Rustic Romesco Sauce Recipe – Perfect For Grilled Meats

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Romesco Sauce Recipe , in my experience, is a vibrant blend of red peppers, nuts, and garlic. It’s a Spanish sauce that might surprise you with its rich flavors. The benefits of having Romesco sauce in your meal are its versatility and ability to elevate the simplest dishes. If you’re worried about its intensity, taste as you go. Your best bet is to find ways to incorporate it into your weekly meal plan to enjoy its delightful taste.

Have you ever faced the dilemma of wanting to elevate a dish without knowing how? On a recent European trip, I sat in a quaint restaurant in the heart of Spain. There, I came across Romesco sauce. It’s not just any sauce but a burst of flavors originating from Tarragona, Spain. 

Romesco Sauce Recipe

While the Middle Eastern dips and European dressings have their charm, this was distinctively memorable. 

My local friend introduced it to me, sharing its immense popularity in Spanish homes. Since then, I’ve noticed my kids repeatedly requesting it, and it’s become a staple during our family dinners. 

If you’re looking to add an exotic touch to your dishes, your best bet is to plan to include Romesco sauce in your recipes. 

You’ll find ways to impress friends and family with this dynamic blend of red peppers, nuts, and garlic.

What Is Romesco Sauce Recipe?

Romesco sauce is a vibrant Spanish concoction originating from Tarragona, Catalonia. It is primarily made from roasted red peppers, toasted almonds or hazelnuts, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. 

In my experience, its rich and nutty flavor profile sets it apart from other sauces

If you’re confused about its versatility, consider it a companion for grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables. 

You must try this sauce to bring a touch of Mediterranean flair to your dishes. Your best bet is to make sure you experience its unique taste.

History Of Romesco Sauce Recipe

Romesco sauce traces its roots to Tarragona, a coastal town in Catalonia, Spain. Fishermen are often credited for their invention. 

In my experience traveling through Spain, locals spoke of how these fishermen created this sauce to accompany their daily catch. 

The ingredients, primarily roasted red peppers and nuts, were abundant in the region. The combination was a reflection of the Mediterranean’s bounty. 

Remember the sauce’s deep connection to the maritime community if you’re confused about its age-old popularity. 

Interesting Facts About Romesco Sauce Recipe

  • Origin: Romesco sauce isn’t just Spanish; it’s specifically Catalan, hailing from Tarragona.
  • Ingredients: While red peppers are standard, the type of nut used can vary. Almonds, hazelnuts, or a combination might be chosen.
  • Pairing: Beyond fish, it’s also a traditional accompaniment for “calcots,” a green onion grilled in Catalonia.
  • Variations: Different regions in Spain have unique takes on the sauce, tweaking ingredients and consistency.
  • Uses: Remember to think beyond meat if you’re worried about its application. Some even use it as a bread spread.
  • Celebration: In Catalonia, there’s a festival named “Calcotada” where calcots are grilled and served with Romesco.
  • Storage: Its robustness means it can last in the refrigerator for up to a week, making it a best bet for planning multiple meals.
  • Versatility: In modern cuisine, chefs find ways to incorporate Romesco as a base for various dishes, showcasing its adaptability.
Jar and Ingredients

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

While deeply rooted in Catalonia, Romesco sauce has seen various regional adaptations across Spain and beyond. 

In Valencia, for example, finding a version with added tomatoes is common, giving it a fruitier undertone. 

Further south, in Andalusia, some variations might use more vinegar, lending a tangier punch. 

If you’re confused about its global appeal, look to places like Mexico, where they have introduced spicy chilies. 

In the United States, chefs plan to incorporate local ingredients, resulting in versions with pecans or walnuts. 

However, no matter the region, the essence of Romesco remains—a delightful blend of roasted peppers and nuts celebrated for its versatility.

What Will Make You Love This Romesco Sauce?

Romesco sauce recipe boasts a symphony of flavors that captivates the palate. Its rich, nutty undertone, derived from toasted almonds or hazelnuts, creates an unforgettable taste profile. Suppose you’re worried about it being too overpowering. 

