Spicy Carrot Puree with Harissa

Used a scant quarter teaspoon at a time, the oh-so-spicy-hot harissa comes in a five-ounce can that could serve, should it last so long, as a lifetime supply. Harissa is HOT-HOT-HOT. (What is harissa? It's a spicy pepper paste used in Middle Eastern cuisine.)

The first teaspoon or so was used in a rub for four fresh whole snapper, adding both depth and heat. This great carrot puree used another whole quarter teaspoon!

The puree makes for a great make-ahead appetizer that travels easily and tastes great with toasted mini pitas sprinkled with an adobo spice mix. It needs to sit for the flavors to meld: I'd recommend 24 hours.

Just slice Trader Joe's mini whole wheat pitas in half, arrange rough-side up on a baking sheet, mist lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with spices. I've used pimenton, Spike, a Penzeys 'garden salad' blend, Africa adobo, whatever smells good, they're ALL good. Bake until just crisp, about 5 - 10 minutes, at 350. Each half is only 10 calories -- yay!]

NEXT TIME ... The inspiring reciped called for cooking carrot chunks til soft, then mashing. Next time I'd grate the carrots and then flash cook. This would both speed up the cooking time and eliminate the need for mashing.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... For other appetizers and drinks using vegetables, see here in the Recipe Box.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes over about 45 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes about 1.5 cups

Generously salted water to cover
1 pound carrots (peeled and cut into chunks or grated)

1 tablespoon olive oil (reduced from 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon harissa (reduced from 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook til soft. Drain and mash til soft. Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Per 2 Tablespoons: 26 Cal (40% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 0 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 4 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb 3; 13 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 26 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1/2 point

Adapted from a recipe from Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean by Ana Sortun

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Yum! I have started using harissa in a tube instead of a can--much easier to keep in the fridge. You can find it on amazon or likely at your local specialty foods store.

  2. Spooky...I just came home from my local middle east market with a can of harissa...and some carrots from the farmstand! How did you know????!

  3. I'll have to give harissa a whirl...looks interesting :)

  4. Erin ~ great packaging, I'll keep my eye out. I know that a tube's become my favorite dispenser for mustard, tomato paste, anchovy paste and maybe now harissa!

    Lydia ~ Doo-doo Doo-doo Doo-doo ~ we may be channeling!

    Jeff ~ Susan from Fatfree Vegan posted something in the last day or so that also featured harissa though I noted she was more liberal with the quantity!

  5. This looks wonderful! What a great use for carrots, and I love spicy middle-eastern flavors, though have not made or bought harissa as of yet. Will have to!

  6. This looks great! I will definitely try this -love harissa!

  7. I also love Harissa ! Since I have started making Melissa's Makhouda from time to time I have a tube in my fridge. Love the idea to use it with carrots ! Thank you.

  8. I love the idea of cumin with the carrots.

  9. This looks great! Talk about a healthy and delicious thing to put on crackers or something. And the color makes it a great dish to serve as an appetizer.

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  10. Excellent! I've had a tube of harissa kicking around my fridge for a while now... bought it because I couldn't leave the store without it and now know what to do with it. Thanks!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna