Salsa Romesco

How To Make The Perfect Salsa Romesco


December 13, 2021

If you love fiery and tomato-based foods, you’ll want to try salsa romesco.

This Spanish sauce is made with roasted red peppers, charred tomatoes, and is thickened with bread and toasted nuts. You can make it even spicier by adding ingredients such as vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes. 

What foods do you eat salsa romesco with?

Romesco sauce makes a great addition to foods such as fish and meat, but you can also enjoy it with vegetables or pasta. Romesco sauce tastes smoky, earthy, and a bit sweet. It also has a hint of warmth that releases its flavors.

Here’s your guide to making delicious romesco sauce at home. 

Brief History Of Romesco Sauce 

How To Make The Perfect Salsa Romesco

The word “romesco” comes from the Mozarabic word “remescolar” which means to blend or mix. “Salsa,” on the other hand, is a Spanish word for “sauce.” Therefore, romesco salsa is a blended sauce.

This Spanish sauce was invented in a port city called Tarragona in Catalonia, around the 15th century. This area is the northeastern region of Spain and linked to France.

When fishermen in Tarragona caught fish, they would make a romesco sauce to give the fish more flavor. 

This early version of romesco salsa contained ingredients such as garlic, dried peppers, and dry bread. By the 16th century, Spain imported tomatoes from Mexico and this ingredient was added to the sauce. 

How To Make Salsa Romesco 

How To Make The Perfect Salsa Romesco

If you want to make this tasty sauce, it’s really easy to do. Below we provide a simple recipe as well as some tips to perfect it.


  • 4 ripe tomatoes 
  • 5 ñoras (small and round red peppers)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 slices sandwich bread
  • 1 oz walnuts
  • 1 oz hazelnuts 
  • 3 ½ oz almonds (peeled) 
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 


  1. Start by putting the red peppers in a bowl and filling the bowl with enough water to cover the peppers. This prevents them from drying out. 
  2. Let the peppers sit in the water for 30 minutes. 
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  4. Take your tomatoes and use a small knife to make deep cuts on the tops of them
  5. Peel the onions and put them in a baking dish with the garlic cloves and tomatoes. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, while you move on to prepare the other ingredients for the sauce. 
  7. Drain the peppers and remove their seeds. You should also scoop out their flesh with a knife.
  8. Roast the hazelnuts on medium heat in a small pan, then the almonds and walnuts.
  9. When your vegetables have cooked, peel the tomatoes and garlic, the latter of which should also be sliced. 
  10. Put your sandwich bread, tomatoes, peppers, nuts, onion, salt and pepper, garlic, sherry vinegar, and one-third of the oil into a blender. 
  11. Mix the ingredients while slowly adding the remainder of the oil to give the sauce a smooth consistency. 
  12. If you find that the sauce is too thick in consistency, you can add a bit more olive oil to it.

Extra Tips For Making Salsa Romesco 

The great thing about making your own salsa romesco is that there are many ways in which you can give it a unique spin. But, in order to make it traditionally Spanish, there are some important tips to follow. These include the following:

  • Make sure you roast the garlic, onions, and tomatoes in the oven first. This helps to remove any excess liquid and it boosts their flavors. This tip will also help you to make a sauce that’s tastier without it becoming like soup. As a bonus, it will enable you to remove the tomato skins easier. 
  • While the ñora peppers required for the recipe are sometimes thought to be easily replaced with roasted red bell peppers, ñora is a pepper that’s been dried in the sun. If you battle to get your hands on ñora peppers, which aren’t always easy to find, you should use a type of dried pepper instead. Mexican ancho chile peppers are a good substitute. 
  • You can smoke or grill the peppers and onions if you like. This is something worth experimenting with as it can bolster the sauce’s flavor.
  • Almonds and other nuts are commonly used in romesco sauce, but you can use any kind of nut. You can stick to one kind of nut, such as hazelnuts or almonds, or have a blend of nuts. What’s more important than the type of nut(s) you use is to ensure that you toast the nuts to enhance their flavors. It’s a good idea to remove their skins so that they don’t end up in the sauce and alter its texture.
  • Instead of using a blender to mix the ingredients for the sauce, traditionally a mortar and pestle was used. This is for good reason, and you should consider this equipment instead as it can give your sauce an enhanced flavor. This is because while a blender chops the ingredients into smaller pieces, a mortar and pestle crushes them so that more of their flavors can be released. 
  • If you’re allergic to, or just don’t like, nuts, you can substitute them for seeds instead. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds can work well. If you’d prefer to keep the romesco sauce as traditional as possible you could use crusty bread to thicken it.
  • If you’re gluten intolerant, you can use chickpeas instead of bread to give the sauce a thicker consistency. This also adds creaminess to the sauce.
  • While you can make romesco sauce fiery and hot, you should always start with less seasoning, so go easy on the red pepper flakes if you’re using them. Taste the sauce during the blending process and add more if you feel that it needs it.
  • If you don’t have sherry vinegar handy, you can substitute it for red wine vinegar instead.
  • You can decide how thin or thick you want your final sauce to be. Note, however, that adding an extra tomato will make the sauce milder and thinner.
  • It’s a good idea to let the sauce stand for an hour before serving it because this gives it time for its flavors to blend well.

Other Ways To Enjoy Romesco Sauce

How To Make The Perfect Salsa Romesco

While you can drizzle it over sandwiches, serve it with fish, or use it to enhance grilled vegetables, there are other ways in which you can eat romesco sauce. Here are some ideas.

  • Use it as a condiment. You can serve it as a side with a variety of meals, but don’t limit yourself to dinner dishes. You can also serve romesco sauce with scrambled eggs to give your breakfast or lunch a punch of flavor. 
  • Enjoy it with grains. If you’re enjoying a bowl of rice, quinoa, farro, or couscous, pouring romesco sauce over it is a tasty idea.  
  • Use it as a spread. By making romesco sauce a bit thicker in consistency, it can work really well as a spread. Use it to bolster the flavor of sandwiches or smear it across cold cuts of meat. 
  • Use it to thicken soups. If you want to make a thin soup chunkier and more delicious, add romesco sauce to it. This is perfect for cold nights in winter when you want a comforting soup to enjoy with chunks of buttered bread. 
  • Use it as a dipping sauce. This is the perfect accompaniment to lunch or dinner. You can dip roasted potato wedges or other grilled veggies in the flavorful sauce, or dip flatbread or sourdough for a nice extra burst of deliciousness. 

Related Questions 

Can you refrigerate romesco sauce?

You can refrigerate romesco sauce for up to five days, but just make sure you store it in an airtight container. 

Can you freeze romesco sauce?

You can also freeze romesco sauce. A good tip is to put two tablespoons of the sauce into each section of an ice-cube tray. Then, when you’re ready, you can thaw smaller quantities of the sauce for use.

Just make sure you use it within three months as you shouldn’t freeze it for longer. 


If you want a delicious sauce to go with your fresh fish or grilled sandwiches, you should make romesco sauce.

This traditional Spanish sauce bursts with flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes and foods, so it definitely won’t go to waste. After reading this article, you’ve got a simple yet tasty romesco sauce recipe that won’t fail you as well as tips to help you perfect it every time.



Nicole Dowdy is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. [He/she] has dedicated nearly all her life to learning popular recipes from across the globe as well as developing new ones. Using Food Migration, Nicole Dowdy shares the very best recipes for just about every home cook looking to try something new in the kitchen. Pro chefs can also learn a few tricks on the website.Looking to improve your kitchen? You will also find awesome and high-quality kitchen utensil recommendations as well as buying guides on this website.