Move over sriracha — this five-ingredient easy roasted red pepper romesco sauce is a pantry essential.
This tasty sauce has literally become a staple in my fridge, right next to the other, slightly more fiery chili pepper and vinegar sauces like sriracha and harissa.
What is Romesco sauce made of?
With just five ingredients (not including salt), this roasted red pepper sauce couldn’t be easier to make. You need:
- A red bell pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sherry or red wine vinegar
- Cayenne pepper
Where does Romesco sauce come from?
Romesco is a classic Spanish sauce, typically based on red peppers and olive oil.
The texture is creamy and rich, and it’s so good served as a dip or to go with grilled meats, vegetables and eggs cooked any which way.
This is a nut-free recipe for Spanish-style romesco, which is traditionally made with almonds and sometimes hazelnuts.
It’s similar to a spicy rouille sauce, which is thickened with bread crumbs and traditionally served with classic French bouillabaisse.
It’s not as intense as a hot sauce, and it’s tempting to just eat it by the spoonful!
What makes this recipe stand out is that it’s nicely balanced with smoke, heat and tangy vinegar and tastes so good spooned over a grilled steak or chicken.
Is romesco sauce served hot or cold?
You find that romesco sauce tastes delicious either warm or at room temperature (even straight out of the fridge if you can’t wait).
I also love it in as a garnish for vegetable lunch bowls loaded up with greens, cucumbers and feta cheese.
Tips for making tasty roasted red pepper romesco:
- You can use jarred roasted peppers to save time, but the result won’t be quite as smoky and savory.
- Roast red peppers up to 3 days ahead of time — just peel, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the sauce.
- Sherry vinegar is worth seeking out — it’s rounder and less sharp than other vinegars. Some people say it falls somewhere between white wine and balsamic vinegar, but without the sweetness of the latter. If you can’t find it, substitute a good red wine vinegar.
Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Sauce
- 1 large red bell pepper, or 2 small
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- Roast the peppers on a grill, stovetop gas burner or under the broiler until blackened all over. Cool, then peel and remove the seeds.
- Put the pepper in a blender jar or bowl of a mini food processor. Add the garlic, salt, vinegar and cayenne. Pulse 5 seconds, then start pouring the oil in a steady stream while running the machine until the sauce is smooth.
- Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, cayenne or a touch of vinegar to adjust to your liking.
- The recipe doubles easily.
- The sauce keeps well up to a week, refrigerated. Bring to room temperature for best flavor before serving.