In that case, its balanced zest from roasted red peppers and a hint of garlic ensures harmony. For those seeking a touch of acidity, adding vinegar provides just that. In my experience, its texture is another winning factor; it’s neither too smooth nor too chunky, making it versatile for various dishes. 

Remember to consider its Mediterranean origins, which means it’s crafted with passion and tradition. Your best bet is to try it; you might find it becomes your go-to sauce, enhancing every meal with its distinctive allure.

Bowl and Spoon

Ingredients List 

Roma (plum) tomatoes6, halved
Large red bell pepper1, quartered
Garlic cloves12
Olive oil2/3 cup
Kosher saltTo taste
Slice of bread1
Toasted whole almonds1/2 cup
Red wine vinegar1/2 cup
Spanish paprika1/2 teaspoon
Crushed red pepper flakes1 pinch (or to taste)

Ingredient Tips

  • Tomatoes: Choose ripe Roma tomatoes for a sweeter, more flavorful base.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Roasting until the skin is blistered will enhance the smoky flavor.
  • Garlic: Fresh cloves are best; avoid ones with green shoots, as they can be bitter.
  • Olive Oil: Opt for extra-virgin olive oil for a richer, fuller taste. If you’re confused about brands, Spanish varieties are a safe bet.
  • Kosher Salt: You must add salt gradually, tasting as you go to avoid over-seasoning.
  • Bread: A day-old slice works best, adding thickness without making the sauce doughy.
  • Almonds: Toasting them brings out their depth and nuttiness.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Always measure to avoid overpowering acidity.
  • Spanish Paprika: Authentic Spanish paprika lends a unique warmth; don’t substitute with regular varieties.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Adjust according to your heat preference; remember to start with a pinch and increase as desired.

What Are The Variations Of Romesco Sauce Recipe?

  • Nuts: While almonds are common, many recipes incorporate hazelnuts or even pine nuts for a distinct flavor.
  • Heat Levels: Some versions amp up the spice with added chili peppers or more red pepper flakes.
  • Acidity: Lemon juice can be used as a tangy substitute for red wine vinegar in some recipes.
  • Herbs: Fresh parsley or cilantro might be blended for a refreshing twist.
  • Tomatoes: Some recipes prefer sundried tomatoes to fresh ones, giving a deeper, concentrated taste.
  • Thickeners: Besides bread, toasted breadcrumbs can achieve the desired consistency.
  • Sweetness: A dash of honey or a roasted red onion can add a hint of sweetness.

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Preparation: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • Vegetable Roasting: On the prepared baking sheet, place the tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic cloves. Using a brush, lightly coat the vegetables with some of the olive oil. Sprinkle the kosher salt evenly over them.
  • Baking: Position the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Allow the vegetables to roast until the garlic attains a golden-brown hue, typically taking 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cooling: Once done, remove the vegetables from the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes, allowing them to cool slightly. Simultaneously, place the bread slice directly on one of the oven racks and let it toast until golden brown. Upon reaching the desired color, remove and set aside to cool.
  • Blending: Transfer the cooled vegetables and released juices into a food processor or blender. Break the toasted bread into smaller chunks and add to the processor. Follow up by adding the toasted almonds, vinegar, paprika, and red pepper flakes.
  • Puree: Turn on the food processor or blender, and puree the mixture until you achieve a finely ground consistency. As the machine runs, drizzle in the remaining olive oil gradually. Once blended, check the flavor and season with additional salt to suit your taste.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Proportionality: Aim to maintain the ratio of ingredients, whether increasing or decreasing quantities.
  • Small Batches: If reducing the recipe, shorten the blending time to prevent over-processing.
  • Large Batches: For larger amounts, you might find it beneficial to process in batches to ensure even blending.
  • Adjustment: When scaling up, you must taste and adjust seasonings incrementally.
  • Cooking Time: While preheating and resting time remain constant, larger vegetable quantities may require extended roasting.
  • Storage: Plan to use or store appropriately. Larger batches may require freezing for long-term use, while smaller batches should be consumed quickly.
Romesco Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

  • Marinade: The rich flavors of Romesco can penetrate meats, poultry, or fish, enhancing their taste. If you’re confused about its application, think of grilled chicken or shrimp; they pair splendidly.
  • Dipping Sauce: Its thick and robust nature makes it a delightful companion for fresh vegetables, bread, or grilled meat skewers.
  • Dressing for Salads: Thinning the sauce with olive oil or vinegar can transform it into a zesty dressing. You must remember to balance flavors when adding to greens.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Romesco Sauce?

  • Grilled Meats: Whether it’s beef, pork, or lamb, the rich nuttiness of Romesco enhances the charred flavors of grilled meats.
  • Seafood: In its hometown of Tarragona, it traditionally accompanies fish, especially grilled or seared varieties.
  • Vegetables: Roasted or grilled vegetables, especially asparagus, brussels sprouts, or potatoes, benefit from its zesty touch.
  • Pasta: Mixing Romesco with pasta offers a Mediterranean twist, providing a refreshing alternative to tomato-based sauces.
  • Eggs: Try it with poached eggs or in omelets for a surprising flavor.
  • Tapas: In Spanish cuisine, it’s a staple for various tapas dishes.
  • Sandwiches: Spread on bread, it can elevate simple sandwiches or burgers.
Romesco Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Romesco Sauce?

  • Calcots with Romesco: A traditional Catalan dish where grilled spring onions, or “calcots,” are dipped into Romesco.
  • Grilled Fish: Many coastal Spanish areas pair freshly grilled fish with this vibrant fish sauce.
  • Esparragos Trigueros: Grilled wild asparagus served with Romesco on the side.
  • Mar i Muntanya: A Catalan “surf and turf” dish combining chicken and shrimp, often accompanied by Romesco.
  • Mongetes: White beans are typically served with sausage and Romesco sauce.
  • Tostada con Romesco: Simply toasted bread with a generous spread of Romesco.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Romesco Sauce Offers?

  • Nutty: Toasted almonds or hazelnuts impart a rich, deep nuttiness.
  • Smoky: Roasted red bell peppers contribute a charred, smoky undertone.
  • Garlicky: Fresh garlic cloves give it a pungent kick, adding depth.
  • Tangy: Red wine vinegar introduces acidity, creating a zesty brightness.
  • Earthy: Spanish paprika lends a warm, earthy hue to the sauce.
  • Spicy: The inclusion of red pepper flakes can provide a gentle heat.
  • Savory: Olive oil and kosher salt balance the flavors, grounding the sauce with a savory touch.
Jar and Spoon

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

  • Refrigeration: Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator after preparation. It typically lasts for up to a week.
  • Freezing: For longer preservation, you can freeze the sauce. Make sure you use freezer-safe containers or bags. This method might extend its life to 2-3 months.
  • Shelf Life: While refrigeration ensures freshness for about a week, freezing can retain its quality for several months.
  • Checking Freshness: If you’re worried about its quality over time, look for any off-odors or mold as signs of spoilage.

What Are The Substitutes For Romesco Sauce Recipe?

  • Pesto: This Italian sauce from basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese offers a rich, herby flavor.
  • Salsa Roja: A roasted red tomato salsa with peppers can mimic the smoky flavor of Romesco.
  • Muhammara: A Middle Eastern dip made from roasted red peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.
  • Chimichurri: An Argentine sauce, tangy and herbaceous, made primarily from parsley and garlic.
  • Aioli: A garlic mayonnaise that can serve as a creamy base for various dishes.
  • Tahini: This sesame seed paste, when mixed with some lemon and garlic, can give a creamy, nutty flavor.
Romesco Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

  • Thinning: If your sauce is too thick, add olive oil in small increments while blending. Another option is to introduce some water or broth until you achieve the desired consistency.
  • Thickening: If the sauce is too thin, add more toasted bread or almonds and blend. Bread acts as a binder and will thicken the sauce effectively.
  • Texture: For a chunkier texture, blend for a shorter time. If you aim for a smoother finish, extend your blending time.
  • Taste Check: Remember to taste and season if necessary after adjusting the consistency.
  • Resting: The sauce might thicken slightly upon resting, so plan to adjust just before serving.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

