Harissa Shrimp with Black Rice

Harissa Shrimp with Black Rice is an easy and delicious combination of flavor, texture and color and ready in less than 30-minutes! Tender seasoned shrimp nestled in a sweet bed of black rice with a hints of coconut milk and pineapple. 

Harissa Shrimp and black rice in decorative bowl.

You’ll love the “sweet ‘n spicy” flavor profile of this Harissa shrimp and rice dish and you can make it as mild or spicy as you like!

Why this recipe works

The flavor combination of spicy Harissa paste with sweet coconut and pineapple gives a nice contrast to this Tunisian/ Moroccan recipe. A quick bake of the marinated shrimp results in flavorful and firm shrimp.

This recipe is similar to Harissa chicken recipes, however, when you use shrimp, you greatly reduce the cook time and I think that’s a good idea! 

  • Ready in 30-minutes from start to finish!
  • Gluten-free, low-fat, low-cholesterol and relatively low carb!
  • Quick and Easy – marinade then bake the shrimp; serve over black rice; ready in minutes! In this recipe since shrimp is the main ingredient, I recommend using fresh shrimp.
  • Use fresh or frozen shrimp
  • Great flavor – perfect complementary flavors : the harissa mixture pairs beautifully with the sweet pineapple/coconut infused black rice
  • Make it as mild or spicy as your taste buds prefer!

Use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. If you use fresh, peel and devein them first.

If you use frozen shrimp, rinse them with cold water and allow them to thaw before marinating in the Harissa sauce.

What you’ll need

Fresh shrimp or frozen shrimp. (You can substitute the shrimp with chicken if you prefer…scroll down to “substitutions” or read the notes in the recipe card below.)

I use large or extra large shrimp, but you can use smaller shrimp as well.

For the marinade ingredients, you’ll need Harissa sauce, a little bit of oil, fresh lime juice (or fresh lemon juice)

For the rice you’ll need black rice, canned diced pineapple, unsweetened coconut milk, and a little salt and black pepper to taste. If you don’t have or want to use black, or “forbidden” rice you can substitute with a flavorful Basmati rice or plain white or brown rice.

Ingredients for harissa shrimp labeled on counter

How to make Harissa Shrimp with Black Rice

This North African recipe takes only a few minutes of prep.

Peel and devein the shrimp, pat with paper towels and set aside. Drain the diced pineapple and reserve the juice; set aside

In a medium mixing bowl, combine Harissa sauce, oil, fresh lime (or lemon) juice and salt ( you can also pour the harissa mixture into a plastic storage or ziploc bag) 

Add prepped shrimp to the Harissa marinade; coat the shrimp well, then refrigerate while you make the black rice.

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add the reserved pineapple juice and a cup of coconut milk; bring to boil, then add the black rice; boil for 2 minutes, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After the rice has cooked for about 15 minutes preheat the oven to 350° degrees F

Pour marinated shrimp onto an oven -safe baking dish or on a sheet pan in a single layer; place dish on middle rack uncovered and bake 8-10 minutes; flip the shrimp halfway through the cooking process

Plate rice, top with Harissa shrimp and garnish with remaining diced pineapple. Garnish with chopped green onions (optional), a little bit of lemon zest or fresh lime zest (optional) and serve.

This easy Harissa shrimp recipe has incredible flavor with a little spice kick!


What is Harissa?

Harissa, pronounced “ha-ree’-sa,” is a chili pepper paste and is the most prominent condiment in North African cuisine and middle eastern cooking. It has somewhat of a complex flavor.

This red Moroccan condiment has a paste-like texture and consists of a spice blend of ground red chili peppers, oil, garlic and seasonings such as coriander seeds, ground cumin and caraway seeds. It’s a popular african flavor you’ll find in many North African recipes.

Where is Harissa in the grocery store?

You may find Harissa chili paste on the International aisle, near the Indian foods and chili sauces, or perhaps in the condiment section. I’m sure homemade Harissa is delicious, but I don’t have time to make my own paste!

I’ve found there are several different brands available at the store. The one I like is Mina Brand, made by Casablanca Foods. Other popular brands are Cava Harissa and Trader Joe’s Harissa.

It comes in spicy and mild versions; however, this recipe uses the mild Mina Harissa, but I have used the spicy before, too!
If some people in your family can’t tolerate a lot of heat, use the mild Harissa paste. It’s just as flavorful as the spicy version.

