Bright and bold, hot harissa vinaigrette is a versatile dressing combining the spicy, smoky flavors of harissa paste, sweet honey, and a tangy vinaigrette base.
This unique fusion offers a fiery kick balanced by sweetness and zesty acidity, making it perfect for drizzling over our copycat Cava bowl, a salad, or grilled meats.
I will guide you through how to make this 5-ingredient harissa vinaigrette in less than 5 minutes using simple kitchen tools. Learn the proper ratio of a vinaigrette and instantly create flavorful meals with just a drizzle.
Elevate your meals with this adventurous condiment. Get ready to dazzle your guests and your taste buds.
Why We Love Hot Harissa Vinaigrette
This recipe was inspired by the hot harissa vinaigrette at Cava, a fast-casual restaurant serving fresh Mediterranean bowls, salads, and pitas.
This Cava copycat vinaigrette is divine on our Harissa Honey Chicken Bowl and made to be enjoyed for a fraction of the price Cava charges.
- Quick: Whip up this 5-ingredient vinaigrette in less than 5 minutes.
- Tasty: This sweet and spicy vinaigrette adds a bright, tangy pop of flavor to a variety of dishes.
- Adventure: In our kitchen, we love experimenting with new flavors and exploring different cultures through food.
What is Harissa?
Harissa is a chili paste made from a blend of roasted hot peppers, garlic, cumin, and coriander.
Harissa is a vibrant and bold North African seasoning that originated in Tunisia and is often called Tunisia's national condiment. Harissa offers a fiery kick coupled with a hint of smokiness which gives it a rich and earthy depth of flavor.
Harissa paste is a popular seasoning in Tunisia and used as a condiment, marinade, or flavor enhancer for many dishes including meats, vegetables, and grains.
You can find harissa powder and harissa paste in most grocery stores.
What can be a harissa substitute?
Keep in mind harissa is one of the main ingredients of this recipe and substituting it will change the flavor profile. But if you can't find it, a good harissa paste substitute can be siracha, chili oil, gochujang, chipotle peppers in adobo, red pepper flakes, or cayenne powder.
Harissa seasoning, or harissa powder, is the dried version of harissa paste. If you substitute harissa power, only use 2 tablespoons instead of the full recommended amount in the recipe card. Note: this recipe has not been tested with harissa powder.
Harissa Vinaigrette Ingredients
This simple, spicy vinaigrette is made with a handful of ingredients. Exact measurements can be found in the recipe card.
- Olive oil
- Harissa paste
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice - freshly squeezed lemon juice is best when making a vinaigrette
How to Make Hot Harissa Vinaigrette
Making this easy vinaigrette takes less than 5 minutes and is sure to add bold flavor to any meal. We love adding this harissa dressing to a salad or grain bowl or a condiment for chicken.
Step 1: In a bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined. Alternatively, you can add ingredients to a mason jar, seal the lid, and shake until combined.
We prefer to use a mason jar when making dressings and vinaigrettes because it doubles as the perfect place to store leftovers. We also love this convenient salad dressing shaker. Less cleanup is always a bonus.
Harissa dressing is made from a base of harissa paste and olive oil. It is then blended with an acid such as lemon juice, a sweetener such as honey, and salt.
A basic vinaigrette is a mixture of an oil and a vinegar, often seasoned with salt, pepper, and other optional flavorings. While there's no strict rule for the exact ratio, a rule of thumb is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
A vinaigrette is a specific type of dressing. The terms can be used interchangeably. The distinction between the two is that a vinaigrette is always a mixture of oil and vinegar while a dressing can be a mixture of oil and vinegar or cream-based (mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, etc.)
To properly store a homemade vinaigrette and ensure its freshness and flavor store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
If the oil solidifies in the cold temperature, let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes. Natural separation of the ingredients may occur, simply shake the container to recombine.
If you notice any off smells, flavors, or signs of spoilage, discard the harissa vinaigrette.
Hungry for More?
If you try this recipe or any recipe from Happy Honey Kitchen, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Enjoy!
Hot Harissa Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup harissa paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined. Alternatively, you can add ingredients to a mason jar, seal the lid, and shake until combined.