Have you heard of harissa yet? People are saying that it is gearing up to be the next Sriracha, but what is it? A staple in North African cuisine, harissa is a spicy, bright red paste made from roasted red peppers, chilis, cumin, coriander, garlic, and olive oil. If you’re looking for harissa, check the aisle for international cuisine in your grocery store — you can typically find it packaged in a tube, but it also comes in a can or a jar. Like all other spice blends and pastes, you can make your own Harissa at home and experiment with levels of spiciness by adding more or fewer hot peppers. You can also try adding different herbs and spices – mint, saffron, and caraway are all popular additions. Just like Sriracha has become a catch-all condiment, harissa is considered a staple in Tunisia and other North African countries, where it is used in soups, stews, and to flavor couscous.
It’s easy to incorporate harissa into everyday recipes; this Moroccan Chili is fragrant and spicy while this Moroccan Potato Salad With Corn and Kale uses harissa paste to make a warm, spicy dressing. Once you’ve found (or made) harissa, it’s time to put it to use — try it in these 15 recipes!
1. Spiced Chickpeas With Harissa and Tamarind
These Spiced Chickpeas With Harissa and Tamarind are a heady melody of savory and subtle tartness. The tangy, sweetly sour tamarind, nutty chickpeas and spicy harissa meld well together and it’s even better after a day or two. Make a big batch so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week. It’s wonderful for quick weeknight meals, especially perfect over quinoa and peas, or rice or with some pita bread.
2. Harissa Lentil Quinoa Meatballs
This recipe for Harissa Lentil Quinoa Meatballs is a keeper! Hearty, spicy, smoky veggie meatballs with a ton of high-quality plant protein. Each bite of these has a rich variety of flavor, from spicy harissa to nutty tahini. Use these to make a hearty sub, to top a bowl of spaghetti, or add some depth to a salad.
3. Crispy Cornmeal Crusted Eggplant With Smoky Harissa
Eggplants, tomatoes, and a smoky red sauce — these Crispy Cornmeal Crusted Eggplant With Smoky Harissa are like nachos without the chips, if you will. The crispy eggplant tastes deep-fried, yet they’re baked. They are incredibly soft on the inside with little salty crunches of cornmeal on the outside. The flavors of this harissa tomato sauce works wonders with this yummy snack.
4. Roasted Spiced Cauliflower and Harissa Chickpea Salad
This one-bowl Roasted Spiced Cauliflower and Harissa Chickpea Salad is just the thing you need when you’re craving something hearty and healthy. The great thing about this recipe is that it takes so little time to make — so go ahead, make a big batch, and enjoy!
5. Roasted Red Pepper Almond and Harissa Dip
Need a last minute appetizer to serve to company? This Roasted Red Pepper Almond and Harissa Dip infused with Egyptian flavors is quick and simple to make, but it’s bursting with flavor. Red bell peppers and almonds are puréed with caraway seeds, cumin, coriander, and chili flakes to make it spicy. Serve it with crackers and crisp veggies.
6. Mini Brown Rice Lentil Burgers With Harissa
If you’re craving a hearty and well-seasoned vegan burger, this recipe for Mini Brown Rice Lentil Burgers With Harissa is the one for you! Made with brown rice and lentils, this is a protein-rich patty that you can rest assured will not fall apart. Topped with spicy Harissa sauce, this burger has some serious Moroccan flair.
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7. Smoky Harissa Vegetable Tart
This crispy Smoky Harissa Vegetable Tart is the perfect way to use up your fresh produce in a quick and easy dinner. It’s topped with tomato, zucchini, asparagus, bell pepper, and crunchy pine nuts with the addition of harissa, a North African paste. Harissa brings a smoky, woody depth of flavor along with a subtle hint of heat.
8. Harissa Flatbread With Olives and Jalapeño
Having a major pizza craving but want something a little more unique than the typical pie? If so, you need this Harissa Flatbread With Olives and Jalapeño in your life! Made with a slightly spicy Harissa sauce, tangy tomato paste, black olives, and jalapeño, there is a ton of flavor in each bite. And don’t worry if you’ve had less than stellar success with pizza pies in the past, the oval shape of this bread is infinitely easier to make.
9. Moroccan Potato Lentil Tacos With Harissa
The lentil base in these hearty Moroccan Potato Lentil Tacos With Harissa contains savory onion, stewed tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. A pinch of sugar adds a touch of sweetness while harissa brings the spice factor. These unique tacos will be your new favorite tortilla-wrapped dish!
10. Harissa Sweet Potato Fries With BBQ Sauce
Healthy fries are the best fries. In this recipe for Harissa Sweet Potato Fries With BBQ Sauce, sweet potatoes are cut into wedges, baked until delightfully crispy, and then tossed in a zesty mixture of tomato and Harissa. Sweet, spicy, and oh so very good.
11. Stewed Great Northern Beans With Harissa
Spicy African flavor boosts the flavors of these humble Stewed Great Northern Beans With Harissa, adding warmth and a spicy and aromatic kick. Make a big batch, and if you have some pre-cooked rice (or quinoa) on hand, toss it with the beans (if you have any left over) for dinner or lunch another day.
12. Roasted Veggie Moroccan Tagine
What’s not to love about perfectly roasted veggies, delicious rich tomato, and harissa gravy in the theater of the tagine? This Roasted Veggie Moroccan Tagine was inspired by traditional flavors and ingredients of Morocco, but it is super easy to make at home, with or without a tagine.
13. Harissa Tahini Romaine Wraps and Salad
Perhaps the real star of these Harissa Tahini Romaine Wraps and Salad is the harissa. Have you used this spicy condiment yet? Traditionally it is used to marinate meats and vegetables, but it is fantastic in sauces as well. This dish is super duper easy to make! It stays fresh for about 3 days in the fridge, so don’t be afraid to make a large batch. Feel free to serve it in romaine leaves or with chopped romaine. Really depends on whether you feel like using a fork or not.
Shakshuka is one of those breakfast recipes that has steadily gained popularity in the last couple of years, but anyone who’s enjoyed a North African or Middle Eastern breakfast will be familiar with its rich and tangy flavors. Typically topped with eggs, this Shakshuka substitutes them for seasoned silken tofu, giving you a genuine, egg-free shakshuka experience. This is an easy one-pan meal best served with bread that’s perfect for soaking up all the flavorful tomato sauce.
15. Moroccan Chickpea Bake
This Moroccan Chickpea Bake combines the flavors of Moroccan cuisine in a whole new way. The three layers are inspired by three classics — tagine, hummus, and falafel. Together, they create something modern and unique. This comforting dish is a fantastic way to spice up your weeknight meal rotation.
Will harissa become a staple in your pantry? We’d love to hear what you think — tell us in the comments!
Lead image source: Spiced Chickpeas With Harissa and Tamarind