Harissa Paste

Harissa is made by blending chilis into a thick paste with aromatic spices, a good quality olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and from there, the optional add-ins are endless. You can add roasted red pepper, roasted carrots or sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs and so on.


  • 1 whole roasted red pepper, seeds removed
  • 4 ounces dried hot red chiles, of your choice (see below)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons Terra Delyssa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more to storing

Notes on Chiles: you can use any dried chiles that you like or have on hand. You can mix and match or just use one single type of chile. Most commonly used (and easy to find) are New Mexico and Guajillo chiles. You can also use Arbol or Cascabel.

Rehydrate/soften the chiles. Pour boiling water over the dried chiles. Allow to soak for 20-30 minutes, until softened.

Toast the spices. While the chiles are soaking, toast the caraway, cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat. Move the spices around often so they don’t burn. Toast until lightly browned and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Grind the spices. With a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (a coffee grinder will work, too) grind the spices into a powder.

Drain the chiles and combine them with the spices, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil (and any other ingredients you are adding) in the pitcher of your high speed blender or food processor.

Make the paste. Blend until all of the ingredients come together in a smooth paste. You may have to add a little more oil or you can also add some of the water used to soak the chiles. Make as thin or as thick as you would like. Give it a taste and adjust your seasonings, if necessary.

Now, proceed to put it on ALL the things! Seriously.

Storage: transfer the paste into an airtight glass jar. Pour a small amount of olive oil over the top to create a thin layer. This paste will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator. You can add an additional layer of oil whenever you use it, this helps to preserve it.