We absolutely love this condiment.  It’s a Tunisian recipe used to enhance stews, rice or couscous dishes. It’s slathered on roasting meats and often seen on tables as a condiment for breads and vegetables. Harissa varies in heat, depending on the peppers used.  In Tunisia the recipe commonly calls for Nabeul peppers ~ similar to Guajillo chilies, which is what I chose for this recipe. Guajillos aren’t extremely hot, but they do provide good heat. If you’d like a milder harissa, you can control the heat by using a chile such as Cascabel (medium) or Chile Ceco del Norte (mild).  Making this recipe a couple of days ahead, just means more fabulous flavor when you’re ready to use it. Consider using this in the traditional methods above or on a wrap, burger, over eggs or omelettes, on roasted vegetables, as a topping for baked sweet or russet potatoes, to enhance lentil dishes or soups or on crostini with green olives.  You can also make white bean or garbanzo bean harissa hummus and serve with fresh vegetables and pita bread. Delicious!! (The link to this recipe is at the bottom of the page for your consideration)


  • 12 dried Guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 T culinary grade rose petals
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/4 C good extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1-1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 T fresh organic mint, chopped
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp organic lemon zest
  • 1 whole roasted red bell pepper
  • 2 Medjool dates (or you can use 1 tsp organic honey)
  • 1/3 C chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 T chile soaking liquid

Put chiles into a medium bowl, cover with boiling water for about 30 minutes. You may need to use a weighted lid on the chilis to keep them submerged. In a small bowl, add rose petals, cover with boiling water for up 10 – up to 30 minutes. In a medium sauce’ or cast iron pan on medium-low heat, add caraway, coriander, cumin and anise and toast for about 8 minutes. Continually check seeds, swirling the pan to move the seeds and avoid burning. Once toasted remove from pan onto plate or bowl, cool and transfer to a grinder. Grind to a fine powder and set aside until you are ready to blend other ingredients.

When peppers are fully rehydrated, transfer to a blender (reserving some of the soaking liquid), add in hydrated rose pedals, olive oil, garlic, paprika, mint, lemon juice and zest, roasted bell pepper, dates, sun-dried tomatoes, rose water, salt, 2 T chili soaking liquid and your spice blend of caraway, coriander, cumin and star anise.  Blend until fully incorporated and smooth. You can add more teaspoons of olive oil or soaking liquid if it appears too thick. It should have a fairly thick consistency much like a chile paste.

To store, spoon harissa into a jar, seal and store for up to one month.


If you prefer to make this without rose pedals and/or rose water, just follow the recipe, omitting these two items. It’s incredible either way!