Harissa Paste Recipe

Spicy and tangy homemade harissa paste – created to a vegan recipe using birds-eye chillies, roasted red peppers and smoky flavours. 

If you’re into a bit of spice, then harissa paste is surely the way to go for you! This homemade harissa paste recipe is super easy to follow and surely packs a punch! Made with a base of chillies and roasted red peppers, it holds a lot of tangy and smoky flavours and it’s a delicious addition to hummus, falafels or fantastic as an ingredient for cooking and roasting. This tasty and spicy harissa paste recipe is inspired by traditional harissa recipes, but I like to point out that this is not an authentic recipe itself – it uses a different type of chili compared to traditional harissa recipes. I have found that this recipe results in a delicious paste and also that dried birds-eye chillies were the ones easiest accessible in UK supermarkets (I got mine from Tesco!).

This paste is delicious alongside falafels, as part of a wrap, marinade, stirred into hummus or also as part of an ingredient used in a recipe (especially with spicy roasted veg!) and I hope you enjoy it just as much!

What you’ll need

Harissa Paste Ingredients

  • dried birds-eye chillies:  these are not the type of chillies used in traditional, authentic harissa, however, I’ve found that dried bird-eye chillies are more accessible in UK supermarkets and therefore tried out this recipe with this chilli type and it turned out delicious (hence why you’re reading this now! :))
  • large red bell peppers: if you like your harissa with a sweet aroma, you can use sweet red peppers
  • garlic cloves: feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to your personal preference
  • toasted caraway seeds
  • tomato paste
  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • smoked paprika powder
  • sea salt
  • fresh lemon juice


  • food processor or blender
  • oven & lined baking tray

How to make Harissa Paste

Grilling the peppers

To create this delicious homemade harissa paste, let’s start by roasting the red peppers! If you have a gas oven, you can easily grill them over an open flame (whilst being careful of course!). You want to get the skin of the peppers burnt and blackened, so it easily peels off and gives your harissa a wonderful smoky flavour. Alternatively you can grill your peppers under the grill of your oven (or broiler if you’re in the US!). Simply heat to about 220C, place your peppers underneath on an oven-proof dish or tray and turn every couple of minutes until your peppers are all around roasted. 

I’ve even roasted my pepper in my Ninja Grill before (on the grill setting) and this worked a treat and was super quick also! 

Ingredient prep

Whilst your peppers are grilling, briefly toast your caraway seeds in a small, dry pan – this should only take two or three minutes over low/medium heat. Also, place your dried chillies in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water. Set aside to soak for at least 10 minutes.

Blending your harissa paste

Remove the skins from your grilled, blackened peppers – make sure to remove the seeds also – and place them into a food processor alongside the drained, softened chillies, toasted caraway seeds, tomato paste, fresh coriander and seasonings: ground coriander, cumin, smoked paprika powder, salt and lemon juice. 

Serving harissa paste

Harissa paste is great to drizzle and dip – especially if you like a bit of spice! You can serve it alongside falafels & co, simply divine! In addition, harissa is great in a variety of recipes, as part of a marinade and for roasting.

This recipe is:

  • 100% vegan & plant-based
  • gluten-free
  • easy to make
  • spicy
  • full of flavour
  • fresh
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Harissa Paste Recipe

  • Author: romylondonuk
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Paste
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Vegan


Spicy and tangy homemade harissa paste – created to a vegan recipe using birds-eye chillies, roasted red peppers and smoky flavours.


  • 35 dried birds-eye chilies
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp toasted caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. To create the harissa paste, place your red peppers under the grill of your oven and grill until the skin begins to blacken. Remove the peppers from the oven and set them aside to cool down for 10 minutes, then remove the skin and seeds. 
  2. In the meantime, place the dried chilies into boiling water to soften for 10 minutes. Toast your caraway seeds in a small pan on the stove for 2-3 minutes whilst stirring. 
  3. Transfer the peppers, chilies, garlic, caraway seeds, tomato paste, ground coriander, cumin and smoked paprika powder, salt and lemon juice to a small food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are broken down into a smooth sauce. 
  4. Serve alongside falafels or as part of a recipe.

Keywords: harissa, harissa paste, harissa recipe, harissa ingredients

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