Bright yet smoky, no-cook romesco sauce is the perfect weeknight sauce recipe. This Spanish red pepper sauce comes together in just 5 minutes using pantry staples and is gluten-free. Originally know for topping off freshly grilled fish it can be used on grilled chicken, vegetables, even as a pasta sauce. It doesn't matter how you use romesco sauce, because it makes everything taste better!
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We have been grilling every night for weeks, or at least it seems that way, and I was in need of quick no-cook sauces that don’t make a mess in the kitchen. Of course, I had to call on my old friend, the classic Spanish romesco, and make him into a smoky no-cook version. I am totally smitten.
What is Romesco Sauce?
Romesco sauce is a Spanish, technically Catalan, red pepper-based sauce. Sometimes called salbitxada, it typically includes raw nuts, such as almonds or pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Most common preparations include tomatoes and vinegar.
It is a versatile sauce that has many variations and uses. Definitely a condiment you can make your own!
I love this recipe because it is quick and easy. Just kidding! I love it because it is a sauce that can be made with pantry (and garden) staples.
- Roasted Red Peppers- I typically use jarred red peppers because they are softer than freshly roasted peppers. You can substitute fresh red or orange bell peppers using our how to roast peppers guide. You can use any color sweet bell pepper from yellow to red.
- Almonds- You want to use an unsalted slivered almond to speed up the process (also we don't want to make an almond paste). Almonds should be toasted in a dry pan over medium-low heat and cooled before using. Looking for an authentic substitute? Try hazelnuts!
- Tomato Paste- We use paste, which is a little unique, to create a thicker sauce and a more intense sweet flavor. Plain tomato sauce can be substituted
- Red Wine Vinegar- You can use red wine or sherry vinegar. A squeeze of lemon is extra, but always a nice touch.
- Smoked Paprika- Can you use regular paprika? Sure. Will it be romesco sauce? Ummm, no. Sorry but the smokiness is just the roasted red peppers. Smoked paprika is a must (and so totally worth it!!!).
- Garlic, Parsley, and Cayenne Pepper.
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth but not thin. We use almonds, preferably toasted, and red wine vinegar for a light hit of acid. Romesco sauce can be served cold or warm.
By using tomato paste instead of whole tomatoes we cut the need for cooking. You can use this Spanish sauce right away or store it in an airtight container for 10 to 14 days. This recipe can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to use Romesco Sauce
Originally used as a topping for fish romesco sauce brings a smoky peppery but not overtly spicy flavor to so many dishes. Here is how we use our no-cook romesco sauce:
- Over grilled or poached fish, we especially like it with poached cod
- Over grilled chicken on a salad
- As a dip for veggies or bread
- Over patatas bravas
- As a liquid for quick braising spinach or kale, add crunchy chickpeas for a texture bonus
- Over roasted veggies like zucchini and eggplant
- Or stir into gluten-free pasta with shredded chicken and a handful of spinach, dinner is served
Are you feeling inspired? Let us know in the comments how you plan to use your next batch of romesco sauce!
- Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Process on medium-high until mixture is smooth but grainy.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat the sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, if desired.
- Romesco sauce will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 10 to 14 days or up to three months in the freezer