Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa

Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa | Kitchen Confidante | Harissa Sauce in Jar

We are three days into resuming a normal routine. Alarm clocks are back in service. The children have returned to school, and I am slowly getting used to life without them in the house all day. After three weeks together, I found the house eerily quiet on Monday and actually, quite lonely.

It was a wonderful holiday break, and in some ways, I was more productive with the house full. The return to normalcy made me realize that while I do have more time to work without interruptions, it is the daily minutia that wears me out. The lunches to pack, the drives to and from school, the ironing, the homework.

It means a little less time to cook, and the need for dinners that can be created swiftly.

Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa | Kitchen Confidante | Ingredients in Blender Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa | Kitchen Confidante | Red Pepper Flakes Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa | Kitchen Confidante | Cilantro

I was running behind schedule the other night and had one eye on the clock as I took a peek into my refrigerator. Chicken or pork chops were the choices. I decided to go with the center cut pork chops – but really, either one would have done fine, because I realized I could make something flavorful in just about five minutes.

Five minute flavor – for me, the fast track to something delicious means using fresh, bold ingredients, and I was craving a spicy harissa sauce. I didn’t have fire roasted peppers, so I decided to use one of my pantry standards: fire roasted tomatoes.

The fiery tomatoes worked quite well, and it was almost like a When Harissa Met Salsa scenario in my blender. A quick blitz was all it took to make a sauce that greeted my taste buds with the heat I was craving. Before I knew it, the table was set, and we were all home again. The house was full, and loud with non-stop chatter…it was time to sit down to dinner. We had a lot to catch up on.

Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa | Kitchen Confidante Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa | Kitchen Confidante | On Grilled Pork Chop

Print Save

Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa

Yield: About 3 cups.

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 5 min

Total Time: 10 min

Five minute flavor - how does it get better than that? Well, for starters, it's awesome on more than just pork chops. Try it with chicken, lamb, beef, fish, or even eggs. Use it a sauce, or a marinade, or in a braise. The possibilities are endless.


1 15-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
2 1/4 tablespoons red chili flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil


In the bowl of a food processor, chop the fire roasted diced tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, cumin, salt, sugar, and cilantro until it is a smooth paste. With the motor running, add the olive oil and blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Harissa Sauce by One Tribe Gourmet, as featured on Saveur.

Pin It
by Liren Baker on January 10, 2013

31 Responses to “Fire Roasted Tomato Harissa”

  1. Cookin Canuck January 10, 2013 @ 5:16 am (#

    I had the same feeling as you when my kids when back to school…far too quiet and lonely. That being said, it’s nice that they aren’t bickering so much from spending too much time together! This harissa is absolutely gorgeous. I can imagine slathering it on chicken, fish, sandwiches…

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:42 am

      Ah, the bickering! That, I did not miss, that’s for sure :) But I will say, the bickering has subsided since they returned to school (I do think they actually missed each other, too!).

  2. Brian January 10, 2013 @ 6:30 am (#

    I’m sure it’s jarring having them out of the house again. You’ll find your groove eventually.

    Loving this harissa recipe! I was actually planning on making some myself!

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:43 am

      I’m definitely getting my groove back, Brian. You were right :)

  3. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} January 10, 2013 @ 8:01 am (#

    Liren – I LOVE THIS SAUCE! Need to make it very soon. Your cover picture is STUNNING!!! Happy Thursday!!! :-)

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:43 am

      Thank you Lisa!! It definitely is a handy sauce to have, I’ve been using it so much this week.

  4. Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 10, 2013 @ 8:50 am (#

    This sauce looks incredible, Liren! Can’t wait to try this asap – I’m thinking some grilled tri tip is in order :).

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:44 am

      YES. Tri tip or flank steak would be perfect :)

  5. Cristina January 10, 2013 @ 9:22 am (#

    Hi Liren: Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! Love this roasted tomato harissa. I had been drooling over a gift-packaged one I saw in a catalog over the holidays and love that you’ve featured this recipe. Hubbs will love it! :)

    Beautiful images, Liren!

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      Happy New Year to you and yours, Cristina! Thank you, and how perfect, why buy when you can make it yourself!? Hope hubby likes it.

  6. dixya @ food, pleasure, and health January 10, 2013 @ 11:42 am (#

    such a beautiful sauce- i feel like I could eat that by spoonful :)

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      Thanks, Dixya, I already have :)

  7. Belinda @zomppa January 10, 2013 @ 12:21 pm (#

    Ooo – the fire roasted much add the perfect depth.

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      Belinda, it does! I didn’t even miss the bell peppers :)

  8. Annie January 10, 2013 @ 12:59 pm (#

    I plan on trying this tonight. It looks terrific!

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

      I hope you like it, Annie!

  9. Lawyer Loves Lunch January 10, 2013 @ 1:34 pm (#

    Would it be wrong to eat this with tortilla chips? Potato chips? Crackers? Because I don’t think I can wait until the protein cooks so I can drench it with this harissa :)

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 11:53 am

      I love the way you think, Azmina. I’m all for dipping chips in here!

  10. Eileen January 10, 2013 @ 4:02 pm (#

    Homemade harissa–yay! I must try this soon. :)

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 11:54 am

      Hope you do, Eileen, and hope you like it :)

  11. Cassie | Bake Your Day January 10, 2013 @ 5:17 pm (#

    This is stunning, Liren! Glad you had a great holiday!

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

      Thank you, Cassie!!!

  12. Patty January 10, 2013 @ 6:30 pm (#

    Hi Liren!
    This beautiful fiery sauce is drawing me in, I would love to offer this with a grilled piece of meat-wish it would warm up outside so I could venture out to start my grill;-)

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

      I know! I’m starting to get antsy for spring, it will be nice to grill outdoors again. For now, I’m settling for my handy grill pan :)

  13. Suzanne January 10, 2013 @ 8:29 pm (#

    Happy New Year Liren, yum, this sauce looks delicious and perfect for chicken and pork.

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

      Happy New Year, Suzanne!! Thanks, yes, it’s fantastic on pretty much any protein!

  14. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! January 12, 2013 @ 6:57 am (#

    Liren you make everything look so retty and so delicious.

    • liren replied: — January 12th, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

      Aw, Norma, thank you SO much :)

  15. Gina January 17, 2013 @ 8:41 pm (#

    Lonely, I thought it was cause for celebration, lol. Okay, maybe a touch lonely. It was a good excuse to catch up on the backlog of work though. I love this sauce, I think it will be perfect to slather on some bbq. Hope you are having a wonderful week my friend. Looking forward to another chit chat and eating fest soon.

    • liren replied: — January 18th, 2013 @ 8:35 am

      Funny, I thought I would feel the same way, Gina, but I really missed them! Now that it’s been a while, it’s nice to have my productive time, but I will say, it was nice to have our little vacation to bond :) Looking forward to seeing you again soon! xo

  16. Helen October 22, 2014 @ 1:59 am (#

    Hi there……greetings from New Zealand. We love all things spicy, soooooo will definitely be trying this. Having made pork chops for dinner (not something I use that much I have to say) but they were tough as old boots…!!! So could I please ask………how did you cook your pork chops, and how thick were they. Honestly the ones we get here look more like road kill (flat as). Also wondered if buying a boneless loin and cutting thicker ones would be a better way to go. Thank uuuuuuuuuuu

Leave a Comment