Romesco sauce is something I discovered a few years ago when writing our Everyday Cooking Cookbook.
We had a lovely market near our apartment at the time that had this creamy, dairy-free red sauce called romesco. I was shocked. I’d never seen something so beautiful that tasted so creamy and wonderful that didn’t have dairy! I had to investigate.
Origin of Romesco Sauce
Like many foods, it’s unclear where exactly romesco was first created. But the version that most resembles those seen today is believed to have originated in Spain in the 16th century.
Romesco is a simple sauce that’s incredibly versatile and typically starts with roasted tomatoes. But because I’m a sucker for a sweeter sauce, our version uses roasted red peppers instead.
How to Make This Romesco Sauce
For those short on time, roasted red peppers in oil can be bought at the store, which would make this more of a 5-minute recipe.
But for those roasting, this is still a 30-minute, 7-ingredient recipe.
While your red peppers are roasting, toast some shaved or slivered almonds in a pan (whole almonds may be used, too) and chop your garlic.
Once your peppers are charred, steam for a few minutes, then carefully remove the charred skin, seeds, and stems, and add to a blender.
To round out the sauce you’ll need a pinch of salt, a little olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of red pepper flake — that’s it.
I think romesco is so charming because it can be made virtually any time of year with ingredients you likely have on hand right now.
Even the texture is customizable. You can blend until completely creamy and smooth, or pulse until only small bits of almonds remain. We prefer somewhere in between: mostly smooth with a few pieces of almond and garlic intact.
We hope you LOVE this sauce! It’s:
This would make the perfect sauce for just about any roasted vegetable — especially potatoes, such as in this Simple Patatas Bravas. It also pairs beautifully with pasta dishes, like this Chili Garlic Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower. Or, use it as a flavor-booster in Buddha Bowls and Breakfast Bowls with roasted vegetables, a fried egg or vegan scrambled egg, and plenty of avocado.
Into sauces? (Us, too!) Be sure to check out our 10-Minute Chimichurri Sauce, 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce, 3-Ingredient Tahini Sauce for Everything, 5-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce, and Easy DIY Harissa Paste.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Romesco Sauce
- 2 medium red bell peppers, left whole
- 4 Tbsp slivered or flaked almonds (if avoiding almonds, try another nut or seed)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (if avoiding oil, sub water)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 heaping tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp red chili flake (reduce or omit for less heat, but it does help balance the sweetness)
- Heat an oven to 500 degrees F (260 C) and line a baking sheet with foil (avoid parchment paper, which will burn and disintegrate at higher temps). Roast for about 20 minutes, or until nearly blackened on all sides. (Alternatively, roast your pepper over an open flame on a grill or gas stovetop until tender and charred on all sides — about 5 minutes). Then wrap in foil to steam for a few minutes (this will help the skin come off more easily).
- In the meantime, toast almonds over medium-low heat in a dry skillet, stirring frequently, being careful not to burn. Toast until light golden brown — about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
- Unwrap bell peppers and carefully remove charred skin, stems, and seeds (be careful as they’ll still be hot). Then add to a small food processor or blender along with toasted almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and chili flake.
- Either blend until creamy and smooth, or pulse / blend for a few seconds for a chunkier texture. We like a texture that’s somewhere in between: mostly creamy with a few bits of almonds and garlic intact.
- Add more olive oil or water to make it creamier. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon for acidity, garlic for zing, salt to taste, or chili flake for heat. We added a bit more of each.
*Adapted from Madeleine Shaw’s cookbook, Ready Steady Glow.