Authentic Salsa Romesco Recipe – Catalan Pepper Sauce

This salsa romesco recipe is a versatile, vegan Catalan sauce that works well on grilled veggies, meats, or fish. It’s a recipe I learned while living in Catalonia, Spain. There are a variety of ways to make romesco sauce, but this one is a bit easier, trying to take the authentic flavors and make them easy to make anywhere. 

*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMERAs an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What Is Salsa Romesco

I often feel like I’m a broken record when I am repeatedly saying that Spain has a regional cuisine. But after over a decade of traveling to Spain, and after spending three years in Catalonia, I know this for a fact. There are certain dishes that are unique to Catalonia, the region in Northeast Spain, north of Barcelona, that we called home. 

Salsa Romesco, or Romesco dressing, is thick and smoky sauce that is most normally associated with calcots. It’s from the area around Tarragona, just south of where we lived in Girona. But this sauce goes well with all sorts of grilled or roasted meats, vegetables, and even vegetables. 

Authentic Salsa Romesco Recipe - Catalan Pepper Sauce
Authentic Salsa Romesco Recipe – Catalan Pepper Sauce

Learn more about Catalan and Spanish regional cooking:

Catalan Food Guide: Must Eat Catalan Cuisine And Dishes

Spain Food Guide – What To Eat In Spain

The Best Authentic Spanish Tapas Recipes

Romesco sauce recipe

Ingredients For Salsa Romesco Recipe

This red pepper Romesco sauce is a classic Mediterranean dish, made with local, fresh vegetables and olive oil. Like many Spanish recipes, the base includes olive oil, garlic, and onion along with tomatoes and red bell peppers. The recipe is made thick with almonds and hazelnuts as well as dried bread. 

Key ingredients for Romesco recipe 

  • Tomatoes
  • Red bell Pepper
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Roasted almonds
  • Roasted hazelnuts
  • Dried, stale bread
  • Ñora pepper paste, ancho chilli paste, or tomato paste
  • Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper

See more of our Spanish recipes:

Tasty Spanish Vegan Tapas Recipes

Spanish Pisto Recipe – Vegan Spanish Ratatouille

Recipe for Romesco sauce

How To Get The Romesco Smoky

Traditionally, the red peppers are cooked over an open flame, either on a grill or a gas stove. This is a more complicated process. So, I made this a more easy salsa Romesco. Another key ingredient for a traditional salsa Romesco is ñora pepper paste. This is a traditional Spanish ingredient that might be hard to find outside of Spain. 

There are a few alternatives here. First, an alternative for the ñora pepper paste is ancho chili paste, to add a smoky flavor. Or, in the end, any tomato paste would work to help to thicken the sauce along with a ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika to add the smoky flavor. 

Also, a touch of vinegar helps to add an acidity to the sauce and gives it that tang that offsets the smokiness.

How To Make This Recipe For Romesco Sauce

Preheat the oven to 390F. Place the tomatoes, red pepper, onion, and garlic in aluminum foil. Drizzle the vegetables in one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Close the vegetables in aluminum foil and cook in the oven for about 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender and juicy. This way of cooking or roasting vegetables is known as escalivada in Catalonia. You can serve the vegetables as they are as a side dish.

But, to make the salsa romesco recipe let the vegetables cool down. Then, peel them with your hands, removing the skins from the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. While the vegetables are cooking you can use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to crush the almonds, hazelnuts, and dried bread until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the roasted vegetables and the crushed bread and nuts.

Add in the ñora paste or tomato paste. Add in ½ cup of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Using a hand blender, immersion blender, or food processor, blend the Romesco sauce until smooth. 

How To Serve Classic Romesco Sauce

Romesco recipe

The most classic and traditional way to serve Spanish romesco sauce is with grilled calcots. Calcots are part of the leek family. They are large leeks, or spring onions, that are grilled on an open flame. It’s common to host calçotadas in February – big celebrations involving wine, calçots, and romesco! The salsa de calçots that is served alongside the grilled leeks is a romesco. But, that’s not the only way to serve this classic Spanish sauce. 

Because this is a vegan Spanish recipe, it can be the perfect topping for even zucchini noodles or grilled vegetables. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, add this sauce to grilled meats including steak, as well as grilled or baked fish, or even roasted chicken. 

Yield: 1 cup

Authentic Salsa Romesco Recipe

Authentic Salsa Romesco Recipe - Catalan Pepper Sauce

This salsa romesco recipe is for a versatile, vegan Catalan sauce that works well on grilled veggies, meats, or fish. It’s one I learned while living in Catalonia, Spain. There are a variety of ways to make romesco sauce, but this one is a bit easier, trying to take the authentic flavors and make them easy to make anywhere.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes, whole
  • 1 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut in half
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon olive oil to roast the vegetables
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 small slices of dried bread (from a few days before)
  • 1/4 cup ñora paste, ancho chillies paste or tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 390F.
  2. Place the tomatoes, red pepper, onion, and garlic in aluminum foil. Drizzle the vegetables in one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Close the aluminum foil and cook in the oven for about 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender and juicy.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking you can use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to crush the almonds, hazelnuts, and dried bread until smooth.
  4. After the vegetables have cooled, peel them with your hands, removing the skins from the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the roasted vegetables and the crushed bread and nuts.
  6. Add in the ñora paste or tomato paste.
  7. Add in ½ cup of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
  8. Using a hand blender, immersion blender, or food processor, blend the Romesco sauce until smooth.

Notes

    • First, an alternative for the ñora pepper paste is ancho chili paste, to add a smoky flavor. Or, in the end, any tomato paste would work to help to thicken the sauce along with a ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika to add the smoky flavor.
    • This way of cooking or roasting vegetables is known as escalivada in Catalonia. You can serve the vegetables as they are as a side dish.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 251mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g

This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Salsa Romesco vs. Salsa Romanesco

I think the internet tends to confuse these two terms. They are entirely different. Romesco is the smoky red pepper sauce from Catalonia, in Spain. Romanesco is a spiky green vegetable, like a spiky broccoli. I love the vegetable romanesco, and we make a lot of pasta dishes. It’s also possible to make a pasta sauce with romanesco, but it is way different from romesco!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to Recipe