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Spicy Harissa Dressing for Salads & Veggies

Harissa dressing is a super easy and flavorful way to dress up just about any salad.

low angle shot of a mason jar with harissa dressing in it. There is a silver spoon in the jar.

This simple harissa dressing is packed with flavor. It is delicious on a salad of mixed greens. The spiciness also nicely complements sweet vegetables like beets or carrots, or bitter ones like kale or brussels sprouts.

What ingredients do you need to make harissa dressing?

This is a simple vinaigrette dressing and only requires a short list of ingredients.

  • Red or white wine vinegar
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Dijon mustard
  • Harissa paste
  • Olive oil

What is harissa paste?

Harissa paste is spicy chile paste that is common to North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. You’ll find it in the culinary traditions of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya.

Every region (and every family) has its own version of harissa paste. What they all have in common is a base of hot red chile peppers and other flavorful ingredients including caraway seeds, coriander, garlic, paprika, and sometimes rose petals.

In North African cuisine, harissa paste flavors sauces, dips, spreads, stews, and soups. It is also often used as the base of marinades for meat or fish.

Mix a dollop of harissa paste with olive oil and use it as dip for fresh bread.

Where do you buy harissa paste?

You can make it at home using this easy recipe for harissa paste!

Harissa sauce or harissa paste comes in tubes, jars, or cans. You’ll find it in the International aisle in many supermarkets, in Middle Eastern markets, or you can buy harissa paste online. There are many good brands.

I really like Trader Joe’s harissa paste! (by the way, this is a link to the TJ’s paste on Amazon. I don’t recommend buying it there if you can get it from TJ’s but you can see what the jar looks like and the ingredients).

What should I put this harissa vinaigrette on?

This vinaigrette is delicious on any green salad or mixed vegetable salad.

It is also the perfect thing to spice up this Moroccan Beet Salad.

Or toss it with these Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts.

It would also make a great dip for Homemade Pita Bread or steamed artichokes.

low angle shot of a mason jar with harissa dressing in it. There is a silver spoon in the jar.

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Yield: Makes about 12 fish cakes

Thai Fish Cakes

low angle shot of fish cakes on a plate with dipping sauce and limes in the background

These easy Thai Fish Cakes are loaded with the flavors of lemongrass, cilantro, and hot chilies. This recipe uses Thai curry paste, which provides layers of flavor without requiring a ton of ingredients.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 pound white fish fillet, cut into several pieces
  • ¼ cup cilantro, plus additional for serving
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons red or green curry paste (see note)
  • 1 egg white
  • 4 makrut lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Chinese long beans (or sub green beans)
  • ½ cup cooking oil (or enough to fill your skillet about ½-inch deep)
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. In a food processor, combine the fish, curry paste, egg white, fish sauce, and sugar and pulse until the mixture forms a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and pulse until it is well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the sliced beans.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, until it shimmers.
  3. Form the fish mixture into balls a little larger than golf balls and then flatten them into ½-inch-thick patties.
  4. Add the patties to the skillet, 3 or 4 at a time. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until deep golden brown. Transfer the cooked patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all of the patties have been formed and fried.
  5. Serve hot with lime wedges, cilantro, and Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce, if desired.


1. You can use just about any white fish for this recipe. I’ve made it with both cod and catfish. Other options would be haddock, pollock, grouper, or snapper.

2. You can use either red or green Thai curry paste in this recipe, though red is more common. I love green curry paste, though, and think it works just as well in these fish cakes. I tested this recipe using Mae Ploy red curry paste and Mae Ploy green curry paste. One tablespoon of the red was plenty, while I found the green (which is less spicy) required 2 tablespoons to really pop the flavor.

3. Whichever type of curry paste you choose, be careful how much you use. The spice level can vary widely between brands, so start with a smaller amount if you are not used to very spicy food. I usually use Mae Ploy curry pastes, which are very spicy. If I use more than 1 or 2 tablespoons, it is too spicy for my family. Thai Kitchen brand is easy to find in supermarkets, and it is much milder. I would use at least 3 tablespoons of it.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 320Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 71mgSodium 729mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 21g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

Yield: 1/2 cup

Harissa Dressing

Harissa Dressing

This spicy vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for leafy green salads, beet salads, or roasted or sauteed veggies like Brussels sprouts or kale.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar (red or white)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • ¼ cup olive oil


    In a jar or bowl, whisk together the vinegar, cumin,
    coriander, salt, pepper, mustard, harissa paste, and olive oil.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 70Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 112mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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