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Romesco Sauce

5 from 1 vote

You wouldn't think that jarred peppers and ground almonds would come together to create a delicious sauce but that's exactly what romesco sauce is...

Written By Brad Archer

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It’s smoky, slightly spicy, tangy and does wonders for almost everything. You can dip bread in it, smother it over meat, use it as a dressing for roasted veg or use it in place of ketchup. I’m a huge fan of romesco sauce – the classic Spanish sauce from the Catalonia region.

Pot of romesco sauce on a blue background

Authentic and traditional recipes will have you putting vegetables over an open flame to get them charred and roasted before breaking them down by hand in a pestle and mortar. But I’ve not got time for that.

Instead, I take advantage of jarred peppers and a blender to knock this easy romesco sauce recipe up in minutes.

What’s In Romesco Sauce?

It might have a complex flavour, but you really don’t need many ingredients to put together your own batch of homemade romesco sauce. You’ll only need 6 simple ingredients to follow my easy recipe.

The ingredients for making romesco sauce laid out
  • 75g Blanched Almonds: You use almonds in the base of romesco for their subtle nutty flavour but also to help with the texture. You could also use preground almonds or (raw almonds) but find you can get a more roasted flavour from whole almonds.
  • 200g Roasted Red Peppers: Roasted, jarred red peppers are a huge time-saving trick for making romesco. Of course, you could roast your own red bell peppers if you’ve time.
  • 1 Garlic Clove: It’s going in raw, and you don’t want it to dominate the flavour with too many garlic cloves. 1 is plenty here.
  • 1tbsp Sherry or Red Wine Vinegar: Sherry vinegar tends to be the more authentic vinegar to use for acid, but red wine vinegar is fine.
  • 1tsp Smoked Paprika: You can increase the smoky flavour and give it a subtle spice with a pinch of smoky paprika.
  • 50ml Olive Oil: Olive oil will help you to loosen the sauce to the right consistency. You may need to adjust this to get it to your desired thickness.

Substitutes and Tweaks

Use roasted garlic instead of raw garlic for a sweeter, more subtle flavour. Just wrap a bulb in foil and roast for 30 minutes in the oven.

Almonds are the go-to option for romesco, but you could swap these out for hazelnuts, pine nuts, or even pumpkin seeds.

If you want to make it smokier and slightly spicy then add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the mix.

Give the romesco a sweeter undertone by adding a teaspoon of tomato paste or some sun-dried tomatoes to the blender.

If you want a thicker sauce, then add in a slice of stale bread or bread crumbs. This will give you a more spoonable sauce.

Many fresh herbs work well in the base on romesco. You could try some chopped parsley, basil or oregano to give it a subtle fresher flavour.

How to Make Romesco Sauce

Step 1: Just like you would toast spices to help them release their flavour, toasting the almonds in a dry pan will give them a more pronounced nutty flavour and will help them to release their oils. This will only take a matter of minutes but is essential for any romesco recipe.

You can also do this in a low oven by spreading the almonds out on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes. I find doing it on the hob is much quicker and easier, though.

Toasting whole almonds

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients, besides the olive oil, alongside your toasted almonds into a blender or food processor and blitz until it comes together into a thick paste. It should have the texture of a curry paste.

If you’ve got time on your hand then you could do this part in the traditional way using a pestle and mortar…

Ingredients for romesco sauce in a blender

Step 3: Continue to process the mixture as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the romesco comes together and is at a perfect sauce consistency. Give it a taste, and adjust the seasoning.

If it’s a little too smoky then add a squeeze of lemon juice to balance it out. If it’s a tad bland, then a pinch of salt will help out. Serve it at room temperature and not too chilled.

Adding oil to a blender
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Romesco Sauce Recipe

Romesco Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes
Total time

15

minutes

It’s incredible how a few cupboard staples can be turned into a punchy, tangy sauce perfect for BBQs

Ingredients

  • 75 g 75 Blanched Almonds

  • 200 g 200 Roasted Jarred Red Peppers

  • 1 1 Garlic Clove

  • 1 tbsp 1 Sherry or Red Wine Vinegar

  • 1 tsp 1 Smoked Paprika

  • 50 ml 50 Olive Oil

  • Salt

Directions

  • Add the almonds to a dry frying pan and toast them over a medium heat until they begin to smell fragrant and turn a golden brown. Don’t leave them alone as they will very quickly burn so keep shaking the pan.
  • Tip the drained red peppers into a food processor with the almonds, garlic, vinegar, paprika, and a pinch of salt, then blitz until it is a thick, chunky paste.
  • Slowly pour in the olive oil as you continue to blitz the paste until it becomes your desired consistency. You’re looking for something smooth but thick.

Recipe Video

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