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Harissa Baked Salmon – Low Carb Dinner

Harissa Baked Salmon – Low Carb Dinner
Home » Recipes by Ingredients » Fish and Seafood » Harissa Baked Salmon – Low Carb Dinner

Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse, especially for people on a low-carb or ketogenic lifestyle.  It also lends itself wonderfully to low-carb sauces or rubs.  This harissa baked salmon is one of my favorite Pesco Mediterranean recipes and can be a quick 10-minute weeknight dinner or a fancy-schmancy dinner party dish! I made it with some roasted Winter squash that I covered in the harissa sauce as well.

Baked salmon and Winter squash topped with harissa sauce.
Harissa baked salmon with harissa-covered Winter squash.

Jump to: RECIPE | What is Harissa? | Uses for Harissa

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What is Harissa?

Harissa is a wonderful Northwest African sauce or condiment that is used to flavor many different kinds of dishes.  It typically includes a range of chile peppers, cumin, coriander, caraway, and cinnamon and is made into a sauce/paste or used as a powdered spice blend.

Commercial harissa pastes vary quite a bit, some of them being extremely spicy. I tend to go for the milder harissa so I can taste the complexity of all of the spices and different chiles.

Sauces for meat, eggs & vegetables
Harissa Sauce, Chimichurri, & Romesco Sauce

How is Harissa Used in Cooking?

Harissa comes as either a paste or a spice blend. Either way, it can be used as a rub on proteins like the salmon recipe below.

Other popular ways to use harissa include:

  • Stirred into couscous.
  • For a glaze on grilled main dishes. 
  • As a relish or condiment to have on the side with any roasted vegetable or protein.  
  • Stirred into scrambled eggs.
  • Stirred into creamy winter squash dishes.
  • Stirred into hummus.

Using Harissa as a Glaze for Salmon

Mixing up harissa paste with mayonnaise and a little lemon juice for the salmon recipe below turned the harissa paste into more of a creamy sauce.  So easy and so delicious. This recipe for baked salmon and harissa sauce received raves from dinner guests!

You can easily make your own homemade harissa sauce . Just use the freshest ingredients you can find and toast the spices for a high-quality harissa. Of course, you can also purchase a mild harissa sauce if you prefer.

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Harissa Glazed Salmon

Baked salmon and Winter squash topped with harissa sauce.
This healthy salmon dish is glazed with a low carb or keto sauce made up of mayonaise and harissa paste. Harissa is a complex chile paste featuring spices of caraway, cumin and coriander.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 304


  • 1 9” x 13” baking dish


  • 16 ounces salmon or 1 large salmon cut into 4 oz fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste either homemade harissa paste or store-bought
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 x 12-inch baking dish with oil or something like PAM. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper and arrange salmon in baking dish.
    16 ounces salmon, salt and pepper to taste
  • In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, harissa paste, and smoked paprika, stirring until smooth. Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the fish as evenly as possible.
    1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1-2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon harissa paste, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Place the lemon slices around the salmon and bake in the preheated oven until the fish is hot and has begun to turn opaque (about 6 min).
    1 lemon
  • Remove from the oven, turn the oven on broil, and raise the oven rack to the broil position. When up to broil temperature return the salmon to the broiler rack and broil until nicely browned, about 3 min.
  • Enjoy the Harissa Glazed Salmon with roasted Winter squash and a side of harissa sauce to spread on the squash if desired. Refrigerate any leftover for tomorrow's lunch!



** Harissa varies quite a bit from brand to brand in its heat level.  The one I used is a medium heat level harissa sauce.  And if you want to make your own harissa sauce, this DIY recipe for harissa can help.
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Calories: 304kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 23gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 220mgPotassium: 627mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 335IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
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