Southwestern Harissa Recipe

by Pamela

harissa recipe, harissa paste, easy harissa recipe, dried peppers

This harissa recipe, traditionally a North African condiment, gets a Southwest update using traditional spices but with Southwestern peppers like hatch and chipotle and a touch of smoke. This sure ain’t your mama’s harissa paste!

I’m beginning to think this whole Texas thing is starting to take over my brain. I bought a pair of cowboy boots (see below), I’m starting to talk funny and I’m looking to sneak chile peppers into just about anything and everything. What’s wrong with me?

Pretty Cowboy Boots

Yes, my friends and family are laughing at me and YES I’m beginning to get a little bit worried about where the beach girl in me has gone. Then again, I’m also worried when the thermometer around here is going to hit 100 and global warming. So I suppose I should just calm down a bit.

Back to the harissa recipe….I’ve been seeing this Moroccan paste showing up on more and more restaurant menus and reading about it, almost incessantly, in articles online. While I really do like the traditional harissa recipe, this fiery little condiment is perfect for changing up with your favorite flavors (of heat that is). Don’t have dried hatch chiles? Use dried guajillo or pasilla if that’s what you’ve got. Don’t like roasted red bell peppers? Leave ’em out and use more dried peppers that you want.

Easy Harissa Recipe

One of the really great things about this harissa paste recipe is that you just toss everything into your food processor, give it a good blitz and you’re done. You can keep it in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks and use it in, and on, all kinds of things.

I’ve got a couple of recipes coming up for you that use this harissa paste in an appetizer and another one that uses it in a main course. In the meantime, you can spoon this onto hamburgers or hot dogs. Mix it with some cream cheese and serve it as a dip. Rub it on a steak and toss it on the grill or maybe stir it into some not so great tasting takeout chili to make it taste better. Nothing but options with this stuff.

Southwestern Harissa Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This harissa recipe, traditionally a North African paste, gets a Southwest update with traditional spices and Southwestern peppers like hatch and chipotle.
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: North African
Serves: 1
  • 2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 3 Dried Hatch Chiles
  • ½ Teaspoon Coriander Seeds
  • ¾ Teaspoon Caraway Seeds
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • ¼ Teaspoon Dried Mint
  • 6 Cloves Roasted Garlic
  • 3 Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
  2. While oven is heating, wash the peppers and cut them into quarters. Remove the stems and seeds and lay peppers out on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle the peppers with olive oil then make sure they are well coated with the oil.
  4. Pop them into the oven for 30 minutes or until they are good and soft.
  5. Remove them from the oven when they're done.
  6. Heat 2 cups of water to just about boiling. While the water is heating, remove the stem and seeds from the hatch chiles. Tear the chiles into pieces if you like.
  7. Once the water is hot, drop the hatch chiles into it and let them steep for 20 minutes.
  8. Add the coriander, caraway and cumin to a small skillet and heat over high heat. Keep the pan moving and toast the seeds until you see them start to turn brown and smell a nutty aroma. Remove them from the heat.
  9. Now the fun part....
  10. Toss the bell peppers, hatch chile pieces (none of the soaking water), toasted seeds, dried mint, roasted garlic and the chipotle chiles into the bowl of your food processor.
  11. Attach the lid and buzz away. You want everything to be well blended and smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. If the paste is too thick, you can add a little bit of the hatch chile soaking water to thin it out.
  12. Now just scrape your harissa paste into a container and you're ready to spice things up!
This makes a bit more than 1 cup of harissa paste.


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John@Kitchen Riffs April 9, 2014 at 9:35 am

I make harissa all the time, but never southwestern style. Love the idea! Love this — thanks.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I can see you wearing these boots – and you look very good indeed.

I have made harissa before but I like the southwestern idea. I look forward to seeing how you used this.

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