Moroccan Red Harissa Recipe

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Moroccan Red Harissa Recipe

I am very fond of Moroccan cuisine, especially this red harissa sauce. From the flavorful tagines with preserved lemons to the many variations of harissa sauce found in every good Moroccan’s kitchen, the common theme here is: flavor, flavor and more flavor, and that’s what I am all about, capturing the perfection of nature in every bite.

As I was jotting down notes for my Superbowl menu, I was thinking of different sauces to go on the side of those Crispy Wings In a Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce I always make. Chimichurri comes to mind because let’s be honest, we all love it like crazy, on everything not just wings; but we also love an extra spicy hot sauce that’s not Sriracha – because in my book Sriracha is 2000-and-late, and there’s a new sauce sheriff in town: the Moroccan red harissa roasted pepper sauce.

This one is for the heat lovers, spiciness enveloped in smoky flavor, but because you just never know the heat tolerance of every guest, I like to play it safe. I start with sweet roasted bell peppers as a base to which I add some roasted red chile peppers, controlling the heat level as I go, which is going to depend based on the size and type of chile you decide to use. I would suggest blending the sweet roasted bell peppers first, adjust seasonings to your heart’s desire and then little by little add some of the spicy roasted chile. Keep in mind that you can always add more heat but you can’t take it out, and once it’s blended in the sauce the only question remains: can you handle the heat ?!

Ultimately this is more of a guide to finding your perfect balance in a red harissa sauce. I encourage you to experiment with different chiles and even different colors; the red harissa has a pretty distinctive flavor from the green harissa, so play around and find your favorite. I’m a red harissa kind of girl but you might be partial to the green, so try them both before deciding on a favorite. How pretty is that red color tough ?!

Moroccan Red Harissa Recipe

Moroccan Red Harissa Recipe

Moroccan Red Harissa Recipe

Print Recipe
Cook Time:25 minutes
Total Time:25 minutes



  • On a hot cast iron plate roast the peppers on medium flame until charred on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Once the peppers have cooled remove and discard the charred skins and core. You can keep the seeds and skins from the chile peppers if desired for extra heat.
  • Transfer the cleaned peppers to the bowl of a food processor together with the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin and sea salt. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and adjust seasonings with more sea salt and vinegar. Serve next to roasts, steaks, dipping sauce or marinade.
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Moroccan
Servings: 6
Author: Florentina


P.S. these Braised Chicken Legs in Roasted Pepper Sauce <— Lick your fingers clean good !

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  1. Oh wow, thank you Florentina! This recipe is so much healthier than the sodium laden harrisa I buy (and hardly ever use because of it) at the store.

  2. I never really thought about making my own harissa until the store-bought one we prefer that comes in a tube was discontinued. I love your recipe, but have a question: can you give more instruction on the charring the peppers on a cast-iron “plate”? Over high heat on the stove? No added oil? Do you stir them around? I usually char mine in a super-hot oven….

    1. @Barbara it is very easy, and the great thing about making it yourself is that you can control the intensity of the flavors, especially the cumin that can be very strong in the commercial brands, and also the salt.