Harissa Dip with Red Lentils

This flavour packed dip is SO good and actually pretty easy to make too. Ever since trying harissa for the first time a couple years ago, I've been hooked! I love the spiciness and bold flavour, but if you don't like things super spicy, you can use a mild harissa. Either way, this creamy, squash and lentil dip needs to be on the menu.

harissa dip

Ingredients You'll Need

  • Red lentils
  • Honeynut squash (or use a smaller butternut)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sumac
  • Harissa paste
  • Garlic (1 whole head)
  • Lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

What is Harissa?

Harissa is a blend of hot peppers, oil and various spices. It's a flavor base for curries and stews, as well as a condiment, in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, according to Middle Eastern food expert Paula Wolfert. The ingredients in harissa vary by neighbourhood, country, and ethnicity. The basic recipe calls for hot peppers, garlic, salt and lots of olive oil. Can you see why it's so tasty now?!

Is Harissa Spicy?

It depends! In the past, I purchased a mild harissa paste. It was ok, but not nearly as flavourful as I wanted, this is the brand I used. I think it's good as a base and especially if you don't want any spice. However, you can definitely find spicy brands out there if you want. Because I love the spice, I've found this one and I love it. I will say, it's very spicy! The mild one is also very good and still has a decent amount of heat.

For this harissa dip, feel free to start with a smaller amount and see how it works. Depending on your taste preference, add more.

dipping pita into dip

How to Make this Harissa Dip

This dip couldn't be easier to make! All you need to do is roast your squash and garlic (which can also be prepped ahead of time) until it's nice and browned. Because how good is roasted garlic?

Toss the cubed squash and garlic (wrapped in foil) onto a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned. Let the garlic cool before squeezing it out. Squeezing out garlic may just be one of the most satisfying kitchen experiences, right!

squash and garlic on baking sheet

Add all ingredients to a food processor.

ingredients in food processor

Blend away until very smooth and creamy.

dip smooth in food processor

Transfer to a serving dish when ready to eat and drizzle with more olive oil, garnish with cilantro, flaky salt and toasted pumpkin seeds (if you'd like).

What to Serve with this Red Lentil Harissa Dip?

If serving this to a crowd, I think having more options is best. Here's what works with this dip:

  • Toasted baguette
  • Pita chips
  • Fresh cut veggies like carrots and celery
  • Soft pita
  • Crackers
harissa dip

More Harissa Recipes

If you're looking for more ways to enjoy harissa, check these ones out!

More Appetizer Recipes

Looking for more appetizers, check these ones out!

Ready to make this? Let's get to it!

If you make this Harissa Dip with Red Lentils please share with me, by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment and/or review below. I truly love seeing and hearing form you!

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Harissa Dip with Red Lentils

This flavourful red lentil harissa dip is made with squash and lentils for a fibre packed, healthy snack. Serve it with veggies, crackers or pita and watch it disappear!



  • 1 medium honeynut squash (cubed) (about 1 1/2 cups cubed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on squash
  • 1/4 tsp sumac
  • 1 whole garlic head
  • 1/3 cup red lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp harissa paste (depends on spiciness and your preference)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • pumpkin seeds (toasted), for garnish (optional)
  • cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉. Toss the cubed squash onto a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil, the sumac and a pinch of salt.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut 1/4 to 1/2" from the top of the garlic. Place the garlic in some aluminum foil and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over it. Wrap the foil around the garlic and place on the baking sheet with the squash.
  3. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, toss the squash on the pan and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the squash is cooked through and roasted and the garlic is softened and lightly browned. Set aside to cool before squeezing out the garlic.
  4. Meanwhile, add the lentils to a medium sized pot and fill halfway with water. Cook the lentils until softened, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove, drain the lentils and season with a pinch of salt.
  5. To a food processor, add the lentils, squash, roasted garlic, harissa, and lemon juice. Process on high until smooth and then season with salt (start with 1/4 tsp and add more as needed).
  6. When ready to serve, pour the dip into a serving dish and garnish with seeds and cilantro and flaky salt to taste. You can also drizzle some more extra virgin olive oil over top. Enjoy!


Store in the fridge for up to five days

Harissa paste can vary in terms of spice, so depending on your preference, start with a smaller amount and add more as you wish.

Too spicy: if you added too much harissa and you want to cool it down, try adding some crumbled feta on top if you wish, or even mix a little yogurt into the dip.

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