What is Forbidden or Black rice?

This dark grained heirloom rice is called “black rice” because of the anthocyanin pigmentation-it’s what gives the rice it’s dark purple color–like eggplant. 

It is called “Forbidden” because centuries ago in ancient China, it was reserved for the emperor and royalty–forbidden to anyone else. 

What does black rice taste like?

The flavor is a mild, semi-sweet nutty flavor, which allows it to pair beautifully with the spicy Harissa sauce and sweet chunks of pineapple. You might wanna add a pinch of salt to the cooked black rice.

This Harissa shrimp dish is a great way to get dinner on the table quick! It’s a perfect, quick “one bowl” dinner in the summer, due to the minimal amount of actual cooking time!

Plus that, the combination of sweet pineapple and spicy Harissa is ideal for a hot summer day!

Substitute with chicken for harissa chicken recipe

If you’re not a seafood fan, you can use this recipe as a harissa chicken recipe. 

For best results, pat dry chicken breasts and cut into smaller chunks or cubes; marinate in the harissa mixture in the refrigerator. 

Make the rice as the chicken cooks. 

Cook the marinated chicken on the stovetop in a large skillet. 

Add a few teaspoons of olive oil (or vegetable oil)  to the pan and cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on a meat thermometer. 

You can also use boneless skinless thighs if you prefer…either way, you’ll love the tender chicken in this delicious sauce!

Storage and reheating

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, place rice and shrimp in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap and heat a few minutes on low.

You can also reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan. Harissa shrimp may thicken upon refrigeration, so you may have to add a little water.

You can freeze this for up to 6 months in a freezer container.

Harissa shrimp and black rice in bowl garnished with cilantro.

Enjoy this Harissa recipe as often as you like! It’s not only tasty but filling!

If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you!

Harissa Shrimp and black rice in decorative bowl.

Harissa Shrimp with Pineapple Black Rice

Gulf shrimp coated with mild Harissa sauce served over a sweet and fluffy black rice infused with coconut milk and pineapple.
5 from 6 votes
Print Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: North African
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Anecia Hero


Shrimp Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 10 ounces Harissa Red Pepper Sauce , mild or spicy
  • 1 tablespoon oil , for marinade
  • 1 lime juice
  • pinch of salt

Pineapple Rice Ingredients

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 8 ounces diced pineapple , reserve the juice
  • 10 ounces unsweetened coconut milk


  • Peel and devein shrimp; place shrimp in plastic storage bag
    1 lb. fresh shrimp
  • In a medium bowl, combine Harissa, oil, lime juice and salt; combine well
    10 ounces Harissa Red Pepper Sauce, 1 lime, pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon oil
  • Pour mixture over shrimp; massage until all shrimp are coated well
  • Place in refrigerator for 10 min
  • Make the rice:
  • Strain the juice from the pineapple and set aside
    8 ounces diced pineapple
  • In a medium pan, add the reserved pineapple juice and 8 oz. (one cup) of coconut milk; bring to boil; add black rice
    8 ounces diced pineapple, 10 ounces unsweetened coconut milk, 1 cup black rice
  • Stir in black rice; boil for 2 minutes, reduce heat to simmer (Note: it turns purple; don't worry!)
  • Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes
  • After the rice has cooked for about 15 minutes, preheat oven to 350ºF
  • Pour shrimp and Harissa mixture into an oven-proof baking dish; place dish on middle rack
  • Bake shrimp 8 – 10 minutes, flipping once until they are pink
  • Plate rice, top with shrimp and garnish with diced pineapple
    8 ounces diced pineapple


Where to find Harissa in the grocery store
  • You may find Harissa chili paste on the International aisle, near the Indian foods and sauces, or perhaps in the condiment section. There are several different brands available, but the one I like is Mina Brand, made by Casablanca Foods.
  • It comes in a spicy and mild version; this recipe uses the mild Mina Harissa, but I have used the spicy before, too! If some people in your family can’t tolerate a lot of heat, use the mild. It’s just as flavorful as the spicy version.
Black Rice
  • Black rice when cooked in coconut milk turns purple; do not freak out; this is normal
  • Don’t have black rice? No problem! Use white or brown, basmati or jasmine!

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1cupCalories: 591kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 31gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 286mgSodium: 1844mgPotassium: 730mgFiber: 9gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 519IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 215mgIron: 5mg
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