsp cocoa powder

80g South African raisins

50g glace cherries, quartered

200g digestive biscuits, crushed into uneven crumbs


100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

20g South African raisins

20g glace cherries

20g whole almonds, chopped into slivers

1  Use a little butter to grease an 18cm round shallow cake tin (i.e. sandwich tin).

2  Put the butter and syrup into a large saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, taking care that the mixture doesn’t get too hot. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, raisins and cherries. Add the biscuit crumbs and stir very thoroughly until well-mixed. Tip into the prepared tin, press down and level the surface. Chill for 20 minutes.

3  Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl positioned over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Spread over the chilled biscuit base and sprinkle the raisins, cherries and almonds on top. Chill for another 30 minutes before serving.

Cook’s tips:

*Keep covered and chilled and use within 2 weeks.

Festive South African Raisin, Apple and Pomegranate Strudel

This easy-to-make strudel is made with bought filo pastry, filled with a delicious mixture of brandy-soaked South African raisins, ground almonds, thinly sliced apples and pomegranate seeds. It makes a perfect festive dessert!

A picture containing table, food, wooden, meal

Description automatically generated

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus soaking time

Cooking time: 30-35 minutes

Serves: 8

80g South African raisins

1tbsp brandy

Vegetable oil, for greasing

270g pack frozen filo pastry, thawed (7 sheets)

80g butter, melted

2 large eating apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1tbsp lemon juice

80g ground almonds

60g caster sugar

50g pomegranate seeds

To decorate:

Rosemary sprigs (optional)

Icing sugar, for dusting

1  Put the raisins into a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then add the brandy. Stir well and soak for 1-2 hours, or overnight.

2  Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6. Grease a large baking sheet.

3  On a work surface, layer 3 sheets of filo pastry on top of each other, brushing each one with melted butter.

4  Mix together the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, ground almonds, caster sugar and pomegranate seeds. Stir in the soaked raisins, along with any brandy that hasn’t been absorbed. Scatter half evenly over the pastry. Place 2 more filo sheets on top, brushing each one with butter. Scatter the rest of the fruit mixture on top as before. Layer two more sheets of pastry on top, brushing each one with butter.

Find out more http://raisinsa.co.za/