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Salmon topped with harissa sauce

Low Sugar Harissa Sauce (or Paste)

Harissa is a North African paste made with peppers and spices. It ranges in the degree of spicy heat, depending on where you purchase it. This DIY recipe is considered medium to hot. It is not extremely hot in order that you can taste the complexity of the ingredient blend.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Moroccan
Keyword chile paste, harissa, Moroccan sauce
Meat & Poultry vegetable
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Rehydrating the chiles 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 54kcal
Author dorothy stainbrook


  • 12 dried chile peppers I used a combination of guajillo, pasilla and arbol but you can mix and match
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt


  • De-stem chile peppers and soak dried chile peppers in pot of water that has just been turned off after being brought to a boil. Soak for 20-30 minutes to hydrate.
  • Toast spices 2-3 minutes in small, dry pan over medium heat, until aromatic. Let cool before grinding.
  • Grind spices and salt together in coffee bean grinder to fine grind.
  • Drain peppers, reserving chile water, and add all ingredients to blender or food processor. Process until smooth, thinning with chile water if necessary.


Step by step video for making harissa follows this recipe card (a youtube video)


Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg