This Harissa Hummus recipe will have you hooked with its spicy, smoky, and wonderfully aromatic flavor.


Last September during the International Food Blogger’s Conference we had a breakout session discussing the up and coming food trends. Among those? Cultural fusion, cauliflower (“It’s the new kale!”) and harissa.

Harissa is traditionally a blend of hot chili or cayenne peppers (which are often smoked), garlic, olive oil, and middle eastern spices such as cumin, coriander, and  caraway. It sounded right up my alley.

I picked up a jar at my local market, dipped a spoon into in, and gave it a good sample. It’s definitely got a heat level to it, and it’s a bit pungent, it was a flavor that I couldn’t easily relate to anything I’d tried before. The flavors are a bit reminescent of sriracha, but the texture is totally different. Harissa is more like a thick paste, almost similar to a rich chutney. To me, its tangy notes were just begging for it to be swirled into a bowl of my go-to creamy hummus.

I’ve had my go-to hummus recipe for a while now. The usual lineup of ingredients is all there: Chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. What’s different with my recipe are the ratios – I like a good amount of citrus in there. This recipe uses the juice from 2 whole lemons! I don’t, however, love a ton of garlic. You know when you eat something garlicky, and you can still taste it the next morning? No thanks. I’m adding in a good amount, as in, you’ll know it’s there, but it won’t fend off vampires while you sleep.

The prep is simple – Just pop all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. You’ll have this on the table in 5 minutes flat!

harissa hummus

Game plan time: How much harissa to add?

  • I started with 2 teaspoons. It gave a faint flavor, and a tad bit of heat, but I wanted more.
  • 1 tablespoon gave it a great color, and the garlic, chili flavor was more noticeable, but it wasn’t quite there yet.
  • 2 tablespoons was my happy spot. It was just enough to add in more of that heat and let those spices shine through. (I think 3 tablespoons would have been pushing it on the heat level)

The result was a spicy, smoky, and wonderfully aromatic hummus that I couldn’t stop eating. Harissa had me hooked!


Harissa Hummus


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas drained (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 5 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons chickpea liquid or water
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons harissa


  1. Turn on the blender and toss in the garlic through the lid. Process until minced.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe by Chef: Erin