A singular condiment adds culinary magic to simply roasted vegetables, in this case, transforming basic green beans into a restaurant-worthy side dish. The best part? The dish takes less than 15 minutes start to finish!
When we’re not familiar with a recipe ingredient, let alone know where to look for it in the grocery store, it’s easy to skip over that recipe.
What if I told you, however, that adding harissa paste to your grocery list would reward you with a side dish that is as easy as it is flavorful?
For good measure, I will back that up with a list of other recipes and quick ways to make use of the singular condiment, lest your new purchase go to waste.
But first, this recipe brings back memories of snapping beans as a child and later teaching my own children, who liked to use a plastic knife to cut off the stem ends.
When the beans are really fresh, I like to leave the end with the little tendril. It’s delicate and pretty and adds visual appeal to the dish－and there’s 50% less prep involved! I always do remove the stem end, which isn’t so pleasant to chew.
The following recipe is a variation my blistered green bean recipe, which is barebones and centered on technique. With both recipes, the process is quick, easy, and incredibly tasty, as it concentrates the flavor while coaxing out the vegetable’s natural sweetness.
The texture is lovely, too, as the beans soften yet retain an element of firmness as a good bit of the moisture cooks out. In other words, no mushy green beans!
Accordingly, you may absolutely use the following method without adding the harissa. However, the simple addition will add a complexity that makes ordinary green beans seem gourmet. (My family actually goes back for seconds of this vegetable!)
Leftover harissa roasted green beans are delicious as is or mixed into various salad bowls. I generally warm them but snack on them cold, too.
It may seem strange, but I love dipping the leftover beans into hummus. I was recently thinking that a simple rice, couscous, or quinoa bowl including these beans and hummus as the “dressing” would be a filling, well rounded, and delicious light meal.
A handful of halved cherry tomatoes would add vibrant color, and chopped cucumber, black olives, and almonds or walnuts would complement nicely, too. In addition to the hummus, chicken or shrimp would provide an additional filling source of protein.
I mentioned in my recipe for Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower (with that scrumptious Tahini-Harissa Sauce!) that the spice level of harissa varies greatly from brand to brand. Generally speaking, domestic varieties tend to be less spicy, while imported brands (harissa is a staple in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine), tend to deliver more heat.
The jar I most recently purchased was labeled as spicy, although one tablespoon of it used in these green beans did not translate into a dish that anyone at the table deemed “hot.” For those who are specifically looking for a mild harissa, I have used and enjoyed Roland’s harissa, which has a hint of sweetness and a flavor similar to an American chili powder, only in paste form.
Looking for more ideas?
For those who wish to further experiment, adding a can of white beans, like chickpeas (rinsed, drained, and patted dry) to the recipe could be an excellent start of a protein-rich plant-based meal. In that case, I’d add an extra half to full tablespoon of olive oil and harissa－you want enough to lightly coat－and roast them along with the green beans.
You could serve with a cooked grain of choice, stirring a spoonful of harissa into that, too, and adding a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor.
Flavor-wise, shrimp would also be a welcome addition, but I would cook it separately because it will require less time in the oven than the green beans. If experimenting, I would use similar amounts—one tablespoon each olive oil and harissa—for each pound of peeled and deveined shrimp.
Of course, if you try any of these ideas before I do, please report back!
When I use an ingredient that may be new to many, I like to provide multiple ways to enjoy it so nothing goes to waste. To that end, following are several other recipes along with a few quick flavor upgrades. Dare I say harissa may become a repeat grocery purchase!
What are some other recipes that use harissa paste?
- Slow Roasted Harissa Salmon
- Roasted Mediterranean Cauliflower
- Grilled Apricot Shrimp with Harissa Aioli
A few other ways to enjoy harissa paste that don’t require a recipe:
- In burgers: stir a spoonful of harissa into the ground beef or turkey before shaping the patties
- And then give the ketchup or mayo you use on those burgers an upgrade by mixing in some harissa
- Add an extra dimension of flavor to hummus by stirring in some harissa paste
- Use harissa as a spice rub for chicken, pork, lamb, or fish
- Stir some of the paste into scramble eggs
- Make a savory yogurt sauce by adding harissa and a squeeze of lemon juice to plain Greek yogurt (I like whole milk yogurt for this)
- Use harissa paste as a simple pasta sauce with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Stir into soups that feature root and winter vegetables like carrot or butternut squash
- Experiment with a variety of roasted vegetables, from carrots to broccoli, following the framework of green bean recipe below and adjusting for various cooking times
- Stir harissa into cooked rice, couscous, or another grain of choice
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/