Vegan Harissa Tofu with Pistachio Couscous

 Harissa tofu! Where have you been all my life? 

My god, this Harissa sauce is addictive. It is so uniquely flavored and incredible, it is hard to describe. Roasted red peppers are the base of this spicy and perfect sauce. Cumin, coriander and caraway make is fragrant and so damn delicious. It goes with tofu like peanut butter goes with jelly. However, this Harissa sauce is so insanely amazing it would be great on anything. Chickpeas would rock, broccoli and cauliflower would be explosive, tempeh would be to die for.

Tofu is the way to go for me though. Now let’s talk about the very good decision to pair this Harissa tofu with pistachio couscous. I honestly can’t think of a better combination. The couscous is just lightly dressed in lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Then tossed with pistachios. The entire meal is so well balanced, I could not stop eating it. 

I just kept walking by and taking a bite and then finding an excuse to walk back by to take another. Then my husband tasted it, and started doing the same until the entire meal was gone. I have no regrets. Also, if you are going to eat a lot of something, just tofu sauteed with a red pepper sauce is a pretty healthy thing to eat a lot of. 

I want to talk a little more about the Harissa sauce. This is in no way completely authentic. I did quite a bit if research and came up with what I thought was the most delicious, easy and closely flavored and had the essential ingredients. I wanted to have ingredients that are easy to find and and reasonably cheap!

I am thrilled with the out come, I could put this Harissa on everything! This meal takes less than 30 minutes, just puree the sauce, saute the tofu and cook the couscous. That is it! I am a huge fan of Israeli couscous, and it only takes like 12 minutes to cook! BOOM! So amazing! 

Vegan Harissa Tofu with Pistachio Couscous
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Spicy and a little sweet, this Harissa tofu is sauteed with a spicy red pepper sauce and served with lemony pistachio couscous. 

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Lauren Hartmann
Harissa Tofu
  • 1 Block Extra firm tofu
  • 1 C. Roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 C. Olive oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Caraway seeds
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Crushed red pepper, depending on how spicy you want it.
  • 1 Tbsp. Agave nectar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • A few pinches of salt
Pistachio Couscous
  • 1 1/3 C. Couscous, I used Israeli Couscous
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1/2 C. Pistachios, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Start by cutting your tofu into cubes. Then lay them on a paper towel, sprinkle with salt and place another paper towel on top. Then something heavy on top and press the tofu while you make the Harissa. 

  2. In a food processor, add the roasted red peppers, garlic,  the 1/4 C. olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, agave and lemon juice. Use either 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes or 1 tsp. depending on how spicy you want it. 

  3. Puree the sauce until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  May take a minute or 2. Taste and add a pinch or two of salt, taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside. 

  4. Now start the couscous, cook according to package instructions(my package had 1 1/3 cups, but just use as much as you have). 

  5. Once the couscous is going, start the tofu. Heat the 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a cast iron or non stick pan on medium high. Add the tofu, and brown the tofu on all sides, it will take a minute or 2 on each side. 

  6. Once the tofu is brown and firm, add about half the harissa sauce to the pan with the tofu. Toss to coat, reduce heat to low. Add a bit more sauce a little at a time until it is as saucy as you want it(you don't have to use all of the sauce). 

  7. Cook another minute or so, just to heat the sauce. Remove from heat. 

  8. Once the couscous is done, add the olive oil, lemon juice, pistachios and a bit of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, add couscous to a bowl and top with tofu! 

Recipe Notes

You can toast the spices first before you make the sauce if you want. Just toast in a dry pan for a minute or so until they become aromatic. 



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  • Reply
    January 1, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I had everything on hand to make the pistachio couscous, and you are right it is delicious. Harissa is a favorite so I’ll be coming back to this to make the whole dish. Thank you!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to make this at home. I love harissa and love finding new recipes that use it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply
      Lauren Hartmann
      January 9, 2018 at 1:42 am

      Yay! I hope you like it!

  • Reply
    Gillian Spitzley
    January 16, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I made this last night and was not disappointed. I have been vegetarian for a long time now and am trying to incorporate more vegan meals into my diet. I roasted garlic and onion with the peppers and added some chipotle peppers for an added kick. The balance was perfect and I’m excited to try some more of your recipes!

    • Reply
      Lauren Hartmann
      January 19, 2018 at 1:05 am

      Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it and your additions to the sauce sound amazing!❤

  • Reply
    Lisa Mills
    January 28, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Going to make this tonight! I am optimistic for once, about cooking with tofu. No matter what I do, it always comes out rather bland, and sometimes soggy. I bought two blocks: one plain, one smoked. Will use both.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    oh my gosh, this is so good! l made it with brown rice bc I’m gluten intolerant and it was a great replacement. I also added roasted cauliflower which was yum. this is definitely a staple in our rotation of meals now! thanks 😁

    • Reply
      Lauren Hartmann
      January 31, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Brown rice and cauliflower sound amazing! You are so welcome!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Do you think the sauce would be ok without the olive oil? Can I substitute with water? I can’t have cooked oils..

    • Reply
      Lauren Hartmann
      September 16, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Totally. I think it would still be great without the oil! Water would probably work, but I like to use veggie broth as an oil replacement just for a little more flavor. Either way should work!

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