Meet your new go-to “make everything delicious” sauce: Romesco!
Knowing how to make a couple of quick and delicious sauces is an ideal way to amp up the flavor of your dinner rotation without putting a crazy amount of extra time in. The bright red-orange beauty known as Romesco Sauce is my favorite way to level-up dinner as of late, with notes that are decidedly smoky, savory, and acidic. It comes together in 5-minutes or less with totally clean ingredients and pairs well with so many things that you might want to keep a jar in the fridge at all times.
The fella follows a pretty low-carb Keto diet and as a result many of the sauces that he gravitates toward tend to be mayo or cream-based, which I sometimes get burnt out on. This Romesco Sauce is a perfect solution for us as it fits his low-carb diet, but swaps the mayo and cream for a rich blend of almonds + roasted peppers + tomatoes + citrus + herbs + spices.
* Though, for those who aren’t averse to a few carbs, you’ll likely be wiping every last drop of your plate with a torn piece of baguette. I wouldn’t even judge you too harshly if you licked the plate.
Origins of Romesco Sauce
Romesco originated in Tarragona, Catalonia, a port city in the northeastern region of Spain. Fishermen in Tarragona made romesco sauce to be served with the fish they caught, with the resulting sauce generally comprised of roasted tomatoes, garlic, bixto peppers, olive oil, and nuts; almonds, pine nuts, and hazelnuts being most common.
My Romesco Sauce Ingredients
- Roasted Red Peppers – These are incredibly easy to find at most grocery stores down the olive isle. My favorite option to use is the Whole Foods 365 Fire Roasted Red Peppers. You’ll want to use the whole 16oz. jar (drained) for this recipe.
- Roasted Tomatoes – Though you could probably get away with using fresh tomatoes right from your garden, I really prefer to use tomatoes that have been peeled and roasted for maximum flavor. These Muir Glen Fire Roasted Whole Tomatoes are my absolute favorite. You won’t use the entire can for this recipe, closer to 2/3, but the leftovers are delicious smashed into eggs in the morning.
- Whole Roasted Almonds – I generally buy these right in the bulk bin and store them in my freezer for easy access. If you prefer, I think this Romesco sauce is also lovely with roasted hazelnuts too.
- Garlic Oil – As a SIBO sufferer I don’t tolerate whole garlic very well, so instead I use a great garlic-infused oil. Trader Joe’s makes an excellent Garlic-Infused Olive Oil, though you can feel free to substitute whole garlic + olive oil if you don’t have a garlic intolerance. I’ve included a measurement for this swap in the recipe below.
- Italian Parsley – Also known as “flat-leaf” parsley, this herb is a staple in my house. Sick of quickly wilting leaves? Store it root side down in a jar with 2 inches of water in the fridge. Storing it this way has helped my herbs last so much longer once cut or bought.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – My go-to vinegar for so many recipes (including this one) is Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with “the mother.” If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, you can absolutely substitute for an alternative vinegar in this recipe. Check out this post for a run-down of the various flavor notes you can find in other pantry-staple vinegars to help you narrow down your choice.
- Lemon Zest + Juice – It always breaks my heart a little bit when people juice a lemon and completely ignore the gorgeous pure lemon flavor in the zest. This recipe uses both zest and juice to add pure lemon flavor and a complex acidity to the sauce. Two of the most well-loved tools in my kitchen are my zester/microplane and my citrus juicer.
- Smoked Paprika – This adds additional smokiness to the sauce alongside the roasted tomatoes and peppers.
- Cayenne Pepper – This ingredient is totally optional, but great if you want to add just the hint of a kick to your sauce. It’s also perfectly delicious without the cayenne if that isn’t your thing.
- Sea Salt – Good salt can make a world of difference in any dish. My favorite salt staple is this Jacobsen Salt Co. Sea Salt. It’s a great medium/fine coarse salt and I love that I’m supporting a local Portland business.
- Cracked Black Pepper – Keeping peppercorns on hand for my grinder seems like such a simple thing, but it’s so much better than the preground alternative. These are the peppercorns and grinder I use.
- Food Processor – Though technically a tool, not an ingredient, it is essential that you have a food processor or high-powered blender to make this recipe.
What to serve Romesco Sauce with
Romesco is an extremely versatile sauce that pairs well with everything from grilled and roasted veggies to fish, chicken, pork, steak, and tofu. This recipe makes one large 32oz jar full of sauce, so you should have plenty left over to add to additional dishes throughout the week. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it (recipes coming soon!):
- Drizzle it over top of a sheet pan dinner of roasted asparagus, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and your chosen protein.
- Use it as a saucy base for a head of roasted whole cauliflower or drizzle over cauliflower steaks with a sprinkle of nuts.
- It’s particularly lovely on heartier roasted vegetables like squash and potatoes. Delicata and sweet potatoes are my absolute favorites come fall.
- Poach eggs in it and serve with salty cheese and a sprinkle of parsley, cilantro, or basil. Serve with gluten-free baguettes or pita.
- Poach shrimp in it, add briny olives, a sprinkle of parsley, and serve with gluten-free baguettes or pita.
- Poach white fish or salmon in it. Add a few cherry tomatoes for a pop of texture and add an extra squeeze of lemon.
- Level up that rotisserie chicken you picked up on your way home. Drizzle, dip, and devour!
- Sub pasta sauce for romesco for all noodles and zoodles. Add a sprinkle of parmesan, of course!
- Use it as a base sauce for pizza and flatbread.
- Swirl in a bowl of hummus or labneh cheese, add olives or chopped cucumber. Serve with crudites, pita chips, or bread.
- Slather it on a sandwich or in a wrap. It’s particularly lovely with turkey, tuna, or halloumi.
- Roast with a block of feta cheese, olives, and thyme. Serve with gluten-free baguette or pita.
A note for special diets
This Romesco Sauce is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, low-carb, and Vegetarian. It is friendly for Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 diets.
Pantry Staples & Kitchen Tools
Want to know what my favorite pantry staples are? Or, are you looking for an upgrade to your kitchen tools? Check out my pantry staples shop page and kitchen tools shop page to find these and other Whip & Wander favorites.
Romesco Sauce is a decidedly smoky, savory, and acidic sauce that comes together in 5-minutes or less and fits Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 diets.
- 16oz jar Fire Roasted Red Peppers, drained (12oz without liquid)
- 6 whole fire roasted tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup roasted almonds, unsalted (you may also sub roasted hazelnuts if you prefer)
- 3 tbsp garlic oil (may sub 3 cloves garlic + 3 tbsp olive oil)
- 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Add all ingredients to your food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until the mixture has reached your desired level of smoothness. I like mine a little on the chunky side because I like the texture, but you can blend until it’s perfectly smooth and creamy if you prefer.
- The mixture should fill a 32oz glass mason jar. Use immediately or store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 10 days.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 1/4 cup
- Calories: 75
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 147 mg
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 4 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2 g