Wake your salads up with this tangy, not-too-spicy harissa vinaigrette! It takes just a few minutes to shake up and tastes amazing on salads, grain bowls and roasted veggies. 

jar of harissa dressing
Just 5 ingredients and 3 minutes to make this tangy, flavourful harissa vinaigrette!

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I am serious about my salads…which means that I am serious about salad dressings. Like my slurpable sesame ginger dressing or my addictive garlic vinaigrette. Because they’re the magic that transforms a pile of raw vegetables into a symphony of flavours and textures. 

I always make my own salad dressings because they are A) so easy to make and B) a lot less expensive than the fancy salad dressings at the store. Like, how the other day I was staring at this very cute bottle of salad dressing that was $12 for a single cup of sauce.

Nope, not happening.

And you definitely can’t buy this amazing harissa vinaigrette at your local supermarket. Totally worth the 3 minutes it will take to whip up a double batch to have on hand for salads and grain bowls all week long. 

Raid your pantry to make this yummy harissa dressing!

Just 5 simple ingredients – plus salt – and you’ll have a wonderful, flavourful harissa dressing to shake up your salad rut. 

harissa tube with oil and vinegar
5 simple ingredients – oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar and harissa – plus some salt.
  • Harissa Paste: a good harissa paste should be a bit smoky, flavourful and have a nice kick. Always taste your harissa to assess heat/flavour. Because it’s easy to add more…but tougher to tone down a too spicy dressing.
  • Red wine vinegar: red wine vinegar has plenty of acidic tang to wake up whatever you’re drizzling. Out of red wine vinegar? You can absolutely substitute apple cider vinegar.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: hailing from the Mediterranean, heart healthy olive oil is the natural choice for a harissa vinaigrette but you could absolutely use avocado oil in a pinch as it has a neutral flavour and the same good-for-you monounsaturated fats
  • Garlic: as much as I love garlic powder, fresh garlic is a must here…garlic powder won’t offer the same lift! Crush or grate it using a microplane.
  • Sugar: don’t skip the sugar. It’s a tiny amount but it manages to soften the sharp edges of the vinegar while enhancing the flavours of the garlic and harissa. 

FAQ: What is harissa paste?

Harissa is a spice paste blended from chiles, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin. It’s spicy, tangy and a bit smoky. In other words, heaven.

Harissa originated in Tunisia but it is well-loved around the Mediterranean, from North Africa to the Middle East. In larger cities, it’s widely available in supermarkets and Mediterranean specialty markets as well as Trader Joes and Whole Foods. But…if you’re up for a little project, you can make your own harissa.

How to make this tangy, not-too-spicy harissa vinaigrette

It couldn’t be simpler to make this delicious harissa dressing: just add all the ingredients to a mason jar and give it a shake!! 

Tips, Tricks + Suggestions

  • ALWAYS taste your harissa when using a new brand for the first time. There is a huge variation in flavour with different brands. I have bought some that taste like bland tomato paste and some that are so smoking hot that just a dab will do it. 
  • If your dressing is bland because of your harissa, you can pump up the flavour with extra cumin and coriander and some paprika or chile flakes.
  • This dressing will keep well, in an airtight container for up to a week. The olive oil may solidify a bit – it’s normal – just let come to room temperature, shake and enjoy.
  • I created this dressing for my Mediterranean potato salad but it will be delicious on all kinds of salads, including leafy greens and even pasta salad! Try tossing roasted veggies or drizzling over grain bowls.

More flavourful vegan salad dressings

jar of harissa dressing

5 Minute Tangy Harissa Vinaigrette

Wake your salads up with this tangy, not-too-spicy harissa vinaigrette! It takes just a few minutes to shake up and tastes amazing on salads, grain bowls and roasted veggies.
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  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons harissa paste, see tips!
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or micro grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Add the olive oil, vinegar, harissa, garlic, salt, and sugar to a jar and fasten with lid. Shake and serve!
  • Dressing can be stored up to a week in the fridge. It's normal for olive oil to solidify when cold. Just allow to warm to room temperature or run jar under warm tap water.