Editors' Picks

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa

January 15, 2014

Every week -- often with your help -- Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: A fiery green hot sauce to jump-start your sleepy winter meals. 

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

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With this one recipe, you can tick off all your New Year's resolutions at once. (Unless your resolution was to eat more donuts -- then I can't help you.).

But if you wanted to cook more in season (and not turn orange from all that squash), to DIY more, to eat more leafy greens, to give veganism a go, to add fire and force to your everyday cooking? This is all you need.

You just have to treat mustard greens like they've never been treated before.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

You might be prone to grabbing for their soft frills for salad, whenever you get annoyed by kale's toothy edges. Or wilting them into angry little piles. You appreciate their spunk, but eating a whole bowl can leave you with a cloud of wasabi crawling up the back of your throat.

No wonder a reader poll over at The Kitchn revealed them as one of the vegetables we fear cooking most.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

But maybe we've misunderstood them this whole time. We were thinking greens, when we should have been thinking mustard.

Instead of setting them loose in a salad bowl and willing everything else to keep up, try capturing and channeling their heat, and bottling it -- as mustard green harissa.

More: A better salad, where kale and mustards join forces.


This is a totally new, largely inauthentic idea. (Google has no idea what it is -- yet!) That's because vegetable-forward thinker Bryant Terry invented it for his forthcoming book Afro-Vegan. How?

"I approached the creation of recipes for Afro-Vegan as a collagist -- cutting, pasting, and remixing the ingredients, flavor profiles, and classic dishes of the African continent, Caribbean, and American South," Terry wrote to me.

"Harissa is one of my favorite condiments, and I thought it would be interesting to create a hot pepper paste inspired by it using the Southern staple mustard greens as a foundation." Even though it never existed before now, everything about this makes sense.

Here's how to make it:

This will seem like a lot of ingredients to gather, and a lot of different small tasks to accomplish. It will all pay off in the final pot of harissa, smoky and stinging and bright.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

So measure and chop 15 ingredients. In a world of 5-ingredient Genius Recipes, this is unheard of. (But, listen, a 15-ingredient hot sauce has a lot more possibility.)

Next, blanch your mustards just till they go soft.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

Make garlic oil.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

Toast some coriander and cumin in the same garlicky pan, then grind them up.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52  Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

Chop more things.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

Then blend it all together -- I found a mini-chop worked best.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

Use it anywhere your food could use a little smacking around -- in a dressing for roasted vegetables; spooned into the pot with your grains; in your eggs, your soups, your marinades.

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa from Food52

And yes, just like its namesakes, mustardy harissa does a world of good on a sandwich. (Another resolution: Make more sandwiches.)

Bryant Terry's Mustard Green Harissa

Adapted slightly from Afro-Vegan (Ten Speed Press, 2014)

Yields about 1 cup

1 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup packed chopped mustard greens
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chiles (seeds and ribs removed only if you want it less spicy)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley 
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons water

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]

Photos by James Ransom

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme
    Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme
  • dweiums
  • gastronomic nomad
    gastronomic nomad
  • Julie
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Emma G. January 16, 2014
Love Bryant's work!
dweiums January 15, 2014
Yum. Sparky mustard greens with flaming peppers - can't wait to try this.
gastronomic N. January 15, 2014
Genius! I was about to google a recipe for "green harissa" when this popped into my inbox!
Julie January 15, 2014
Can't wait to try. "Chop more things" made my day.