Harissa-The Ultimate Condiment of North Africa

I am considered the condiment queen in my household, and my husband laughs at the row upon row of sauces I accumulate in the refrigerator and pantry. I find some condiments so tasty I can eat them out of the jar, like mustard, red pepper jelly, or even plum sauce. There is one condiment I fell in love with not just for its flavor, but versatility, and that is Harissa sauce. Full of complex flavors that sync harmoniously together, like cumin, coriander, mint, garlic, and red pepper, Harissa is enormously popular in the Arab regions of North Africa. mainly Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Libya. All of these countries have their own versions of harissa, and I decided to incorporate a sample of all of their flavors into my own recipe.

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This sauce is traditionally so intense that a little goes a long way, but because I like to use so much of it on my food I made the spice slightly milder. If you like an intense sauce, double the red hot chile, cumin, mint, and coriander in the recipe below. Try this sauce over chicken or fish, roasted potatoes, or even rice dishes. This would also make an awesome Middle Eastern style bruschetta, just spread over toasted baguette slices and serve. Just smelling the red pepper, chile, onion and garlic roasting in your oven will get you and your family excited about this sauce!


1 large red bell pepper

1 small red onion

6 cloves garlic

1-2 red hot chile peppers (depending on your tolerance for heat)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

1/2 – 1 tsp cumin

1/2- 1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp mint

Salt to taste

Handful of cilantro (or parsley if you don’t like cilantro)

For the directions, click on the video below!

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