Potato Salad with a Harissa-Style Dressing

Potato Salad with a Harissa-Style Dressing

Potato salads are popular year round. This harissa-style potato salad is one that will especially appeal to spice lovers. If you know you will be dining with fellow spice fiends and family over the holidays, or just want to shake up the potluck or adorn your meals any time of year, then this salad if just the thing. It fills out any number of dinners, and as it is African in origin, it does work particularly well when served as part of an African themed meal.

Harissa is a staple condiment that is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines and certainly a staple ingredient in many pantries around the world. As it is easy to make and keeps in a well-sealed jar for many months, I prefer the homemade versions, such as the one featured here on Lisa's Kitchen. The main features of harissa are hot chilies, fragrant spices, sometimes garlic and bell peppers. Olive oil poured over top of the harissa in a well-sealed jar has a fairly long shelf life.

For this salad, you don't need to have harissa on hand though because you make up just the right amount for the salad. If you do happen to have harissa on hand, you could use that instead of making up your own pepper paste, but I found making it up right away for this salad added a nice refreshing touch with minimal effort.

Harissa Dressed Potatoes

This salad may be prepared ahead of time and left out to serve at room temperature. In fact, letting it sit allows the flavors a chance to blend. If you do use your own harissa, how much you use depends on hot your harissa is. I would suggest about 1/2 tablespoon - you might also want to add a few teaspoons of lime juice to the quantity of pre-made harissa you decide to use.

Potato Salad with a Harissa-Style DressingPotato Salad with a Harissa-Style Dressing
Recipe by
Cuisine: North African
Published on December 17, 2018

Warm fingerling potatoes tossed in a creamy and spicy harissa dressing

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

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  • 1 lb (450 g) fingerling potatoes (assorted colors if available)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon habanero or cayenne powder, or to taste
  • juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • small bunch of scallions, green and white parts, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Scrub the potatoes under cold water. Slice into 1-inch pieces and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork tender but still firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  • To make the harrisa dressing, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the coriander and cumin seeds and cook briefly until they darken a few shades and turn a reddish colour. Turn down the heat slightly, add the red pepper and chilies, and sauté for a few minutes or until the pepper is seared and the skin blistered. Stir in the turmeric and habanero or cayenne powder. Transfer to a blender and add the lime juice. Process into a smooth paste. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  • Add the still warm potatoes to the bowl and add the scallions, mint, cilantro and salt. Toss well to coat. Serve right away or refrigerate to serve later. If you choose to let sit and serve later, it will allow the flavors to blend.

Makes 6 servings

Potato Salad with Harissa Dressing

Other potato salads to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Indian-Style Potato and Pea Salad with Tamarind and Chat Masala
Skillet Potato Salad with Fresh Basil and Cilantro
Herbed Potato and Green Bean Salad with Olives
Creamy Potato Salad with Cashew Dressing and Fresh Basil

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