Honey Harissa Pesto Sauce

Honey Harissa Pesto Sauce

YIELD: Makes 3 1/2 cups (28 fl. oz.)


4 large - red bell peppers (about 2 lbs.)

1 cup (6 oz. wt.) - whole raw almonds

1 T - fresh minced garlic

1/4 cup (2 oz. wt.) - high-quality purchased harissa

1 cup (4 oz. wt.) - grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup (3 oz. wt.) - honey

1/4 cup - olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. - kosher salt


Pre-heat a convection oven to 375° F.

Place peppers on a baking sheet and roast in oven or until just starting to char on the outside, about 15 – 20 minutes. Immediately transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap tightly. Let sit, covered, until cool.

Meanwhile, spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 4 minutes or until golden and lightly toasted. Let cool.

Once peppers are cooled, skin should easily slip off. Remove skin, seeds and stem, and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers; you should have about 1 1/4 lbs. roasted pepper “meat.”

In a food processor, combine in the following order: toasted almonds, garlic, harissa, and chopped peppers. Process for about 1 minute. Then add the parmesan cheese, honey, olive oil, and salt. Process for about another 1 minute until desired texture.

Label, date, and store refrigerated for up to 7 days.


Big flavor comes easy using a purchased harissa. Try it on a pizza, a sandwich, tossed with pasta, or served with cured meats, olives, and flatbread.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Try to purchase a harissa that is more rustic in texture and made with sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Fold into rice à la minute with coarse chopped Italian parsley.
  • Whisk with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a touch of Dijon mustard for a tasty vinaigrette.
  • Stir in additional olive oil for a thinner sauce to drizzle.

This recipe was created by Chef Kathy Casey for the National Honey Board.