Romesco Sauce

bowl of homemade romesco sauce topped with pine nuts, parsley and smoked paprika
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Deeply smoky, with a nutty richness that comes from a healthy-fat triple threat of olive oil, almonds and pine nuts, our easy romesco sauce recipe is a Catalan classic that brings a little Spanish flare to everything it touches. 

Sketches of Spain—That You Can Eat. 

So often in the summertime, we’re up too late. We wait for the air to take a turn—for the day’s swelter to soften into a gentler warmth. When that cool breeze finally hits, appetite comes right along with it—and usually a ravenous one. It’s 9pm, and we’re cool at last and suddenly starving. But it’s too late to eat a real dinner—plus, who wants to turn on the stove? And so we turn to Spain—that glorious bastion of late-night dining—for snacking inspiration and remember the infamous Catalonian romesco sauce. Whipping up a bowlful of romesco can transform an unsatisfying mish-mash of leftover tidbits into an elegant, indulgent tapas spread. 

a spoonful of homemade romesco sauce over a bowl

What Is Romesco Sauce? 

Is it a sauce? A dip? A spread? It’s all of the above, and then some! Romesco is a classic Spanish sauce hailing from Catalonia. Enjoyed as a spread, a dip or a sauce, salsa romesco traditionally includes roasted red peppers, garlic, paprika, nuts and vinegar. Romesco also often features grilled bread, and even wine—there is no one “true” romesco. In fact, food writer Patience Gray wrote of romesco: 

“The variations of this sauce are legion, secrecy surrounds the method and there is no common agreement among fishermen or cooks about its creation. The annual romescada at Cambrils...is a kind of challenge to fishermen to produce the ‘best’ romesco.”

In other words, for us to claim that our romesco recipe is....

The Most Authentic, Best Romesco Sauce Recipe, Ever

Would be completely insane. Well, the “authentic” part is insane—not the “best romesco ever” part. Because it really is. Not only is our romesco sauce vegan—OK, so most romesco sauce is vegan—it’s healthy, easy and so delicious. We skipped the grilled country bread because it’s not a reliable pantry staple (at least not for us). And we’ve included pine nuts in addition to almonds, because we love the subtle richness of pine nuts as a backbone for this otherwise quite assertive, acidic sauce. Last but not least, our romesco recipe is made in a blender rather than with a mortar and pestle—again, because we want you to make this delicious sauce as often as the whim strikes! And that means it’s got to be easy.

An Easy Romesco Sauce, Built From the Pantry. 

Our easy romesco sauce recipe is true to the flavors of authentic Spanish romesco but makes use of pantry staples to simplify the process of making it. If you’d really like to roast peppers and tomatoes slowly over an open flame, we say good for you! As for us, we’ll be over here with our can opener and high-speed blender, eating our homemade romesco sauce while we wait a few hours for yours to be ready. 

In order to achieve a deep, rich, smoky flavor, try not to sub anything out—our romesco ingredient list isn’t long, and it’s best to follow it precisely. You’ll need: 

  • Nuts! Romesco sauce recipes always include a nut of some kind—almost always almonds, and sometimes hazelnuts or pine nuts. We love the rich-yet-mild combination of blanched almonds and pine nuts, but you could also use just almonds if you want to keep things really simple. 
  • Canned, fire-roasted tomatoes. The “fire-roasted” part is really essential—romesco should have a heady sort of depth to it, and fire-roasted tomatoes will have plenty of that. 
  • Roasted red peppers. Same as the tomatoes—roasty, smoky, goodness and all you have to do is open a jar. 
  • Parsley. For a little herbaceous lightness. 
  • Pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika). Not to be confused with sweet, Hungarian paprika! Pimentón is a smoked paprika comes from the La Vera region of Spain—look for it in very adorable little tins labeled “Pimenton de la Vera”. Whether you prefer the sweet (dulce) or spicy (picante) version, both deliver an incredible dose of bold, rich, smoky flavor to any dish and will make this romesco taste just the way it’s supposed to. 
  • Olive oil. Olive oil gives this romesco dip (or sauce, or spread, or whatever you’d like to call it) a gorgeous creaminess that makes it taste really luscious and indulgent (even though, in fact, it’s vegan!). 
  • Sherry vinegar. Nutty, complex and delicious, sherry has been having a moment—rightly so!—for a while now. Isn’t it time sherry vinegar had it’s moment? If you were making Caprese salad, you wouldn’t reach for anything but balsamic, so for making romesco sauce, you’ll want to reach for Spain’s most famous vinegar.
  • Garlic. Of course! 
bowl of homemade romesco sauce topped with pine nuts, parsley and smoked paprika

3 Classic Tapas Recipes to Go With Your Romesco Sauce: 

What goes with romesco sauce? Well, there are about as many romesco sauce uses as there are variations on the recipe—which is to say, it goes with just about everything! Any sort of leftover veggies can be livened up when you serve them with a bowl of romesco for dipping. We love to serve it as part of a classic Spanish tapas spread along with these other Spanish recipes: 

Tools You’ll Need: 

(You really just need a blender.) 

  • A blender.
  • An appetite is helpful, but not required. 
bowl of homemade romesco sauce topped with pine nuts, parsley and smoked paprika

Easy, Right? 

Once you’ve made this romesco recipe and see for yourself how easy it can be to whip up something as tasty as romesco sauce at home, we want to hear how you felt about it! Snap a photo & tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper.Happy eating!

Romesco Sauce

Serves 10

Ingredients

3/4 cup blanched almonds (or Marcona)
1/4 cup pine nuts (or more almonds or hazelnuts)
1 (14 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp smoked (Spanish) paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar (or lemon juice)
3 garlic cloves, smashed

Method

Combine all of the romesco ingredients in a high speed blender add and blend until smooth.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.