Even Saucier – shortcut Harissa, North African Delight

I know I talk a lot about sauces, which of course makes me very saucy.  And here’s proof of the familial sauciness which abounded at the beach!

931297_585369751496232_988105993_n  How come Little Sis is taller than me?  She’s wearing high flip flops….  Yeah – that must be it!


Shoes or no shoes…. and there was a lot of no shoes during our week at the beach, we ate really well.  We didn’t go out to eat.  We took turns cooking and it was so delightful to plan, share and partake of a week of delicious healthy food with my wonderful family.  I wanted to do something special for them (Little Sis made an incredible plant-based, gluten free birthday cake for me- she is so wonderful!!) and so I prepared ahead of time to cut down on prep time.  In so doing, I have discovered a new (to me) spice mix and sauce that promise to dress up many healthy, veggie-heavy meals in the future.

We went North African one night and I want to share the tabil (a spice blend) and the harissa (which I found a great shortcut for – as we are a little short on North African sauce stores in my neck of the woods) that made the dish so special.

Both of these include cumin, one of my favorite spices, and were made to complete a roasted vegetable dish from the June issue of Vegetarian Times.

I found a recipe for harissa on-line and then adapted it because I didn’t have chilis, didn’t have time to soak chilis, and was not so inclined amidst other preparations for a week away from home.

Here is the original from Saad Fayed



10-12 dried red chili peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin

So I’m thinking, chilis and garlic, chilis and garlic….. Hey!  I have chili garlic sauce in the frig!  Mine is Vietnamese, but there are many Asian chili garlic sauces, and I bet they are much easier to find in any neck of the woods – mine came from my neighborhood Kroger.

I ground and combined the spices (you can use already ground if you prefer, but my store did not offer ground caraway seeds) in my coffee grinder.


Then I added 2 Tbsp. of chili garlic sauce, used only 1 Tbsp of olive oil and voila… although some parts of North Africa may object to ‘voila’.


I used the sauce in the roasted vegetable with couscous dish from the June issue of Vegetarian Times, and today I used it in a delicious carrot hummus also from the same issue.  Tonight I will serve the carrot hummus with roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes and cauliflower seasoned with oil and Tabil…..  


So here is the Tabil recipe from Vegetarian Times, June, 2013, p. 44:

1/4 cup coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. garlic powder

Toast all but the garlic powder in a small skillet – swirling constantly for about 3 minutes or until darkened and fragrant (and BOY is it fragrant), then transfer to a bowl, add garlic powder, grind finely and store in an airtight container.

I used the tabil to spice up some of my seed crackers, and can foresee using it in lots of savory dishes.

We’ll probably wrap all of this goodness up in rice tortillas or flatbreads, or mix with rice and some hummus.  Mmmmm.

Anyone out there using Harissa or Tabil?

P.S.  I already miss my Sis who gave me a wonderful pitcher for my birthday plus lovely conversation and memories.  I’ll post the pitcher next time.  Gotta leave you with a cliffhanger, right?

24 responses

    • Thank you Debi and Charly! We really appreciate you hosting such a wonderful party! I wish we could provide MORE pictures of us together… but we’ll definitely be back to your pary.

    • Thanks Christie! I had never used it before and then Little Sis told me it’s kind of hip. Thank goodness one of us is hip! Let us know how it compares with what you bought and thanks so much for the feature!

  1. Very saucy! 🙂 LOL Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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