Roasted red pepper romesco sauce is a loose spin-off of the traditional Catalonian sauce. Our recipe calls for roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and garlic, almond butter, red wine vinegar, a touch of smoked paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s a simple and delicious recipe that’s super versatile and makes a great topping for meat and veggies, sauce for pasta, dipping sauce, or spread for sandwiches.
This recipe was originally published in May 2021. We updated this post to contain more helpful sections, like ingredients, how to make, how to use, and FAQ, to better help you!
Why You’ll Love Romesco Sauce
We loveeeee this sauce because it is so versatile and flavorful. The yum potential is limitless!
- Dip for bread, chips, or grilled vegetables (especially yummy with grilled artichokes)
- Sauce topper for pasta, grilled vegetables, chicken, or mild fish
- Fold into soups or stews
- Spread for sandwiches
Plus, making the actual sauce is pretty quick and easy–about 5 minutes from food processor to bowl. It’s just having the patience to oven-roast your own peppers, tomatoes, and garlic that takes time. But trust us: it is well worth the wait!
Quick Tip: make this recipe stand out even more by replacing store-bought almond butter with deliciously simple homemade almond butter. And don’t skip roasting your own peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. Those painstaking steps really take this sauce to the next level!
What is Romesco Sauce
Traditional romesco sauce is a hearty, rustic sauce with roots in the Tarragona province in Catalonia, Spain. It is made from a delicious combination of roasted tomatoes, dried ñora peppers, garlic, toasted almonds and hazelnuts, a healthy splash of olive oil and bits of toasted stale bread for thickening.
This sauce is often served with fish, seafood, poultry and vegetables. We love to use it as a dip for bread, a spread for sandwiches, a topping for meat and fish, and a pasta sauce as well.
Our roasted red pepper romesco is a loose spin-off of the traditional Catalonian sauce. We use roasted red peppers in place of the sun-dried red pepper relative, the ñora pepper, which is difficult to come by outside of Spain. Our recipe also uses almond butter in place of pan-toasted almonds and hazelnuts traditionally used to speed up the sauce-making process.
- Red bell pepper – oven-roasted to smoky perfection. They form the flavorful base of this romesco sauce.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes – roasted alongside the bell peppers until bursting. The other key player in the base of this sauce.
- Almond butter – for some extra plant-based healthy fats and robust flavor. We used almond butter in place of almonds to help create a smoother texture. You can also sub in pan-toasted almonds or hazelnuts for a more traditional romesco.
- Red wine vinegar – adds a little tanginess.
- Extra virgin olive oil – for roasting bell pepper and tomatoes and as a delicious mix-in for the sauce.
- Garlic cloves – for extra sharpness. Roast with the peppers and tomatoes for extra depth.
- Seasoning – smoked paprika, sea salt, and cracked black pepper are simple, but effective seasonings that really amp up this sauce.
How to Make Romesco Sauce
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Quarter the red bell pepper and remove the seeds. Combine the bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Spread the tomato mixture out onto a large baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to burst and the peppers start to form dark spots. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool on the pan about 10 minutes.
Transfer roasted pepper, tomatoes, and garlic to a food processor or blender and process for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, almond butter, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Blend another 30 seconds until smooth.
Enjoy this roasted red pepper romesco sauce on a bowl of pasta, roasted vegetables, or atop a delicious piece of grilled chicken or fish!
How to Store
Store leftover romesco sauce in an airtight container (we prefer mason jars) in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. We have not tried freezing this sauce, so we can’t recommend one way or another on freezing.
How to Use Romesco Sauce
Romesco is super versatile and elevates any dish it touches, like magic!
- Top your favorite protein, like grilled chicken, steak, mild fish, lamb, or even tofu
- Twirl into pasta
- Spread on sandwiches, wraps, or burgers
- Drizzle on roasted veggies, like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, artichokes, or traditional Spanish calçots
- Use as a dip for bread or veggies
- Fold into heartwarming soups, stews, or chilis
- Slather on pizza in place of marinara
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This romesco sauce has a rich, smoky flavor due to the roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and smoked paprika. It is also slightly tangy from the red wine vinegar.
Yes. Traditional romesco contains toasted almonds and hazelnuts, while our recipe uses almond butter.
If roasting your own peppers is too time consuming, you can substitute jarred red peppers. However, we highly recommend taking the time to roast your own peppers, tomatoes, and garlic for that deep, smoky flavor.
Yes! In fact, traditional romesco sauce uses toasted almonds and hazelnuts. We opted for almond butter to speed up preparation time of this recipe. Replace 3 tablespoons of almond butter with a generous 1/4 cup of pan-toasted whole or slivered almonds. Just note that the recipe will be less smooth if you use toasted almonds in place of almond butter.
Check out these other delicious sauce recipes!
- Chunky marinara sauce
- Pomodoro sauce
- Chimichurri sauce
- Sun-dried tomato pesto
- Kale pesto
- Pumpkin seed pesto
Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Sauce
- 1 red bell pepper, quartered, seeds removed
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp almond butter
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
- Heat oven to 450°F.
- Quarter the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Combine quartered pepper, tomatoes, and garlic in a medium bowl. Toss with ½ tablespoon olive oil.
- Spread the pepper mixture out on a large baking sheet and cook about 15-20 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to burst and peppers begin to form dark spots in places. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer cooled peppers, tomatoes, and garlic to a food processor and process for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, almond butter, red wine vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper to the mixture. Blend another 30 seconds, until smooth. Serve and enjoy!
- Enjoy this romesco sauce on roasted sheet-pan veggies (broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower you name it!), on a plate of fresh pasta, or as a dipping sauce for dunking garlic bread. It’s a pretty versatile sauce and easy to make!