  • Cold: Traditionally, Romesco sauce is often served at room temperature or slightly chilled, especially when used as a dip, spread, or salad dressing.
  • Warm: If you’re pairing the sauce with warm dishes like grilled meats, seafood, or roasted vegetables, you might heat it gently. Warm Romesco can also be delightful when mixed into pasta or used as a base for stews.
  • Reheating: If stored in the fridge, ensure even warming to prevent it from separating.
Romesco Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values

Romesco sauce recipe, primarily composed of red peppers, nuts, and olive oil, offers beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Its ingredients also provide dietary fiber, vitamin E, and essential minerals.

What Are The Total Calories In Romesco Sauce?

The total calories in Romesco sauce recipe depend on the specific ingredients and their quantities. On average, a typical serving of Romesco sauce (about 2 tablespoons) might contain between 60 to 100 calories, largely derived from the olive oil and nuts. However, you must refer to a specific recipe’s nutritional information for a precise calorie count.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Romesco Sauce

  • Gluten-Free: Traditionally, Romesco is gluten-free, but always check if the bread or breadcrumbs used are gluten-free variants.
  • Vegan: The classic recipe is vegan-friendly, containing no animal products.
  • Nut Allergies: It contains almonds or hazelnuts, so it’s unsuitable for nut allergies.
  • Low-Carb: It’s relatively low-carb, though exact carb content can vary based on ingredients.
  • Dairy-Free: No dairy products are used in the traditional recipe.
  • Low-Fat: It contains olive oil and nuts, so it’s not low in fat.
  • Low-Sodium: This can be adjusted to be low-sodium by controlling salt addition.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Over-roasting the Vegetables: While you want a charred flavor from the red bell peppers and tomatoes, over-roasting can taste bitter. You must monitor them closely during the roasting process.
  • Skipping the Toasting Step: Not toasting the nuts or the bread can lead to a lack of depth in flavor. This step is crucial for that rich, nutty undertone.
  • Inconsistent Texture: If you’re aiming for a smooth sauce but end up with chunks, it might be due to under-blending or not using a powerful enough blender or food processor.
  • Imbalance of Flavors: Not tasting as you go can lead to an imbalanced sauce. Too much vinegar can make it overly acidic, while too little salt can leave it flat.
  • Using the Wrong Nuts: While almonds are most common, some recipes call for hazelnuts. Substituting one for the other without adjustments can alter the flavor profile.
  • Not Adjusting for Heat: Not accounting for the heat level of your red pepper flakes or using a spicier variety can result in a spicier sauce than intended.
  • Storing Improperly: Not storing the sauce in an airtight container or leaving it out for extended periods can reduce its shelf life and freshness.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Pizza Spread: Use it as a base sauce for a Mediterranean-themed pizza.
  • Stuffed Vegetables: Mix rice or quinoa to stuff bell peppers or tomatoes.
  • Bread Spread: Elevate your sandwiches or toast with a layer of Romesco.
  • Mix with Mayo: Create a creamy dip for fries or roasted veggies.
  • Egg Topping: Drizzle over scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • Soup Base: Add to tomato or vegetable soups for added depth.
  • Rice Enhancer: Mix into plain rice for a flavorful side dish.
  • Pasta Mix-in: Combine with pasta for a quick and delicious meal.
  • Savory Crepes: Use as a filling for crepes or pancakes.
  • Meatloaf Glaze: Spread atop meatloaf before baking for a tangy crust.
Romesco Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Food Processor or Blender: Essential for achieving the desired consistency and blending all ingredients smoothly.
  • Baking Sheet: Used for roasting the tomatoes, bell peppers, and garlic.
  • Aluminum Foil: Helpful for lining the baking sheet, ensuring easy cleanup after roasting.
  • Silicone Brush: Useful for brushing the vegetables with olive oil before roasting.
  • Spatula: Assists in scraping every bit of the sauce out of the blender or food processor.
  • Airtight Containers: For storing any leftover sauce and preserving its freshness.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: For preparing the vegetables before roasting.
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons: Ensuring accurate measurements for a consistent sauce.
  • Oven: For roasting vegetables to their perfect char.
  • Garlic Press: Optional, but can help ensure finely minced garlic.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Different Types Of Nuts Other Than Almonds Or Hazelnuts?

