Tangy, smoky, creamy, and sweet, this romesco sauce recipe is a great way to liven up roasted or grilled vegetables, sandwiches, and more.
This romesco sauce recipe is one of my favorite things to make in summer. After Jack and I visited Barcelona for the first time, I made all kinds of Spanish food at home – paella, Spanish tortillas, espinacas con garbanzos. I loved them all, but romesco sauce is the one Spanish dish that I’ve continued to make again and again. Its bold sweet and smoky flavor instantly reminds me of Spain. We may not be traveling much of anywhere this summer, but we are enjoying this tangy, creamy sauce as much as we can at home. It transforms grilled veggies into a delicious dinner, makes plain pasta lively and exciting, and elevates the humblest slice of crusty bread. Once you have it on hand, you’ll find yourself slathering it onto sandwiches, dolloping it onto bowls, using it as a dip, and more!
If you’re not familiar with romesco sauce, it’s a vibrant red pepper and roasted tomato sauce that originated in Catalonia. Traditional versions include some combination of roasted tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, chiles, and often bread, but there’s no one way to make romesco sauce. My version is certainly less authentic than some (I swap tomato paste for fresh tomatoes and chickpeas for bread), but it tastes fantastic, and it comes together in minutes. If romesco sauce isn’t already a fixture in your summer recipe rotation, do yourself a favor, and try this recipe ASAP.
Romesco Sauce Recipe Ingredients
Ready to cook? Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Roasted red bell peppers – They add a sweet, smoky flavor to this brilliant orange sauce. Use jarred roasted red peppers, or make your own.
- Tomato paste – Traditional romesco sauce recipes call for roasted tomatoes, but I like to use tomato paste for a quick and easy shortcut. It gives the sauce a delicious savory flavor.
- Almonds and hazelnuts – Use one or the other, or a combination of the two. If you use hazelnuts, peel away the papery skins before adding the nuts to the blender. For a richer, nuttier flavor, use toasted almonds and hazelnuts instead of raw ones.
- Garlic – It gives the sauce a nice bite.
- Chickpeas – When I first started making romesco sauce, I made it the traditional way, with bread as a thickener. As time went on, I realized that using chickpeas in its place would make this recipe gluten-free. They give this sauce a wonderful creamy texture, but if gluten isn’t a concern for you, feel free to use a slice of ciabatta or country bread instead.
- Sherry or red wine vinegar – For tangy, zingy flavor.
- Smoked paprika – It gives the sauce a bold, smoky taste.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds richness and gets the blender moving.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
How to Use Romesco Sauce
Romesco sauce is incredibly versatile, so have fun experimenting with different ways to serve it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Spoon it over roasted vegetables like roasted cauliflower, broccoli, roasted potatoes, or Brussels sprouts.
- Dollop it onto your favorite grilled vegetables. I love it with scallions, leeks, asparagus, zucchini, potatoes, and these mixed veggie skewers.
- Serve it as a dip for fresh veggies and crusty bread. It would be wonderful in the middle of a summer crudité platter.
- Drizzle it over a grain bowl made with couscous, quinoa, or farro, roasted chickpeas, and fresh veggies.
- Use it as a dipping sauce for air fryer French fries or sweet potato fries.
- Slather it onto cooked corn on the cob.
- Toss it with homemade pasta, zucchini noodles, or your favorite veggie noodles. Top them with pine nuts for crunch!
- Or spread it on a sandwich.
Do you have a favorite way to use romesco sauce? Let me know in the comments!
More Favorite Sauces and Spreads
If you love this romesco sauce recipe, try one of these sauces next:
- Basil Pesto or Vegan Pesto
- Green Goddess Dressing
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Tahini Sauce
- Creamy Chipotle Sauce
- 2 roasted red bell peppers*, skin and seeds removed
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup mix of almonds and peeled hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup cooked chickpeas**, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a blender, place the peppers, olive oil, water, nuts, tomato paste, vinegar, chickpeas, garlic, paprika, salt, and pinches of pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Serve with crusty bread or grilled vegetables. For more serving suggestions, see the blog post above.