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6 Incredible Harissa Recipes

Trending spice alert! Harissa is a super-versatile North African condiment made from hot peppers, spices, and more. Try this zingy paste to kick up everything from couscous and potatoes to lamb and veggie recipes.

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Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

Lamb Burger

A refreshing honey-yogurt-harissa sauce is an unexpected addition to this burger recipe, courtesy of Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts of The Tripel in Playa Del Rey, California.

Yogurt Sauce:

1 tbsp harissa
1 tbsp honey

1 qt plain yogurt

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.

2 ea persian cucumbers

½ ea. red onion

2 cups apple cider vinegar

4  tbsp sugar

1  tbsp Salt

Slice cucumbers into thin equal size rounds and thinly slice the onion length wise. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl and add the cucumber and onion mixture.
Hold for one hour before serving.

The Pattie:
10lbs ground lamb

1 tbsp ground cumin
2 oz honey

1 tbsp harissa

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper
Yields 20 patties

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Then measure the mixture in to 8oz portion balls and form into a patty shape. Once your grill is hot, season the lamb patty with salt and black pepper and place on grill.  Cook on each side for four to five minutes. Once cooked through, remove from heat and let rest for three to four minutes. While the burger is resting, toast bun on grill. After toasting, spread a thin layer of the yogurt sauce on the top and bottom pieces of the bun. Place the rested burger on the bottom of the bun. Place the cucumbers on the burger and add the top bun to finish.

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Natalie Paramore

Grilled Flank Steak

Change up a classic meat-and-potatoes meal with this harissa-enhanced flank steak recipe from Chef Mat Clouser of Swift’s Attic in Austin,Texas.

2 pounds flank steak

1 pound new potatoes

1/4 cup whole grain mustard

1 oz chopped parsley

1 oz chopped chives

2 pounds tomatoes

1 ea shallot

1 green apple, diced
1 tsp ea: cumin, coriander, and carraway

1 tbsp sriracha

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 ea lemon

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup plus
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Serves 4-6

For the harissa:
Sweat off the shallot, green apple and tomatoes in olive oil. When tomatoes are falling apart, add toasted ground spices, lemon juice, and sriracha. Puree in blender or food processor until smooth and chill.

For the potatoes:
Par-cook potatoes in salted water and strain; let cool at room temperature and cut the in half.

For the flank steak:
Pre-heat grill to high and season steak with 3 tbsp harissa, and kosher salt. season potatoes with half of the mustard. Grill steak four to six minutes per side, and potatoes until nicely caramelized. While steak and potatoes rest, pan fry lemons in cornstarch dredge, about two to three minutes per side, rest on a rack or paper towels.

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Courtesy of The Partial Ingredients

Roasted Moroccan Sweet Potatoes

This hearty dish from Emily at the blog Partial Ingredients mixes the sweet flavors of honey and cinnamon with a zippy homemade harissa paste.

For the Harissa Paste:
12 Arbol Chilies
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cumin

the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and remove the
stems and seeds. Mince the peppers by hand or grind in a food processor
until smooth.
In a bowl combine the chili pepper paste, garlic, salt, and olive oil.
Add the remaining spices and blend to form a smooth paste.
Makes two to three tablespoons

For the sweet potatoes:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 tbsp Harissa Chili Paste
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
Olive oil, for tossing
squeeze of lemon
Cilantro, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Serves 2

On a baking sheet, toss the sweet potato pieces generously in olive oil.  Spread the harissa paste evenly over the potatoes.
Add the dry spices, honey, and lemon evenly over the potatoes. In a pre-heated 400°F oven, and roast for 50 minutes until fork tender. Turn the potatoes halfway for even cooking. Garnish with cilantro and lemon.

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Courtesy of Jordan Toft

Roasted Lamb Sandwich

Jordan Toft of Los Angeles restaurant Eveleigh
uses harissa aioli to kick up sliced lamb.

Small (boneless) lamb shoulder

6 thyme sprigs

1 head of garlic
4 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Harissa Aioli
1 cup high quality mayonnaise

2 tbsp harissa powder or paste to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt


1 cup greek yogurt

1 persian cucumber, grated and squeezed of excess water
½ clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
¼ tsp ground coriander

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and black pepper

Combine all ingredients and taste for seasoning. Set aside.

For assembly

4 large white rolls for assembly
Young beet greens

Harissa powder

Side of onion rings/fries/chips

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 450°F oven. Rub tied shoulder in olive oil and chopped thyme. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Place lamb in a snug roasting pan on top of cracked garlic. Place in oven.
Turn the temp to 300°F after cooking for 15 minutes, then cook for approximately 1.5 hours. After cooking for 45 minutes, place a small cup of water in the pan to add moisture. While lamb is cooking, whisk mayonnaise with harissa. Season with lemon juice and salt, then taste for desired heat. Set aside.

Remove lamb from oven once it is firm to touch. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest until warm, then slice. Keep warm. Cut each roll horizontally and spread the base generously with aioli, lay over an equally generous portion of sliced lamb and sprinkle with reserved harissa powder and sea salt. Top with greens and a few spoonful’s of tzatziki. Return the top of the bun and serve with your favorite side.

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Courtesy of The Kitchn

Kale, Chickpeas, and Sausage with Oven-Baked Egg

Cooking for one? Try this recipe from the blog The Kitchn as an exotic breakfast or as a rustic dinner (pair it with a salad and some fresh, crusty bread to mop up the yolk).

1/2 large yellow onion, medium chopped

1/2 spicy fresh sausage, about 3 to 4 ounces
1 egg

1/2 bunch dinosaur kale, about 2 oz after stalk is stripped

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained)

1 tbsp olive oil

Harissa and salt, to taste

Serves one, with leftovers ingredients

Preheat oven to 375°F or turn toaster oven onto its toast setting. In a medium-sized frying pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil and a pinch of salt until it softens and is beginning to turn translucent. Add the sausage and continue cooking until the sausage begins to brown. Wash the kale and add to the frying pan. Cook until the kale is wilted and then add the chickpeas and heat through. Stir gently so you don’t mash the chickpeas too much and salt to taste. This will make enough chickpeas for two servings, so scoop one half of the mixture into an oven proof dish. Add the harissa. Crack your egg into a bowl and gently slide it on top of the chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt and slide into the toaster oven. Bake for about 7 minutes, checking at the 5 minute mark, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.

Note: Depending on the kind of toaster oven you have, you may have to place some tinfoil over the top of the dish if the oven’s heating elements are too close to the egg. It was fine to leave it uncovered in my toaster oven. If you are using a regular oven, you may also want to cover the dish in order to trap the heat inside and help the egg to cook.

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Stephanie Kendall

Harissa Claypot

Feel free to sub other veggies for the squash in this tasty meatless meal from Chef Scott Kendall of Napa Valley’s Carpe Diem.


3 oz Harissa spice
3 cups Israeli couscous, dry
1 bunch kale

1 medium sized yellow neck squash

1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 tbsp preserved Lemon juice OR juice and zest of one Meyer lemon

1 lamb tenderloin
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Serves 4-6

Cook couscous in boiling water. Drain and put in large bowl. Add chopped kale, thinly sliced squash, 3/4 of the Harissa, currants, salt, pepper and olive oil, and mix thoroughly.  Fill single serving size clay pots (or single serving size casserole dish) and bake at 450 degrees for approximately 12 minutes or until heated through. Meanwhile, mix yogurt with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside. With the remaining Harissa, rub on lamb and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill lamb until medium rare (approximately 10 minutes) and let rest for several minutes before slicing. Once couscous mixture is hot, remove and top with sliced lamb, lemon yogurt and toasted almonds.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest