Garlicky Harissa

Garlicky Harissa

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This isn’t the thick harissa that resembles a paste. Treat it like your favorite barbecue sauce and smother grilled steak and chicken with it.


  • 8 dried guajillo chiles (about 2 ounces), seeds removed
  • 2 chiles de árbol, seeds removed, or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

Special Equipment

  • A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

Recipe Preparation

  • Place guajillo chiles and chiles de árbol in a large heatproof bowl and pour in boiling water to cover. Let soak until softened, 40–45 minutes; drain.

  • Meanwhile, toast cumin seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, swirling pan often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then finely grind in spice mill or with mortar and pestle.

  • Drain chiles; transfer to a blender and purée, adding hot water by the tablespoonful as needed until smooth. Strain chile mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Mix in ground cumin, garlic, oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and let sit 15 minutes before serving.

  • Do Ahead: Harissa can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Nutritional Content

For 8 servings: Calories (kcal) 270Fat (g) 27Saturated Fat (g) 4Cholesterol (mg) 0Carbohydrates (g) 6Dietary Fiber (g) 2Total Sugars (g) 3Protein (g) 1Sodium (mg) 10Reviews Section

Garlicky harissa and buttermilk roasted chicken drumsticks

who doesn’t love a quick and easy dinner? especially one that is protein rich and fills up your house with the mouthwatering aroma of roasting garlic, harissa and chicken.

pretty sure the only thing that was disappointing about making these drumsticks was the fact that there wasn’t enough for everyone to pack some for lunch tomorrow. lesson learned! won’t be making that mistake again.

throw together your marinade before bed, or in the morning before you leave for work (I promise it won’t take you more than 5 minutes! happy dance! happy dance!) preheat your oven, pat them dry, and bake for a healthy 30 minutes while you throw together a salad and you’ll be patting yourself on the back for a well executed home cooked meal that looks and tastes like it took a whole lot more effort than it actually did.

go you! you weekday dinner warrior, you.

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It's easy to understand why chicken is one of the world's most popular proteins. It is simple to prepare, budget-friendly, can be cooked countless ways and makes incredible leftovers. Television personality Christopher Kimball is joining TODAY to share one of his favorite deliciously easy chicken recipes from his new cookbook "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean: 125 Simple Weeknight Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine." He shows us how to make Sicilian-style roast chicken with fresh herbs and uses the leftovers in a harissa-spiced pasta with green beans.

TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY.

Moroccan Roasted Carrots with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

I happen to have a friend who loves spicy food. When I say spicy I do not necessarily mean hot (although she likes that too) she likes her food full of flavor and bursting with fragrant spices. She has travelled all over the world and always talks about how incredible the food is everywhere she visits. From the pyramids of Egypt to the finest Turkish baths in Istanbul to scenic cliffs and fragrant wines in the Italian countryside…my friend is quite well travelled to say the least. Whenever she comes back she always tells me of the incredible sights she had seen…but most importantly the fabulous food she enjoyed.

This FYI is the same friend who I travelled to Miami with last year and who inspired this incredibly perfect Soy and Lime Spicy Grilled Shrimp.…or as she named them, prawns.

Over Thanksgiving last year, she gave her 11 year old daughter Sophie the gift of travel and took her to Dubai. Sophie had been dying to go there to see the only 7 star hotel in the world and of course the biggest mall in the world. Naturally, it’s exactly what all 11 year old little girls dream of. Upon returning from Dubai, she asked me to pop by her house and cook a quick dinner for the fam as they were famished (what are good chef friends for anyhow)and in return she bribed me with fresh spices from Dubai. As Sophie twirled around me and rattled her tongue off at 300 miles a minute about the mall and the hotels and the Ferrari theme park, I whipped up a simple dinner of all their favorites.

“Sophie, let Mila breath a little bit, let her make dinner and most importantly a coffee for me:) Oh and go grab what we got her out of my suitcase.” Said my friend as Sophie whizzed off to dig through the suitcase. How this kid had so much energy after not sleeping for almost 24 hours is beyond me.

My friend and I continued to chat about Dubai and naturally the food.

“You would have loved it! It is EVERY vegetarian’s dream. I swear I could have probably been a vegetarian there. Could have being the operative word here.” She said.

Before we even had a chance to giggle at my friend’s joke, Sophie ran back in and handed me an adorable stuffed toy camel which clenched a few little packets. The little camel was for the munchkin of course and the packets were for me. Fragrant packets of saffron and za’atar spice to be exact. This is why they are such good friends…they always know what will put a smile on mine and the munchkin’s face.

A few months later, my friend and I had gotten together for a very last minute BBQ. And as she was scrolling through her phone she said, “THIS, this you have to make!” It was a picture of perfectly roasted carrots in a shiny and sticky glaze.

“Milaaaaa make it pleeeeease, put those spices that we got you to good use!” she exclaimed. Naturally I obliged and went to go raid her fridge. She did have carrots…they were a tad sad looking but I figured I could brighten them up.

Very quickly I whipped us up some mango margaritas, grilled chicken and tons of grilled veggies. One of which happened to be these perfect beauties.

The once measly and sad looking carrots were transformed into gloriously caramelized beauties bursting with heat and flavor. I tossed them quickly in honey, olive oil, za’tar spice, cinnamon, cayenne, sumac, red chili flakes and tons of fresh lime. And to mellow out the heat, I spooned a simple garlicky yogurt sauce over them and sprinkled them with sprigs of parsley.

It ended up being the best kind of day. We sipped our margaritas, as we bathed in the warm spring sun. We watched our girls chase after each other with squeals of glee and we laughed at the silly things that would come out of the munchkin’s mouth. This…this is what good friendships are made of.

Want to make this a perfect meal. Serve these luscious carrots with my easy Moroccan chicken and Lemon Couscous.

(Psst, this is so perfect for any dinner party and it is exactly the reason I included in my Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Dinner Menu Plan )

Our 28 Best North African Recipes for Terrific Tagines and Then Some

Todd Coleman

Traditional North African food draws inspiration from the culinary traditions of Europe, Africa, and the Arab Middle East. From the rich tagines of Morocco to the harissa-spiced dishes of Tunisia, the sea-meets-desert cuisine offers of wealth of hearty, comforting, and complex meals worth getting to know.

Harissa is a rich, garlicky chile paste hailing from Tunisia that serves as a base for dishes across North Africa. You can buy prepared versions, but it’s easy to make at home. One of our best stew recipes calls on harissa to amp up earthy lamb and cauliflower.

French colonialism in the region is apparent in its food: take for example the Tunisian sandwich casse-croute tunisien, an obvious example of French cooking, being essentially a classic pan bagnat with the addition of harissa. The influence reverse-migrated way too: today, you can find all manner of North African fare in France, such as couscous royale, the common celebratory dish of fluffy couscous lavished with a hefty mountain of assorted meats.

To help you take a brief tour without leaving your kitchen, we’ve rounded up our favorite North African recipes.

Syrup-Soaked Pastries with Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine Nuts (Deblah)

Syrup-Soaked Pastries with Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine Nuts (Deblah)

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

“There are as many ways to make gumbo in Louisiana as there are cooks,” says chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s restaurant in New Orleans, “but the thing they all have in common is the use of a roux.” Get the recipe for Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo »

Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia)

Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia)

Tunisian Braised Veal With Dried Greens (Tunisian Molokhia)

Tunisian Braised Veal With Dried Greens (Tunisian Molokhia)

Tahini-Beet Dip

Tahini’s nutty, luxurious properties don’t stop at hummus. Keep the sesame paste flowing with this bright red purée of boiled beets, lemon, and garlic. Get the recipe for Tahini-Beet Dip »

Egyptian Flatbread (Aish Baladi)

Similar to pita, but made with whole wheat flour, this Egyptian flatbread is traditionally baked in scorching-hot ovens in Cairo’s bustling markets. Home cooks can achieve similar results with a baking stone and an oven cranked to high.

Carrot-Tahini Dip

Tahini’s nutty, luxurious properties don’t stop at hummus. Keep the sesame paste flowing with this vibrant, creamy carrot purée. Get the recipe for Carrot-Tahini Dip»

Sumac Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

Egyptians love tart flavors like the bracing, floral herb sumac, which is rubbed all over this juicy chicken. Get the recipe for Sumac Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic »

Purslane and Herb Salad

Purslane, a sour-tasting green, forms the backbone of this refreshing herb salad from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy, but watercress can be used in its place. Get the recipe for Purslane and Herb Salad »

Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad

Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad

Veal and Pearl Onion B’stilla (North African Meat Pie)

B’stilla, a North African meat pie, is traditionally made with poultry. Cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy’s take includes veal and caramelized pearl onions. When ordering the veal for this recipe, have your butcher remove the bone. Get the recipe »

Israeli Cous Cous with Ras el Hanout, Fennel and Carrot

Ras el hanout, the North African spice blend, along with fresh orange zest and juice, mint, and cilantro, give Israeli cous cous a fresh feel and flavor in this simple weeknight meal. Get the recipe for Israeli Cous Cous with Ras el Hanout, Fennel and Carrot »

Kefta Tagine (Lamb Meatball and Egg Tagine)

Cumin- and paprika-spiced kefta (lamb meatballs), baked eggs, and kalamata olives are the hallmarks of this elegant tagine from the Moroccan restaurant Le Timgad in Paris. Get the recipe for Kefta Tagine (Lamb Meatball and Egg Tagine) »

Moroccan Charmoula

Vibrant, verdant, and refreshing, this Moroccan condiment is an exceptional marinade for most meat and seafood and addictive enough to eat with a spoon. Get the recipe for Moroccan Charmoula »

Moroccan Carrots with Aleppo Pepper and Mint

Moroccan Carrots with Aleppo Pepper and Mint

Morels with Mint, Peas, and Shallot

Morels with Mint, Peas, and Shallot


In North Africa, cooks have long relied on this garlicky chile paste to lend depth to cooked meats and vegetables. Get the recipe for Harissa »

Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Harissa

For this Middle Eastern–spiced stew, cauliflower stems are minced and sautéed in the mirepoix to add flavor, while the florets are broiled and added at the end of cooking to offer crunch and body. Get the recipe for Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Harissa »

Couscous Royale

A plate of fluffy couscous is lavished with meatballs, lamb chops, chicken skewers, merguez sausage, and a saffron-scented chickpea stew in this celebratory dish, a staple at Moroccan restaurants in Paris.

Algerian Crepes (Mahjouba)

Honey-Braised Lamb Shanks (Mrouzia)

Lamb shanks are braised for hours in a sumptuous sauce of honey, almonds, and raisins in this centuries-old Moroccan dish served at the restaurant Mansouria. Get the recipe for Honey-Braised Lamb Shanks »

Fried Almond Pastries (Samsa Feuille de Brick)

Sticky-sweet almond pastries drenched in a syrup of honey and orange flower water are typical of the rustic desserts of Tunisia. Get the recipe for Fried Almond Pastries (Samsa Feuille de Brick) »

Stewed Fava Beans (Ful Medames)

Best known as Egypt’s national dish, ful medames is a hearty stew of warmed fava beans stirred with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, usually eaten for breakfast.

Casse-Croute Tunisien

Casse-Croute Tunisien, a North African take on a French pan bagnat, requires two hands and a big appetite. Get the recipe for Casse-Croute Tunisien »

Moroccan Pasta Salad

The flavors of a richly spiced Moroccan tagine come together in this pasta salad, savory and bright with olive, lemon, and cinnamon. Get the recipe for Moroccan Pasta Salad »

Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines

Fresh or canned sardines can be used in this spicy, crispy Moroccan snack. Eat ’em like french fries. Get the recipe for Charmoula-Stuffed Sardines »

Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B’stilla)

Pigeon is traditionally used to make this slightly sweet, savory Moroccan pie, but chicken thighs, quail, or Cornish game hens make excellent substitutes. Get the recipe for Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B’stilla) »

Moroccan-Style Lamb & Squash Soup with Garlicky Yogurt

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in the harissa and two-thirds of the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until aromatic, about 1 minute.

2. Add the squash, tomatoes, and lentils to the pot. Add the stock and season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and squash are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the remaining garlic. Season with salt.

4. Stir the chickpeas into the soup and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup cilantro. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the garlicky yogurt and more cilantro.

    • Prep Time
    • 10 Minutes
    • Yield
    • 4
    • Difficulty LevelEasy

    We’re making new lima bean fans every day with this Garlicky Lima Bean, Roasted Red Pepper and Harissa Hummus. This is creamy and flavorful hummus with just a hint of garlic. You’ll love the combination of roasted red pepper and a little pop from the Moroccan Harissa.

    Tip: Our favorite Moroccan Harissa comes from Mediterranean Gourmet. You can purchase it on-line here. Also, some large grocery stores carry this product. You can usually find some brand of Harissa in major grocery stores. You can also make your own! Here is a well rated recipe from Allrecipes.

