Romesco Sauce Recipe: A Traditional Condiment from Catalonia
Have you ever tasted the Spanich sauce known as romesco? Romesco sauce originates from the Catalonia region of Spain, where fishermen are said to have first used this flavorful sauce to top their fresh catches of seafood. (1)
So what is romesco sauce exactly? The classic base pretty much always includes a mix of roasted red peppers, tomato and nuts with olive oil and garlic. If you already love sofrito sauce (also known as Spanish tomato sauce), then this romesco sauce recipe is likely right up your alley! Romesco is a sauce that is just as interesting as sofrito, yet it has a unique flavor that is all its own.
Romesco sauce or salsa romesco (salsa means “sauce” in Spanish) is packed with flavor as well as nutrition. With ingredients like raw almonds, roasted red peppers, fire roasted tomatoes, parsley and apple cider vinegar, it’s no surprise that this romesco sauce recipe packs a powerful punch of disease-fighting antioxidants. Are you ready to learn just how easy it is to make such an impressively rich and classically flavorful sauce? It only takes about five minutes and warning: people may just think you took a course on Spanish cuisine after they taste your homemade romesco.
What is Romesco Sauce?
What is romesco? Romesco sauce, often shortened simply to “romesco” is one of the most classic sauces of Spanish cuisine. However, there doesn’t appear to be a truly standard recipe or list of ingredients for romesco sauce. (2) In general though, romesco sauce typically includes peppers and some type of nut as its base. Other common ingredients include olive oil, garlic, roasted tomatoes and red wine vinegar.
I’m including all of these tasty ingredients in my recipe, but I’m also adding in some olives, and I’m swapping out the red wine vinegar for the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
It’s common for romesco sauce to include almonds or hazelnuts as the nut of choice. Nuts are definitely a must in any good romesco sauce, and this romesco recipe includes heart-healthy and fiber-rich raw almonds. There are many variations on romesco sauce, but this recipe sticks with the most classic and healthiest romesco ingredient options.
Now, the fun part — the many ways you can use romesco sauce.
Romesco Sauce Uses
Romesco sauce uses are really quite endless. It all depends on what sounds good to you! Some truly tasty ways to use this romesco sauce include:
- As a topping for a piece of grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken or fish
- Drizzled over grilled or steamed veggies
- Mixed into mashed potatoes or mashed faux-tatoes
- Combined with cooked white beans
- Add it to homemade aioli for a really interesting condiment
- Inside of an omelette or atop scrambled eggs
- As a dip for sweet potato fries or raw veggies
- As a condiment for burgers of all varieties
- Served with stews or used to thicken soups
- Inside or on top of a burrito or tacos
- Mixed into all kinds of rice and noodle dishes
One serving of this delicious and highly nutritious romesco sauce contains about: (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
- 164 calories
- 3.4 grams protein
- 7.9 grams carbohydrates
- 13 grams fat
- 1.3 grams fiber
- 1 gram sugar
- 806 milligrams sodium
- 31 milligrams vitamin C (52 percent DV)
- 1103 IUs vitamin A (22 percent DV)
- 0.6 milligrams iron (3.3 percent DV)
- 31 milligrams calcium (3 percent DV)
Thanks mainly to all of the red peppers and tomato in this recipe, it is loaded with vitamin C as well as vitamin A. What are these two vitamins good for? Vitamin C is essential to the growth of the body’s tissues, the healing of wounds, the production of collagen, and it also helps the body to absorb iron. (16) Meanwhile, vitamin A encourages optimal vision, especially in low light. It also helps to create and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal tissue and skin. (17)
This romesco recipe also includes extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, which are two foods known for their impressive health benefits. Olive oil has been shown in scientific studies to to contain compounds that act as anti-cancer agents, which is one of the reasons why so many people seem to live so well on an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet. (18)
This recipe also includes harissa paste, which you can make yourself or buy pre-made. Either way, it is loaded with flavor and zest thanks to hot chili peppers and its wide array of spices.
How to Make Romesco Sauce
This romesco recipe couldn’t get much easier. You’re basically just going to toss all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well-combined. But I’ll break down the steps a little more for you. It’s not a must, but you likely may want to add the solid ingredients to the processor first — followed by the liquid ingredients.
First, add your roasted red peppers to the food processor.
Next, add the almonds, fire roasted tomatoes, olives and garlic.
Now add the lemon juice, harissa paste and apple cider vinegar.
Add the fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Now, you’re ready for phase one. Pulse the food processor on high until everything is well-combined.
Slowly add in the olive oil and continue pulsing until everything is mixed well.
And you’re done!
Place the romesco sauce atop cauliflower steaks, steaks, chicken, burgers or seafood or use it as a dip for sweet potato fries… the possibilities are endless!
- One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons harissa paste
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives (optional*)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional*)
- Add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor and pulse on high until well-combined.
- Slowly add in the olive oil and continue pulsing until everything is mixed well.
- Place the romesco sauce atop cauliflower steaks, steaks, chicken, burgers or seafood or use it as a dip for sweet potato fries... the possibilities are endless!