What is Harissa?

This could be your most loved condiment!

This post comes from our blog intern, Emily.

Harissa may very well be your Sriracha, ketchup, or hot sauce replacement.

Very recently (as in a week ago) I found my new favorite food item… or spice blend? I don’t even really know what call it because it can be used for so many different things. It’s a paste, but it’s also a sauce… and the options are endless! I think I’ve gone a little Harissa crazy.

Harissa, is a traditional Tunisian chili pepper paste. Usually made with roasted red peppers; smoked chili peppers; lemon; garlic; spices like cumin, mint, and coriander; sometimes stewed tomatoes, and salt. It’s aromatic, tangy, garlicky, and incredibly flavorful. You can add Harissa to liven up any dish! It’s mild in spice yet it lends more flavor to your dish than spice. You can make your own, or find it at most grocery stores by the condiments or in the global foods aisle. Sometimes in a tube as a thick paste, sometimes it’s in a jar, and sometimes it can be found in a can. It’s also made in a powder form, which I have yet to try!


I’ve enjoyed it almost every day since I picked some up at Whole Foods. There’s definitely more ways to eat it than not to. Here’s how I’ve tried it:

As a dip. With bread, crackers, potatoes, vegetables, anything dip-able. It’s a heavenly bread tip: take a spoonful of harissa and drizzle a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over it. Add some salt and pepper, then dip away. Just try stopping yourself…

With eggs. Any way. Mix harissa in before you cook some scrambled eggs or top your eggs with some. I made a piece of sourdough toast, spread a generous amount of harissa on the toast, diced some red onion, topped it with two over-easy eggs, and some micro greens. It was deeee-lish!

Marinate meat, fish, or vegetables in it.

Add it to soups and stews.

Blend it in with hummus.

Add to pizza.

Use in a salad dressing

Top any dish with a dollop.

Use with salsa/as a salsa.


Here’s a recipe for a bright and beautiful salad using Harissa!

Harissa Roasted Carrot Salad with a Yogurt Mint Sauce

Ingredients for the carrots:
8-12 fresh, stem-on, rainbow carrots
4 tbs of Harissa
2 tbs of olive oil or coconut oil
1 tbs cumin powder
1 tbs coriander powder
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp mustard seed
Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the salad:
Greens of your choice (I did baby kale)
Cabbage, chopped
Sunflower greens

Ingredients for the sauce:
1/2 cup organic greek yogurt
Juice of half of a lemon
2-3 tbs chopped fresh mint
1 tsp of Harissa
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse carrots and trim ends. Mix all spices, oil, and harissa in a bowl. Place carrots in a baking pan, I used a 9×13 glass casserole dish.
Drizzle harissa mixture all over carrots and toss to coat evenly. Salt and pepper them then place in the oven.

Cook the carrots for 20-30 minutes, tossing  every 10 minutes to keep them evenly coated. You can broil them for 5 minutes when they are almost done to make them a little crispy!

While the carrots are cooking prepare the yogurt sauce. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle on top of the carrots and greens just before serving.



+Have you used Harissa? If so, let me know how you like to enjoy it in the comments below!

Follow Emily on Instagram and Tumblr.

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4 years ago

I guest blog for a spice company called Teeny Tiny Spice who makes a PHENOMINAL hand ground, completely organic Harissa spice so I use it ALLLL the time! Check their Harissa out here: http://www.teenytinyspice.com/organic-harissa/

My favorite recipe with it is probably their Harissa Roasted Tomatoes with Mint: http://www.teenytinyspicerecipes.com/harissa-roasted-tomatoes-with-mint/

Pat Schwab
4 years ago

Hi, I am wondering if this is hot? It sounds delicious but I can’t eat really hot things like salsa.