    Spicy Harissa Lentils

    • Quick Glance
    • Quick Glance
    • 25 M
    • 45 M
    • Serves 2

    Ingredients US Metric

    • For the spicy harissa lentils
    • 1 cup red lentils (no soaking required)
    • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons quality store-bought or homemade unsalted vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade harissa paste, plus more to taste
    • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • For the caramelized onions
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 medium onions (10 oz), halved and thinly sliced
    • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • Coarsely ground black pepper
    • 12 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
    • For the garlicky tahini sauce
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
    • 2 to 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Fine sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper


    In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the lentils and broth to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, adding more water if necessary, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. There should be almost no cooking liquid left when the lentils are done.

    Add the olive oil and harissa, stir, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and, if desired, more harissa.

    Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Add the sugar, stir, and cook for 1 minute more.

    Transfer the onions to a medium bowl and wipe out the skillet.

    In the same skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the garlic until golden, 1 1/2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool for 2 minutes.

    Add the tahini and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and whisk until combined.

    Season to taste with salt, pepper, and, if desired, more lemon juice.

    Divvy the lentils among bowls and drizzle with the tahini sauce and a little harissa. Sprinkle with the onions, pepper, and parsley.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    I am singing praises to Leite's Culinaria for providing me with this lentils recipe! I love lentils and finding new ways to prepare them is king. This recipe was slightly labor intensive, as many pans were needed to make this. That doesn't matter, though, as it's worth it.

    It took about 45 minutes to make in total. I used a store-bought harissa and it was labeled "mild." This was the only harissa the store carried. Thus, I would not consider this dish "spicy." Using a spicier harissa would of course yield spicier red lentils.

    I used store-bought vegetable broth. I didn’t need to add more broth but I did add 3 extra minutes to the cooking time to tenderize the lentils a little further and have a little liquid left.

    I think if you were serving this as a meal, it would feed 2 generously. I do think it would accompany a nice grilled meat and for a side dish, 4 servings would be good. This dish could easily be doubled.

    I'm already looking forward to making it again. This was very delicious, very filling, and healthy. It was beautiful, to boot! Loving lentils over here and feeling very proud.

    There are certain cuisines that really are alchemical miracles. Indian, Moroccan, Syrian—so often these are cuisines where the individual components are lackluster (for instance the humble lentil) or even pungent (harissa) and yet when put together in the right proportions they shine brighter than you can imagine. This recipe is a perfect example of that.

    I had chosen to make it, because I couldn't think of anything for dinner and my husband loves anything lentil. But I planned on this being just a plate of beans that I would serve with a veggie and forget about. Apparently I completely underestimated the magic that occurs when the mild-mannered lentil gets to roll around in some harissa and caramelized onions and a drizzle of tahini. Jay (my husband) just kept saying "Happy Birthday to me!!" (not his birthday) while eating dinner.

    I was shocked at how quickly it came together. The onions actually took longer than the lentils! I served it with some sautéed kale and Jay and I ate all of the lentils in one sitting. If we had made an additional side, like some couscous, we could have easily stretched it out for 2 meals. I will definitely make this again.

    I used homemade stock that I had on hand and Mina brand spicy harissa. I used 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and wouldn't have minded a third.

    Happy Harissa Dance! This recipe is headed for heavy rotation. I recently tested the Speedy Ravioli Lasagna when I was short on time, but this dish falls equally into the "speedy" category.

    I used red lentils from my local supplier, Sahadi's. This should not stop anyone from making this delicious and weeknight-friendly meal.

    I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. When making it again, I will use an extra 1 teaspoon to brighten the richness of this dish.

    harissa lentils recipe is just the kind of thing you’d want to eat on a chilly night. And it’s so easy you can absolutely pull it off on a weeknight. Wonderful delicious layers to savor such that a small bowl will satisfy you more than you think. Tender lentils adorned with garlic-y tahini and lovely sweet onions and energized by harissa (there’s a great recipe for homemade harissa on this site if you’re so inclined make ahead if you have 30 minutes on another day).

    My red lentils cooked in 12 minutes (I like them pretty soft), the same amount of time to make the caramelized onions.

    Oh, one more thing— double, even triple, the recipe so you can enjoy it the following day.


    #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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