Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Trader Joe's Harissa Salsa

"Hey! Stop eating all the kids' Halloween candy!"

That wasn't exactly what Sandy exclaimed while sitting down to watch Game 6 of the World Series, but her eyes, staring at the Reeses' and Butterfingers I had stockpiled on the couch, pretty much said that, with the heavy suggestion to find something else to snack on while trying to relax after a long, stressful day.

So, chips and salsa? That was never part of the trick-or-treat strategic reserves, so fair game. And with a new treat, Trader Joe's Harissa Salsa, in our possession, I could bear the thought of putting down the fun sized kiddie candies for at least a few minutes.

Not familiar with harissa? You're in good company. Neither was I. Kinda like the Korean barbeque sauce I reviewed last week, this is my first go-around. Tunisian and Moroccan inspired? Yes please.

First thing to notice: the aroma. This isn't a typical tomato-based salsa. Instead, the harissa literally reeks of paprika. That's meant as a compliment - because it smells FANTASTIC. It's an authentically deep aroma, a fragrant offering with some layers to it. With a little care, the bell peppers are also detectable, as well as jalapenos, but overwhelmingly, it's the paprika.

And, naturally, the taste carries through on all those premises. The milder elements are more upfront but quickly give way to that heavy, smoky paprika dose. It doesn't fool around or play games, but instead delivers the burn, and not like one I can recall from any other jarred salsa. If you can't stand spicy, stay the heck away...but if heat draws you in, you'll want to stand next to this fire.

The salsa is also smoother than it appears at first - it almost resembles a veggie salsa at first, with lots of pepper chunks - but they're all soft with no bite to them. There's no textural challenge presented by them, which I appreciate.

Sandy and I can't wait to try on more than just tortilla chips. Eggs, chicken, fish....yes to all that. There's a suggestion on the jar to pair with hummus, which would be fantastic. Because of the heat, uniqueness and presumed versatility, it's tough for either one of us to go with a score lower than four.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Harissa Salso: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Sounds good. As a cilantro-hater, appreciate it not appearing in this product.

  2. This is excellent and habit forming. Thanks for sharing with the world!

  3. I'll have to try this. I'm still in mourning after learning they discontinued the chipotle salsa and I'm looking for a new favorite. Sigh.

    1. Nooo! I was hoping it was just out of stock. I have one precious jar left... The chipotle salsa is the best.

  4. Just got this because I love everything Harissa!! It was good with Chips...but had it this morning how I love to eat Harissa... toast topped with eggs and harissa... so good with this!!! Made my heart sing!! Hope they keep it around. Next gonna make eggs in purgatory with it!

  5. Oh well this is a 10 out of 10 for's my absolute fav from TJ and I especially love it with Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Tortilla chips at room temp or slightly warmed over a soft white cheese.

  6. This was my favorite. They have discontinued it at Trader Joe's in Tucson.