Spanish Romesco Sauce Recipe
Romesco sauce is one of my all-time favorite sauces. It’s got a unique and zippy flavor from the roasted red peppers and almonds with a hint of acidity. It’s delicious with chicken, fish, tofu, and tons of grilled veggies.
History of Romesco Sauce
Romesco sauce originated in the city of Tarragona in Catalonia, the northern-most region of Spain that touches France. Tarragona is a port city and fishermen created the sauce to liven up the catch of the day. Traditional romesco contains tomato, garlic, nuts, and roasted nyora peppers. Nyora peppers are not easy to find, so I used roasted red peppers instead. Some recipes call for bread crumbs or stale bread to thicken, but I find the sauce to be plenty thick with just nuts. My recipe differs a bit from the traditional recipe, but the flavors are similar and the sauce is still so good.
How to Make Romesco Sauce
Ingredients you’ll need
- Roasted Red Peppers. Roasted peppers are the base of romesco sauce. Try to find high-quality roasted red peppers. You can roast your own peppers if desired.
- Almonds. I love using raw slivered almonds here to avoid almond skin in the sauce.
- Shallots and garlic. Shallots and garlic add tons of flavor to the sauce.
- Smoked Paprika. Smoked paprika is a must here! The smoky flavor adds so much.
- Olive Oil. Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil here. The olive oil emulsifies the sauce so that it’s rich and a bit creamy.
- Sherry Vinegar. Sherry vinegar adds a bit of acidity for balance here and tones down the flavor of the raw garlic and shallot.
- Calabrian chili. I always have a jar of Calabrian chilies on hand, I love using it to add a little spice to my favorite recipes.
- Honey. This is by no means traditional, but a little honey helps balance the romesco. It’s optional though!
How to Prepare Romesco Sauce
- Toast your almonds. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and spread your almonds on a small baking sheet. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, until just barely golden brown. Cool to room temperature.
- Slice shallots and garlic. Thinly slice your shallots and garlic–slicing them helps the sauce blend easier.
- Drain your peppers. If you’re using jarred roasted red peppers for your romesco sauce, make sure to drain all the liquid.
- Blend. This sauce is so easy because it comes together in the blender. Combine all the ingredients in the blender, except for the olive oil. Blend on low and slowly increase the speed until the sauce is smooth. Slowly stream in your olive oil while blending until the sauce is lighter in color and thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Store. Store this sauce in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Can you make romesco sauce without nuts?
The almonds really help thicken the sauce, but if I were going to substitute I would try sunflower seeds. You can also use some crusty, cubed bread instead but the sauce would no longer be gluten-free in that case.
Is romesco sauce vegan?
Yes! This sauce is naturally vegan, so long as honey is okay with you. You can swap in agave nectar if desired.
How long will romesco sauce keep?
You can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
Does romesco sauce contain dairy?
None! Romesco is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
What to serve romesco sauce with?
I love romesco sauce on everything! It’s especially great on grilled meats like chicken, lamb, and fish. Use it to spice up your grilled vegetable sides as well!
More Recipes to Try
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Spanish Romesco Sauce Recipe
- 12 oz jar roasted red peppers drained
- 2/3 cup raw slivered almonds
- 1/2 shallot thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons Calabrian chili paste
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Spread your almonds out on a small baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Cool to room temperature.
- In the carafe of a high-powered blender, combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil. Blend on low and slowly increase the speed until the mixture is starting to smooth out.
- With the blender running, slowly stream in the olive oil until well-emulsified and thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.