Try it Tuesday: Harissa!

If you didn’t know, harissa is the new sriracha. If you’re thinking sri.. what?! Maybe you missed the sriracha (see-rah-jah) bandwagon? No worries. There’s a new spicy sauce on the scene. Harissa.

Harissa Recipe Collage for

Like many “new” things… it’s not really new. Harissa is a complex, spicy hot sauce native to North Africa. Used as a condiment for years, it’s a blend of spices (typically toasted coriander, cumin and caraway), lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and spicy red peppers.

Last year, I did a talk on trends in ethnic cuisine for the Atlanta Foodservice Expo and became intrigued by harissa and the many ways it could be used. Given the opportunity and using traditional recipes as a guide, I made it at home. I shared a recipe for Honey-Harissa Roasted Carrots featuring my version of it in the most recent issue of Food & Nutrition Magazine.

Guanjillo Peppers in Food Processor on

I used a combination of guanjillo, puya and ancho chiles (more on those in a later post). Rehydrating and seeding the peppers took the most time – and it got a lot messy. But once that was done, a quick whirl in the food processor with the other ingredients delivered a rich, fiery condiment that was ready-to-use for a couple weeks.

Harissa Paste Puree

Once you go through the fun process of making your own harissa, you’re gonna have plenty to go around – the recipe makes about 2 cups. It’s good but believe me you don’t want to eat this stuff with a spoon!

Harissa is really just catching on here in the United States but several of my forward thinking blogger buddies are ahead of the trend. Check out their delicious and beautiful recipes below…

Add a little spice to your Sunday brunch with Kara’s Shakshuka with Harissa!

Shakshuka with Harissa from Kara Lydon

Spring may be in the air here in the south but it’s still plenty cool enough outside for this Spicy Harissa Bean Soup from Rachael at Avocado a Day Nutrition.


This Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto from E.A. Stewart, the Spicy RD is another comforting cool weather meal.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pistachio Harissa Pesto

Fill up on a bowl of Harissa Rapini with Black Bean Pasta from Danielle of Food Confidence.


And I can think of many uses for Rachael’s Harissa Tomato Sauce including this one. If you didn’t know… Rachael is the southeast food blogger harissa queen.


And for a spicy snack, try my Harissa Avocado Deviled Eggs. These ain’t no ordinary deviled eggs!

Harissa Deviled Eggs on

Are you hungry for harissa now? I think you already know the conclusion for today’s Try it Tuesday but I’ll give it to you anyway.

Bottom Line: Try it! Make your own or buy a high quality paste. I’m usually a little reluctant to try super spicy foods but in doing my research on recipes for traditional harissa, I was intrigued by it’s complexity. I have to tell you, it doesn’t disappoint.

10 Comments on Try it Tuesday: Harissa!

  1. Deanna Segrave-Daly
    March 10, 2015 at 10:53 AM (4 years ago)
    I made a harissa carrot recipe from Cooking Light last year from the chefs at Vedge (which is the hottest vegan restaurant in the city that omnivores even love :) And I loved it even though I'm like you - I can't do super spicy.) Thanks for the kitchen inspiration with this post! Reply
    • Marisa
      March 10, 2015 at 1:00 PM (4 years ago)
      The sweetness of the carrots helps balance out the heat for the spice shy like you and me. And boy that restaurant sounds like a must visit for me. Thanks, Deanna! Reply
  2. EA Stewart
    March 10, 2015 at 11:29 AM (4 years ago)
    Delicious round-up and info-thanks so much for including my Cauliflower Soup w/ Harissa Pesto-I love that stuff, even more than siracha-the hotter the better for me :-) Reply
    • Marisa
      March 10, 2015 at 1:01 PM (4 years ago)
      Thank you, EA! Reply
  3. Jessica @ Nutritioulicious
    March 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM (4 years ago)
    I def need to experiment with Harissa. I'm still on the sriracha bandwagon but I know my hubby would love the hotness of Harissa too. Great recipes from our blogger friends! Reply
    • Marisa
      March 10, 2015 at 12:54 PM (4 years ago)
      Two different flavors - so there's room for both in my house! I love the complexity of the harissa though. I think you'll love it. Reply
  4. Dietitian Jess
    March 10, 2015 at 12:45 PM (4 years ago)
    Confession: I've never had harissa but I've seen it popping up all over the place! I'm not a super spicy fan though so I'll have to start out small, thanks for sharing your recipe! Reply
    • Marisa
      March 10, 2015 at 12:51 PM (4 years ago)
      The cool thing about making your own is that you get to adjust the heat (no pun intended). I used a milder blend of peppers - so it's spicy but it won't knock your socks off! Reply
  5. Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite
    March 10, 2015 at 7:57 PM (4 years ago)
    I still have not tried harissa! Looks like I need to whip up some of these delicious recipes! Reply
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2015 at 7:03 PM (4 years ago)
      So many great choices, right? Our colleagues are so talented. Reply

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