This recipe is for a (quite) traditional Spanish Romesco sauce that is flavorful, a bit spicy, slightly tangy and absolutely delicious. This sauce almost requires no effort from your end and is mostly taken care of by the oven. Serve this Romesco sauce as a dip sauce, condiment or together with grilled vegetables, fish or chicken. This Romesco sauce is vegan, gluten, grain and dairy free.
Spanish Romesco sauce originates from Valls, Tarragona in Catalonia Spain. It is made with roasted tomatoes, garlic, bell pepper, ñora pepper, roasted almonds, hazelnuts/pine nuts and olive oil. Other common ingredients that can be used is vinegar, mint, lemon, onion but also bread to thicken the sauce. Romesco sauce was made by fishermen and originally served with fish, but is today also commonly served with grilled vegetables, seafood, poultry, lamb and other meats. A romesco sauce is a lovely mix of spicy, fresh, slightly tangy, sweet and roasted flavors. If you ask me, if should not be completely smooth, rather slightly grainy with small pieces of nuts and vegetables left. This is really a lovely sauce that is great to make all year round and serve with just about everything! My version is made without any bread, but can be added if desired and using less olive oil than a regular one, since I prefer it not too heavy.
A few tips:
- You can use tomatoes of different kinds and colors to add a wider variety of tastes to the sauce.
- I prefer to roast the garlic still in the skin. That way it turns out more tender, juicy and flavorful. But you can peel the cloves in advance if preferred. But then they will be ready faster than if you bake a whole garlic head.
- Don’t forget to cut a cross at the bottom of each tomato to prevent it from exploding in the oven.
- The tomatoes and bell pepper is ready when it is all soft, the skin has turned slightly wrinkly and it is browned.
- Let the tomatoes and bell pepper cool before peeling it to avoid from burning your fingers.
- A traditional recipe calls for ñora pepper, but. if you can’t find it you can use ancho pepper or bell pepper instead.
- I used almonds (un-balanced even though a traditional recipe calls for blanched almonds) and hazelnuts in my romesco sauce. You can also use only almonds, only hazelnuts or replace the hazelnut with pine nuts.
- You can adjust the texture by adding more water/olive oil to make it thinner or adding bread to make it thicker.
Ingredients for this Spanish Romesco Sauce:
- Red bell pepper
- Ñora pepper (alternatively anchos or bell pepper)
- Gluten Free white bread (optional)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
Other recipes you might like:
- Rhubarb & Peach Salsa (Vegan & Sugar Free)
- Plum Chutney (Refined Sugar Free)
- Balsamic Roasted Summer Fruits & Berries (Vegan, Gluten, Grain, Oil & Refined Sugar Free)
- Charred Scallion Salsa (Vegan, Gluten, Grain Free & Low Carb)
Spanish Romesco Sauce (Vegan, Gluten, Grain, Dairy Free)
- 4-5 Tomatoes (I used Otello tomatoes)
- 1 whole Garlic
- 1 Red bell pepper cut in half and deseeded
- 1-2 Nora pepper (ancho pepper or bell pepper)
- 10 Almonds
- 10 Hazelnuts
- 1 slice Gluten free white bread (can be omitted)
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 1/4 dl Olive oil + more to bake the vegetables
- Sea salt, to taste
- Place the Nora pepper in a bowl of hot water to let make it softer.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
- Cut a cross at the bottom of each tomato to avoid it from exploding in the oven. Place in a baking safe oven dish with the cross cut side up.
- Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds. Place in the baking dish with the skin side up. Add the whole garlic head. Drizzle everything with just a little bit of olive oil and place in the oven.
- Check on the vegetables every now and then. After 35-45 minute, when the garlic head is golden brown and soft on the inside remove from the oven. Bake tomatoes and bell pepper until charred and soft. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile dry roast the almonds and hazelnuts in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown.
- Remove the seeds from the ancho pepper.
- Peel the tomatoes and bell pepper. Remove the garlic from their skin. Place in an high speed blender and mix until smooth.
- Add the vinegar, olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, sea salt and bread (if using) and mix until the sauce is almost smooth, but still looks slightly grainy. You want it to have some texture and feel some of the nut pieces when eating.
- Taste to check the seasoning, add more vinegar, sea salt, pepper if needed. You can adjust the thickness of the sauce by either adding a little bit of water if you want it thinner or adding some (more) bread if you want it thicker.
- Pour into a clean (important) jar, store in the fridge for up to seven days.