Homemade Harissa Paste

Harissa is like a spicy North African ketchup. Good on sausage or stirred into soups, harissa is also delicious when tossed with olives for a salty and spicy combination.

This recipe goes with Mixed Olives with Harissa and Preserved Lemons

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups
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  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 to 5 dried red chile peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. 1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a dry cast-iron skillet, and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until seeds become fragrant and just begin to toast. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Grind to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder.
  2. 2. Transfer spice mixture to a food processor or blender. Add garlic, sea salt, and cinnamon, and process to a paste. Add peppers and oil, and pulse several times to make a coarse paste. Store 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.
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