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Spicy Yogurt Dressing with Harissa

With just seven easy-to-find ingredients, this spicy yogurt dressing with harissa is creamy and tangy and comes together in minutes.

A silver spoon coated in creamy orange dressing over a small glass jar of it on a grey background.

Why you’ll love it

  • Well, it’s spicy (like many of my recipes!) so what’s not to love?
  • It has a deliciously rich flavor.
  • It has a thick silky texture.
  • It takes only three minutes to make.
  • It’s incredibly versatile and can be used on lots of dishes, not just salads.

Serving ideas

This spicy rich goodness is perfect for:

  • Chunky chopped salads.
  • Green salads.
  • Buddha bowls or burrito bowls.
  • Drizzling over grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Tossing with chopped leftover cooked potato for a quick spicy potato salad.
  • Dressing pasta.
  • Dipping potato wedges, raw veggies, spring veggies…
  • Adding with tomatoes, mozzarella, and spinach to a wrap.
  • Drizzling over pizza!

Ingredients and substitutions

Just seven simple ingredients don’t allow for many substitutions but take a look at the picture below to make sure you have the right ones.

Then scroll down below it to see what you can omit or substitute if you’re short on ingredients. Note that although I provide substitutions, it’s always best to follow the recipe as closely as possible.

Labelled ingredients including harissa, olive oil, garlic, honey, lemon juice, salt and Greek yogurt.

Harissa: Don’t substitute this ingredient. I love Dea harissa paste, but you can use whichever brand you prefer, just make sure it’s one you like and one which packs a hit of heat. Dea is quite hot, so if you use a different paste you may need to increase the amount of harissa you use to get it to your preferred level of spiciness. If the paste you buy isn’t very spicy you might want to add some cayenne pepper a quarter teaspoon at a time until you’re happy with the heat.

Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil here, preferably. If you don’t have it you can substitute any other type of olive oil. You can halve the amount if you’re counting calories, just remember it won’t be as rich. I don’t recommend using a different oil as it will throw off the rich taste olive oil brings.

Garlic: Use a nice fat clove and crush it. If you don’t have fresh garlic you can use one teaspoon of garlic paste or a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder.

Honey: You can substitute agave nectar or corn syrup if you don’t have any honey. I don’t recommend using maple syrup as the flavor doesn’t really mesh well here.

Lemon juice: Use fresh juice, not concentrate. If you don’t have lemon juice you can substitute it with lime juice

Salt: Use low or zero sodium salt if you’re watching your sodium levels.

Greek yogurt: Thick full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt helps this dressing have a really creamy mouth feel but you can substitute it with light Greek yogurt or thick natural yogurt if you prefer.

How to make it

A super easy dressing ready in just two steps, as you’ll see below!

  1. Crush the garlic and add all the other ingredients to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk, blend, or shake in a jar until smooth and all the ingredients have combined.
Split image with left half showing oil, yogurt and harissa in a glass bowl, and the right showing it mixed together.

Done! Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. If you’d like it spicier, you can add more harissa paste (I use Dea paste which is quite spicy, if you’re using a different version you may want to add more).

Serve immediately or store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. The oil may separate a bit as it rests, you just need to whisk it again or shake it in a jar before serving to emulsify it again.

The dressing will also thicken the longer it sits so add a little water before whisking if you’d like it thinner.

This recipe makes just over a cup of dressing and is enough for four large salads, perfect for meal prep.

Equipment notes

What you’ll need:

  • A garlic press
  • A small or medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • A small whisk or immersion blender (or a screw-top glass jar to shake the dressing instead).

Expert tips

  • If you make your spicy dressing in a screw-top jar then you’ll have less washing up to do and will be able to store your dressing in the fridge and shake it in the jar if it separates before using.
  • If you don’t have a garlic crusher you can finely chop the clove and then sprinkle the salt on top and use the back of a spoon to work it and mash it to a paste, or use a mortar and pestle, or blend the dressing ingredients instead of whisking them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you freeze this dressing?

No, it freezes well but it does not thaw well unfortunately and separates too much to be combined back together.

Other tasty dressings

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, review, and/or comment below.

Yield: 1 cup (enough for four large salads)

Spicy Yogurt Dressing with Harissa

A silver spoon coated in creamy orange dressing over a small glass jar of it on a grey background.

Whip up this tangy rich creamy spicy dressing with harissa in minutes and drizzle it over everything!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt (5.3oz/150g)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Crush the garlic and add the other ingredients.
  2. Whisk or blend or shake in a screw-top jar until all the ingredients have emulsified and you have a pale orange delicious dressing.
  3. Serve immediately or cover and chill in the fridge for up to five days.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1/4 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 165Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 0mgSodium 383mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 1g

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