Spanish Romesco Sauce

A classic Spanish romesco sauce recipe made with roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic, and tomatoes. Serve as a dip or a sauce!

how to make Spanish Romesco Sauce
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?

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.

Romesco Sauce in a bowl
Elise Bauer

Spanish Romesco Sauce

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 12 servings
Yield 1 1/2 cups

You can swap the canned tomatoes for 1 pound fresh tomatoes that have been parboiled, skins removed, and deseeded.


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 (1-inch-thick) slice crusty bread, torn into pieces

  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped or slivered (can substitute hazelnuts, peeled)

  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or canned whole tomatoes (including the juice) that have been deseeded

  • 1 (8-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (preferred) or sweet paprika

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  1. Sauté the 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—tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, vinegar, smoked paprika, and salt. 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.

    pink shrimp with spanish romesco sauce
    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
102 Calories
8g Fat
7g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 102
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 280mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 35mg 176%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 194mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.