The quickest, simplest homemade harissa you can make is here! Just to refresh, harissa is a Tunisian chili paste used across North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. I fell in love with it when we traveled through Tunisia and Morocco. A few of those trips felt like a lifetime ago, but the memories of the food in the riads and markets will forever stay with me. North African food has legit soul. I try to bring soul to my food as well, which is more easily accomplished when I've got some good harissa paste on hand.
This recipe has a little sweet, a little tart, some spice, and a good bit of smoke. One of my favorite go-to condiments, I reach for harissa when I need a quick hit of flavor in dishes ranging from salads to soups. Check out this lineup of Whole Nourishment recipes that feature harissa. The ravioli dish pictured above is another way I like to incorporate harissa. The recipe comes from Heidi's first cookbook I featured in the video, Shop Your Bookshelf. Lucky for you, I found the recipe online as well!
Over the years, it's been hit-or-miss to find an A+ store bought harissa. The product sold in tubes does not deliver on flavor. It's all spice and not nice. Instead, look for harissa sold in small glass jars with the ingredient list containing spices and vinegar. Sometimes I find a good one. Other times these jars taste like the inferior and stale refined oil listed in the ingredients. Not to mention the jars are tiny and don't last me very long.
If you've had a similar experience, or you're just looking to add a new high-flavor condiment to your weekly rotation (I know some of you get a lot of use out of the Sauce section on the blog), this homemade harissa is your answer. I hope you love it and it brings as much depth and soul to your food as it does to ours.
Notes: Adjust smokiness, tartness, and spice to your liking. Adjustments also may need to be made depending on how sweet your peppers are. Recipe calls for jarred piquillo peppers….because Spain. :-) But jarred red bell peppers work as well. Just be sure to measure by the weight called for rather than count of peppers. Piquillos are about half the size as bell peppers. And even if you used piquillos, measure by weight. The count per jar may range, due to variability in size. (Same goes for sundried tomatoes).
- 185 gr. (net weight) jar roasted piquillo peppers (~16 piquillos)
- 155 gr. (net weight) jar sundried tomatoes (~12 tomatoes)
- 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 - 1 1/2 red chilies, roughly chopped
- Heaped 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Scant 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- Add everything to a food processor and blend until just about smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.