2 min Read

Homemade Harissa

jar of homemade harissa


1 dried ancho, guajillo, or pasilla chile
1 medium red bell pepper*
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts (optional)

*If you choose to use a jarred roasted red bell pepper, omit the ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Season to taste.


Cut off the stem and remove the seeds from the dried chile. Pour 2 cups boiling water into a bowl, add the dried chile, and soak for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, roast the red pepper: Char the pepper whole over a gas burner or under a broiler until the skin is blackened all over. Remove from the heat and place in an airtight container for 10 minutes. Peel and remove the loose skin. Slice off the stem and remove the membranes and seeds.

Toast the caraway seeds on the stove until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain the chile.

In a food processor, place the chile, roasted red pepper, caraway seeds, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed. Season to taste. If you prefer spicy harissa, add the red pepper flakes and pulse again.

For a thicker, spreadable consistency, add the sunflower seeds or pine nuts to the processor and process until smooth.


This will last for a few weeks in the fridge, and you’ll find yourself dolloping it on eggs and slathering it on sandwiches to instantly pep things up.

Excerpted from Love and Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal by Jeanine Donofrio. Copyright © 2019 Jeanine Donofrio. Photographs © 2019 by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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