Yes, while almonds and hazelnuts are traditional, you can experiment with other nuts like walnuts or pine nuts. However, each nut will introduce a different flavor profile to the sauce.

What If I Don’t Have A Food Processor Or Blender?

While a food processor or blender ensures a smooth consistency, you can also use a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients. It’ll be more labor-intensive but will give a rustic texture to the sauce.

Can Romesco Sauce Be Made Ahead Of Time?

Absolutely! Making it a day in advance can allow the flavors to meld and develop further. Just ensure it’s stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

My Sauce Seems Too Tangy. How Can I Balance The Flavors?

If the sauce is too tangy, add more nuts or bread, which will mellow out the acidity. More olive oil or even a touch of honey can help balance the tanginess.

Can I Use Roasted Jarred Peppers Instead Of Fresh Bell Peppers?

Yes, jarred roasted red peppers can be a convenient alternative to fresh ones. Ensure you drain and pat them dry before using them to avoid excess moisture in the sauce.

Rustic Romesco Sauce Recipe – Perfect For Grilled Meats

5 from 4 votes
Course: Sauces


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Romesco Sauce Recipe is a vibrant Spanish blend originating from Catalonia. Made primarily from roasted red peppers, toasted nuts, garlic, and olive oil, it offers a rich, nutty, smoky flavor profile. Perfect as a dip, marinade, or accompaniment, this sauce elevates dishes with its Mediterranean flair and versatility.


  • 6, 6, Roma (plum) tomatoes (halved)

  • 1, 1, Large red bell pepper (quartered)

  • 12 12 Garlic cloves

  • 2/3 cup 2/3 Olive oil

  • Kosher salt (To Taste)

  • 1 1 Slice of bread

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Toasted whole almonds

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 Spanish paprika

  • 0.3 gm 0.3 Crushed red pepper flakes  (or to taste)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • Arrange Vegetables: Place the tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic cloves onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Seasoning: Brush the vegetables lightly with olive oil using a silicone brush. Sprinkle them with kosher salt to season.
  • Roasting: Put the baking sheet in the oven and roast the vegetables. Wait until the garlic turns golden brown, which usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cooling: After roasting, remove the vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the slice of bread directly on an oven rack until it turns golden brown. Once done, take it out and set it aside to cool.
  • Blending: Transfer the cooled vegetables and any juices they’ve released into a food processor or blender. Break the toasted bread into smaller pieces and add them to the blender. Next, incorporate the toasted almonds, red wine vinegar, Spanish paprika, and red pepper flakes.
  • Pureeing: Turn on the food processor or blender, and puree the mixture. Aim for a consistency that’s finely ground. As the machine continues to run, gradually drizzle in the remaining olive oil.
  • Seasoning & Tasting: After blending, taste the sauce. Adjust with additional salt or any other seasonings to suit your preference.
  • Serving or Storing: You can serve the Romesco sauce immediately or transfer it to an airtight container for storage. If storing, place it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness.

Recipe Video


  • Nuts: While almonds are traditional, hazelnuts can be a delightful alternative. Feel free to experiment or combine the two for a more complex flavor.
  • Roasting: If you’re looking for a more intense smoky flavor, consider charring the bell peppers directly over a gas flame before roasting.
  • Consistency: The sauce’s thickness can be adjusted to your preference. Add more bread or nuts for a thicker sauce or olive oil for a thinner consistency.
  • Heat Level: The spiciness can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the amount of red pepper flakes.
  • Long-Term Storage: Romesco sauce freezes well. If you plan to store it for over a week, consider portioning it into smaller containers and freezing it.
  • Bread: Day-old or slightly stale bread tends to work best as it absorbs the flavors more effectively.
  • Vinegar: While red wine vinegar is standard, sherry vinegar can also be used for a different twist.

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