Spanish Romesco Sauce


Classic Spanish Romesco sauce, made with roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic and tomatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Okay, so I’m sort of old for this acronym, but OMG OMG OMG! Have you ever had Romesco sauce?

When I had it for the first time I nearly fell off my chair. Where had this sauce been my whole life?

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It’s a Spanish sauce, and sort of like pesto, but made with tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, garlic, and nuts. You can serve it over practically anything, from shrimp to chicken to vegetables.

I’ve been making it just to eat plain, like a dip with crackers. Or I put a dollop over baby potatoes. Or I just sneak a spoonful out of the refrigerator for a snack.

Trust me. This one is good.

Like so many regional dishes, Romesco has a gazillion varieties. Our version incorporates smoked paprika, to give a slight smokiness to the flavor of the sauce. Smoked paprika, also known as pimenton, is becoming more and more available in supermarkets, but if you can’t find any, just use regular paprika.

Spanish Romesco Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped or slivered (can substitute hazelnuts, peeled)
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, or canned whole tomatoes (including the juice) that have been de-seeded, or 1 pound fresh tomatoes that have been par-boiled, skins removed, and de-seeded
  • 1 8-ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (preferred) or sweet paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar


1 Sauté torn bread and almonds: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the bread and almonds, stirring often, until they just begin to brown.

Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2 Process with remaining ingredients: Place the contents of the sauté pan into a food processor with the remaining ingredients—salt, tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, smoked paprika, vinegar. Purée until smooth.

3 Bake: Spread the sauce out on a rimmed sheet pan and bake in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to caramelize.

Allow to cool and scrape into a container to store.

To use romesco sauce, mix with pasta, shrimp, chicken or vegetables either before or after they are cooked, much like you would a pesto.

Kept in a sealed container, Romesco sauce will last for a week or more in the fridge. It freezes well, too.

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Romesco Potatoes - from Smitten Kitchen

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pink shrimp with spanish romesco sauce

Little pink shrimp with Romesco sauce and chopped fresh parsley.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

54 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. DebSG

    Holy Cow. This is amazing. We had a working lunch at the office last week and a co-worker ordered- in from a local restaurant. She raved about this dish made with zucchini noodles, Romesco Sauce and topped with a little feta. I’d never heard of Romesco Sauce and was blown away once I tried it. I simply had to find a way to replicate the dish at home . Of course, I consulted my go-to recipe site – <3 Simply Recipes – and found this version. It was so easy to make (eh, a couple extra dishes to clean up, but worth it) and just as delicious as the local restaurant's take. Bring on the superlatives!


  2. dana

    I love this recipe, and have made it many times, most recently yesterday, when I mixed it with whole wheat fusilli and some caramelized onions to bring to a party. Everyone really liked it – thanks again!

  3. candace Jurado

    I am in love this version of romesco! I made your roasted chicken and carrots recipe for dinner and am using the left-over meat to make sandwiches slathered in romesco with provolone cheese, arugula, and avocado! Yum! Suzanne Goin also has a different version of this recipe in her cookbook Sunday Suppers At Luques in which Ancho chilies are used in place of the roasted red peppers, she adds parsley and lemon juice, it makes a spicier version that is perfect on roasted potatoes and eggs! I will enjoy having both versions in my recipe quiver indefinitely!


  4. Patricia

    I make your romescu recipe every week, and if it was up to my husband even more often. He’s from Barcelona and when I tried it first he liked it but he said it was not the same. I kept making it until I got the hang of it and now is a must on our table. All of my friends have asked for the recipe every time I take it to a party. And now even my mother in law, who is also from Barcelona! THANK YOU!

  5. susan

    FYI Italian Romanesco Sauce has anchovies in it, whereas this one doesn’t. The Italian one is to die for. Maybe I’ll add anchovies, heh?

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