Tahini, Lemon, and Harissa Dressing

Nicole Franzen

There are hot sauces, and then there’s harissa. With roots in Morocco and Tunisia, brick-red harissa is aromatic and complex, with rich layers of flavor from chiles (which can be dried, fresh, or a combination), garlic, olive oil, coriander, cumin, and caraway. You can make harissa at home but prepared versions are available in cans, tubes, and jars in the international aisle of well-stocked markets and in Middle Eastern specialty stores. Brands of store-bought harissa vary in spiciness—start with 1 Tbsp and add more if you want a punchier dressing. Bright lemon and earthy tahini are natural matches for harissa.

Serve on:
Romaine
Green leaf lettuce
Spinach
Roasted beets or carrots
Steamed green beans
Roasted broccoli, Broccolini, cauliflower, winter squash, or sweet potatoes
Grilled or roasted onions or eggplant
Grilled or roasted chicken
Grilled meaty white fish
[Ed. note: the recipe for this dressing was originally included in the dish Roasted Carrot, Broccolini, and Chicken Salad with Tahini, Lemon, and Harissa Dressing.]

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp harissa
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 11/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, germ removed, grated or minced to a paste
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions

In the beaker of an immersion blender, combine the olive oil, tahini, harissa, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and water. Purée until the mixture is smooth. Let stand to allow the flavors to meld, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir to recombine just before using.

Extras:
Cucumbers, carrots, grape or cherry tomatoes, celery, radishes, sweet bell peppers, sweet onion, pomegranate arils, fresh cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, toasted nuts (pine nuts or pistachios), chickpeas, Israeli couscous, olives

Yield: 
Make about 1/2 cup [120 ml]

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