This homemade romesco sauce is a traditional Spanish tomato-based sauce that brings together beautiful bright vegetables with other delicious ingredients for a balanced sauce that brings both the sweet and the heat to the table.
Romesco sauce is one of my favorite sauces for its varied flavors and rich, thick texture. I also love how it’s both customizable and versatile — you can pair this with nearly anything and you can make it your own by switching up ingredients.
If it’s your first time making a homemade sauce you’ll be excited by how easy this is. And if you’re a longtime sauce-maker, you’ll love it as well!
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What is Romesco Sauce?
Romesco sauce is a thick, flavorful sauce that is tomato-based but preprared in a way similar to pesto. Roasted fresh tomatoes and aromatics are combined with red peppers, nuts, spices, oils, and a bit of sugar to make a sauce that is both spicy and sweet.
The sauce itself was originally created by fishermen in the Spanish port city of Catalonia. While the initial purpose for the sauce was for topping fish, it’s a great addition to veggies, meats, other seafood, and even as a dip.
Why You’ll Love Romesco Sauce
There’s so much to love about this delicious sauce.
- Easy – After roasting a few of the ingredients, all you need to do is combine them with the rest of the ingredients to make this quick romesco sauce.
- Flavorful – With both sweet and spicy flavors, and nuttiness from the almonds, this sauce is bursting with flavor.
- Healthy – Heart healthy nuts and oil combine with veggies for a delicious yet healthy sauce.
- Versatile – With its vibrant flavors, this is one versatile sauce. You can top nearly any protein or vegetable with it or whip it up for a quick dip to go with bread or fresh vegetables.
Veggies, aromatics, oil, vinegar, sugar, and spices are all you need to make this simple sauce.
- Plum tomatoes – These are just the right size to roast perfectly.
- Garlic – For the best flavor, use fresh garlic cloves.The roasted garlic adds incredible depth to the flavor of the sauce.
- Yellow onion – Peeled and quarter the onion before roasting.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Using a high quality oil will give you the best flavor.
- Bread – After removing the crust be sure to cut the slices into similar sized pieces. Your bread doesn’t have to be fresh either — stale bread works just as well.
- Roasted red peppers – You can roast fresh red bell peppers but you can also purchase these jarred at the grocery store — just be sure to drain them before adding.
- Almonds – The almonds should be slivered and blanched. You can do this yourself in a matter of minutes or just purchase them this way.
- Ancho chile powder – This helps to spice up the sauce.
- Sweet paprika – Make sure to use the sweet variety of paprika to impart that flavor in the sauce.
- Sherry vinegar – Vinegar adds a touch of acidity to balance it out.
- Sugar – Using granulated sugar will work well because it dissolves easily when preparing foods.
- Coarse kosher salt – Kosher salt works well but you can opt for another variety (like sea salt) if you have a favorite.
What To Serve Romesco Sauce With
The bold flavors of romesco sauce go well with all sorts of savory foods.
- Fish – Spoon a little bit of this over any type of fish or seafood for bright, bold flavor.
- Vegetables – Toss your favorite grilled or roasted veggies in the sauce.
- Eggs – Drizzle the sauce over omelets, scrambled eggs, or a fried egg — or use it in place of hollandaise for a twist on eggs Benedict.
- Bread – Serve the sauce alongside pita, naan, or a crusty bread for dipping.
- Meat – Spread this on a bun for your burger or chicken or serve it alongside steak or pork chops.
- Potatoes – Anything from baked potatoes to roasted baby potatoes or crispy potatoes served alongside breakfast eggs will be made better with this sauce.
Variations on this Romesco Recipe
There are plenty of ways to tweak this bold sauce to give it your own signature flair.
- Heat – Increase the chile powder, add other spices like cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, or diced chili peppers.
- Vinegar – Swap out the sherry vinegar for another variety like white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- Sugar – For a sauce with a lower carb count, use your favorite alternative sweetener.
- Veggies – You can add sun-dried tomatoes,
- Nuts – Swap out some of the almonds for pine nuts. Or, for those with a nut allergy can omit them.
- Paprika – If you want less sweetness, you can substitute regular paprika for sweet. Or, if you want smoky flavor, add smoked paprika,
- Citrus – To brighten the sauce, add a splash of lemon juice when mixing the ingredients in the food processor.
- Tomatoes – If you’re really short on time you can buy prepared products instead of roasting like fire-roasted tomatoes.
- Consistency – If you want a thicker or thinner sauce, try adding tomato paste or more tomatoes.
- Herbs – Add fresh herbs from your garden or grocery store to elevate the sauce.
Common Questions About Romesco Sauce
This tomato-based sauce is garlicky with hints of both sweetness and spiciness. It’s a bright sauce that will liven up any dish you serve it with.
Tomatoes, almonds, bread, and red peppers are the main base of the sauce. Chile powder, garlic, onion, and sweet paprika are the primary spices and aromatics.
What do you eat romesco sauce with?
Romesco sauce is great as a sauce or condiment on anything that you want to give bright flavor to. Fish, meat, vegetables, and pasta are all good options.
Storage and Freezing
You can either refrigerate or freeze this sauce. If you freeze it, try doing so in an ice cube tray to make it easier to thaw in small batches.
Make Ahead: You can prepare the roasted vegetables ahead of time, refrigerate, and combine to make the sauce when ready. If so, allow the vegetables to reach room temperature before mixing.
Refrigerator: Store romesco sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freezer: Freeze romesco sauce for up to 3 months.
Other Savory Sauces
- 6 plum tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 slices bread crusts removed, cut into 1 inch squares
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers drained
- 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 1-2 tablespoon s ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Trim any woody stems from the tomatoes. Quarter and press out pulp and/or seeds using your fingers. Some remaining is fine. Place the tomatoes, garlic and onion onto the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat.
- Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove and transfer all of the vegetables and juices to a large food processor.
- Pulse until a paste forms. Add the bread, red peppers, almonds, chile powder, paprika, sherry vinegar, sugar and salt. Blend on high until mixture is combined and coarse.
- Serve immediately or heat in a saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.
I made this sauce to go on top of my roasted vegetables. It turned out amazing!
I added them to salmon last night and dinner and it was so delicious. Can’t wait to try them on eggs in the morning!
Enjoyed this with dinner last night and it was a savory success! It added the perfect amount of flavor to dinner, and was super easy to make! Definitely, a new favorite recipe!
You absolutely nailed the sweet heat element of this delicious sauce! Thank you for this so much, I can’t wait to make it again.