Authentic Spanish Romesco Sauce

Authentic Spanish Romesco Sauce Recipe - Easy & Flavourful

Discover the rich, nutty flavors of traditional Catalan romesco sauce with this authentic recipe. Perfect for elevating seafood, meats, vegetables and more!

Imagine biting into a hot dog in Spain, only to find it topped with Dijon mustard and pickled slaw. While tasty, it’s not quite right. That’s how many Spaniards feel about Americanized romesco sauce recipes. Let’s explore how to make a more authentic version of this versatile Catalan condiment.

What Is Romesco Sauce?

Originating in Tarragona, a coastal city near Barcelona, romesco sauce traditionally combines nuts, tomatoes, dried peppers, garlic, bread, olive oil, and vinegar. This flavor-packed sauce pairs wonderfully with grilled vegetables, fish, meat, or simply spread on crusty bread.

Romesco’s versatility knows no bounds. Stir it into stews, toss with pasta, use as a salad dressing, or get creative with your own culinary experiments. Once you master this recipe, you’ll want to keep a batch in your fridge at all times!

Key Ingredients for Authentic Romesco

1. Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

Skip the raw ingredients. Roasting tomatoes and garlic deepens their flavors, concentrates sweetness, and allows you to pack more tomato punch without watering down the sauce.

2. Dried Peppers: The Secret Weapon

While many recipes call for roasted bell peppers, authentic romesco uses dried Spanish peppers like ñoras or choriceros. These add a complex, slightly bitter depth that fresh peppers can’t match. If you can’t find ñoras, ancho chiles make a good substitute.

3. The Perfect Nut Blend

Almonds and hazelnuts are the classic choices. Toast them to enhance flavor and remove skins for the best texture. Feel free to experiment with ratios or even try adding pine nuts or walnuts for your own twist.

Traditional vs. Modern Preparation

For the most authentic texture and flavor, use a mortar and pestle to crush and blend the ingredients. This method releases more oils and flavor compounds than electric appliances. However, a food processor or blender will still produce delicious results if you’re short on time or arm strength!

Romesco Sauce Recipe


  • 2 or 3 tomatoes (5 1/5 ounces or 150g each), cored (see note)
  • 1 medium head garlic, unpeeled, split in half
  • 1 ounce (30g) dried ñora peppers (about 4) or ancho chile peppers (about 3); (see note)
  • 1 slice toasted or stale bread (1 1/2 ounces; 40g), any thick and heavy crusts removed, bread broken into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) red wine or sherry vinegar, plus more if desired
  • 1/2 cup skinned and toasted almonds and/or hazelnuts (2 3/4 ounces; 80g); (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if desired
  • Kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with foil. Roast tomatoes and half the garlic head for about 1 hour, until lightly charred. Cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, soak dried peppers in boiling water for 30 minutes to 1 hour until fully softened. Drain, remove stems and seeds, then scrape flesh from skins.
  3. Peel skins from cooled tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves.
  4. Mortar and Pestle Method: Smash 3 cloves roasted garlic and 1-2 cloves raw garlic to a paste. Add bread moistened with vinegar and smash. Crush in nuts, pepper flesh, and tomatoes. Mix in olive oil. Season with salt and adjust oil/vinegar to taste.
  5. Blender Method: Blend garlic, nuts, tomatoes, and pepper flesh until smooth. Add bread, oil, and vinegar. Blend to desired consistency. Season and adjust as needed.
  6. Food Processor Method: Pulse garlic, bread, and nuts until finely chopped. Add tomatoes and peppers, process to a paste. Mix in oil and vinegar. Season to taste.

Recipe Notes

Using three tomatoes creates a thinner, milder sauce. Experiment with different nut combinations to find your favorite flavor profile. Romesco can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Serving Suggestions

Try your homemade romesco sauce with:

  • Grilled seafood or chicken
  • Roasted vegetables
  • As a dip for crusty bread
  • Stirred into pasta or grain bowls
  • Spread on sandwiches

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
60 Calories
5g Fat
4g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 78mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 118mg 3%
*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.

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