This quick Romesco Sauce takes 5 minutes to make, and is the perfect pairing for chicken, pork, beef, potatoes, and vegetables. It’s healthy, full of flavor, and leftovers keep beautifully in the fridge or freezer!
I first fell in love with Romesco when I lived in Spain, and have been eating it ever since. It’s actually one of the oldest recipes on the blog, for this post Roasted Baby Potatoes with Romesco Dip. While delicious, that version is pretty involved, calling for blackening tomatoes under the broiler, soaking chiles, and a few other steps. This version on the hand? Crazy easy. And also delicious.
What is it?
Romesco is a sauce originating from the Catalonia region of Spain that has a flavor base of primarily peppers and nuts. There are variations in ingredients, for example sometimes people include tomatoes, and bread to thicken, but I also see them left out just as often. Both of those ingredients are in my other romesco recipe, but this version is much simpler.
The intention of this romesco sauce recipe is to be delicious, quick, and easy. This rendition is made without bread, but still has a wonderful thickness and creaminess to it. So if you’re eating gluten-free or paleo, this is something you can enjoy.
Sometimes I have a specific plan for the romesco when I make it, but often I’ll make a batch on Sunday for the week ahead, just to have on hand. I’ll add a few spoonfuls to have with fried eggs in the morning, or to have with roasted chicken. I always find uses for it and it has the most wonderful flavor!
Tips for Best Results
Be very selective about what roasted red peppers you buy – I will share my recommended brands below, but I was absolutely ASTONISHED when I did a taste test comparing a few brands of jarred roasted red peppers. Some were really flavorful, while some of the cheaper ones were tasteless and seemed like they were dyed red. You need to start with good peppers here for a flavorful sauce.
Decide on desired texture – You can choose to leave your romesco sauce a little bit chunkier and textured, or you can puree it until it’s super smooth. It’s all a matter of preference. If this is your first time making it, stop blending while it’s a little chunky, taste it, and see if you prefer it more thoroughly pureed.
Toast the almonds – Nuts are one of the classic ingredients in a romesco, and like pretty much every other recipe involving nuts, the sauce will taste much better if you use toasted (instead of raw) nuts. Buy pre-toasted nuts if you prefer, but know that toasting them yourself fresh will give you better results.
Step by Step Overview:
All you really need to do for this romesco sauce is blend together a handful of ingredients, but it’s important those ingredients are top-notch. So let’s start by talking about the peppers.
Recommended Roasted Red Peppers
You will need a jar of roasted red peppers for this recipe. I did a taste test once comparing Trader Joe’s jarred bell peppers against the one I usually buy, to see if it was worth switching (the TJ’s one is a lot cheaper). The answer was a very loud NO. The cheaper ones had no flavor and were mostly scrap pieces (I love Trader Joe’s so much, but not their jarred bell peppers).
So, when you’re shopping at the grocery for roasted red peppers, look for big peppers and marks of quality. It’s important for the sauce!
My favorite brand: Divina brand, which I get at Whole Foods.
Other good choices: Mezzini, Rienzi, and Krinos.
Not recommended: Trader Joe’s brand, Roland, Mezzetta, Cento.
Should You Roast Your Own Peppers?
If you’d like to roast your own red bell peppers for the sauce, be my guest. You can follow the guidance I share in my Green Spaghetti recipe. But for this particular romesco sauce, I don’t find it worth the effort, since the jarred peppers I get are so thoroughly delicious.
Drain the peppers, then place them in a food processor along with toasted slivered almonds, garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, olive oil, and red wine vinegar:
Process the mixture for about a minute, until smooth:
You can also make this in a blender. Generally speaking, a blender will give you a smoother romesco, whereas the food processor will give you a chunkier romesco. I honestly like both textures for different reasons.
The romesco sauce can be stored in the fridge for 1 week, and it goes with so many different foods.
Ideas for Using It
- Meats – Serve with Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, or Roasted Rack of Lamb. Romesco pairs well with most meats, including chicken, pork, lamb, and beef.
- Seafood – Serve it with Baked Salmon or Pan Seared Salmon, or big Seared Scallops. Romesco sauce goes very nicely with most seafood.
- Eggs – Romesco pairs shockingly well with eggs. Dollop some onto an Omelette, a Potato Frittata, or Poached Eggs.
For more 5-minute sauce recipes, try my Basil Vinaigrette, Jalapeno Cilantro Sauce or Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. They’re all made in the food processor or blender, and add tons of flavor to various dishes. Enjoy!
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Yes, it freezes very well since there are no fresh herbs. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight.
Yes, it’s very common to use hazelnuts or almonds, but I’ve also seen people use pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and walnuts. The nuts provide some flavor, but they’re also providing a lot of texture.
It’s great with chicken of all kinds (like a whole roasted chicken, or chicken breast), steak, pork chops, crispy smashed potatoes, and tons of different vegetables for dunking, like roasted broccoli, asparagus, green beans and more.
Yes. A 12 ounce portion of jarred red bell peppers should be about 2 large fresh bell peppers. You can weight it after roasting to make sure.
- 16 oz jar roasted red peppers (12oz dry weight)
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds *
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Drain the red peppers, then place all ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
- A food processor will make for a chunkier sauce, whereas the blender will make for a smoother sauce.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 1 week.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.