This quick Romesco Sauce takes 5 minutes to make, and is the perfect pairing for chicken, pork, beef, potatoes, and roasted 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 Spanish sauce originating from the Catalonia region that has a flavor base of primarily peppers and nuts. It’s a creamy sauce with a good balance of bold peppers and nutty flavors.
There are variations in ingredients, and truly authentic versions coming from the city of tarragona use special peppers like ñora peppers, that are difficult to find. Sometimes people also include tomatoes, or 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, using easily accessible ingredients.
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 spanish romesco sauce, 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. Those black char marks will help give a smoky flavor. 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 fresh red bell peppers for the sauce, either over an open flame or in the oven, 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:
Quick Notes on the Ingredients
Almonds – I like using slivered almonds instead of whole almonds because that papery skin is removed. However, whole almonds may be used in a pinch. What’s more important is to use toasted almonds, as raw almonds won’t be as flavorful.
Vinegar– Feel free to substitute other quality vinegars like sherry vinegar, but I recommend avoiding lemon juice, which doesn’t have the right flavor here.
Heat – You may also substitute red pepper flakes if you don’t have ground cayenne pepper on hand.
Paprika – If you don’t have smoked paprika, you may use regular paprika. There will be a less smoky flavor to the sauce.
Process the mixture for about a minute, until it has a smooth consistency:
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 homemade romesco sauce can be stored in the fridge for 1 week, and its bold flavors go with so many different foods.
Ideas for Using It
Here are some of my favorite ways for enjoying this delicious sauce.
- 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.
- Vegetables – Dunk Roasted Cauliflower or Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus into it, or serve with Steak Fries, Potato Croquettes, or Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
- Grain bowls – This is the perfect sauce to drizzle over rice, quinoa, or other grain bowls with fresh vegetables and a protein like chicken or grilled lamb. White beans pair nicely in the bowls too.
- Sandwiches – Use this as a sandwich spread with Italian salamis and meats. You can also use it as a dipping sauce for wraps.
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 the leftover sauce 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.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
- 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.
15 Comments on “Romesco”
The best thing I ever put in my mouth! Thank you for the recipe!
OMG!!! This Romesco sauce is the bomb!!! I added it to gnocchi and spinach, with a touch of mascarpone cheese at the end for added creaminess. It was fantastic! Now I’m addicted. I’m going to have to find other ways to use it. So good!
This is amazing! My favorite thing to serve with Romesco is grilled or seared sea scallops. YUM!
Why have I waited so long to make this sauce?!? I only used half as much oil and it’s still 5 stars, in case you like it a little leaner. I used 8oz of red bell roasted over charcoal, and 4oz of Mezzetta Deli-Style Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, which tasted lighter and brighter, a nice compliment to the smoky complexity of the other. Thank you for this simple, perfect recipe!
This is my new go-to party sauce, so simple and flavorful. I’ve brought to a grilling party with potatoes and with a nice rustic loaf of bread and cheese to another one. Thank you, it’s very delicious!!
Delicious and so easy! Whole Foods did not have the roasted peppers in the Divina brand in stock, so I purchased them in the 365 brand (which were whole not in chopped pieces per your note). Great taste. This is a keeper!
delicious with swordfish – would love to try using different vegetables to make interesting versions of this – love this one!
Hi Hope, so you glad you paired this well with swordfish. That sounds delicious!
Delicious with roasted veggies!
I loved it! Really easy to make!
Great on chicken.
Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing I’ill try it with beef.
Beautiful color and love this easy version!
I have to give this a try! It will go perfectly with the dinner I’m making tonight!
Made this for some roasted chicken breast and it was fantastic! So much flavor!