Harissa Paste

Harissa paste is a spicy chile condiment flavored with varying ingredients. It’s easy to make, and pairs perfectly with potatoes, hummus, pasta, & more!

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homemade harissa paste in mortar and pestle next to dried chiles

Happy Friday! Any big plans for the weekend? I didn’t start my work week until Wednesday so this week kind of feels like cheating…did I really earn weekend already? I could get use to this 3 day week thing! As for my weekend? The only thing I have planned to to make some homemade ravioli (now if I could only decide on ONE filling option…).

Continuing with my New Years resolution to eat less processed food, I decided to make my own harissa paste instead of heading to the specialty market to pick up a bottle of it. I needed some harissa paste because I received a beautiful┬áTagine for Christmas and have been cooking in it non-stop. It’s such an easy, delicious, and ridiculously healthy way to whip up a batch full of hearty veggies drenched in flavorful Middle Eastern or African spices.

What is Harissa?

So what exactly is harissa paste? Essentially, it’s a condiment made out of chiles that will have varying ingredients depending on location. It’s been known to be used in African, Moroccan, and several other Middle Eastern countries.

Harissa Ingredients

This harissa paste recipe requires minimal ingredients. Here’s all you’ll need to make homemade harissa paste:

  • Dried chiles (I used New Mexico)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Olive oil

Can I Use Fresh Chiles Instead?

This recipe can also be made with fresh chiles (just omit the soaking process). I am eager to grow some in my garden this summer so we can experiment more!

How to Make Harissa Paste

  1. Let the chiles soak in a bowl of water until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the chiles to a small food processor, along with the garlic, salt, and spices. Blend until smooth.
  3. Drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
dried chiles in bowl of water next to discarded seeds

How to Store Harissa Paste

Put in a sealable jar and top with a thin layer of olive oil. This should help it keep for up to a month.

My Favorite Harissa Uses

I added a few teaspoons of it to a butternut squash, raisin, and shallots combination I made the other day and it was delightful. I plan to use the leftover paste as a condiment on sandwiches (adding a little bit of honey bring the spice level down without compromising the wonderful flavor).

I’ve also heard of people dipping fresh bread into it or adding it to cooked couscous.

You could also stir the homemade harissa paste into hummus or aioli to make a unique dipping sauce. I bet it’d also pair nicely with roasted vegetables (potatoes especially)!

Want More Sauce Recipes?

Harissa Paste
Prep Time
5 mins
Soaking Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

Harissa paste is a spicy chile condiment flavored with varying ingredients. It's easy to make, and pairs perfectly with potatoes, hummus, pasta, & more!

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: African
Keyword: harissa
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 dried chiles , deseeded (I used New Mexico)
  • 2 garlic cloves , peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for storing
Instructions
  1. Let the chiles soak in a bowl of water for 1 hour, or until they soften back up.

  2. Drain the chilies and then transfer to a mortar and pestle (or a small food processor).

  3. Pound them with the garlic and salt until a thick paste forms.

  4. Add in the cumin and coriander and use the olive oil to thin out the paste.

Recipe Notes

To store: put in a sealable jar and top with a thin layer of olive oil. This should help it keep for up to 1 month.

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