red pepper Romesco sauce

Red pepper Romesco sauce in blue pot with lid on white board.

Creamy, versatile red pepper Romesco sauce is easy to make, full of flavor and oil free. Romesco is a dip, spread and sauce all in one simple recipe.  


  • 6 red bell peppers, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes (or 4 small), washed with the stem at the top cut out
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • ¼ cup raw (or lightly roasted, no salt added) almonds
  • ¼ cup raw (or lightly roasted, no salt added) hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar (sherry vinegar will work here too)
  • ½ tsp. salt (optional)

Bonus recipe: Chickpeas Romesco

  • 2- 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cups red pepper Romesco sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Prepared the red peppers, by cleaning them and cutting them into quarters. Peel the garlic and leave whole. Wash the tomatoes and cut the brown core out.
  3. Place the peppers, tomatoes and garlic on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil. Start the peppers skin side up. Roast and turn the peppers as needed until the peppers have charred and the skins are blistered. Turn the peppers as needed and consider rotating the tray for even roasting. This should take about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the peppers and allow them to cool. You can cover the peppers tightly in plastic wrap and let them sit for 10 minutes. This loosen the skins and make them easier to peel.
  5. While the peppers cool, grind the almonds and hazelnuts in a spice grinder or blender. This ensures that all the nuts will be ground before you finish the sauce.
  6. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins and any leftover seeds. Peel the tomatoes as well.
  7. Add the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, ground nuts (1/2 cup), smoked paprika (1 tsp.), red wine vinegar (1 ½ Tbsp.) and ½ tsp. salt (optional).
  8. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the paprika or salt.
  9. Serve sauce warm, hot or cold.

Chickpeas Romesco

  1. In a medium skillet, add the sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.
  2. Add the chickpeas and keep them moving in the pan until they start to brown.
  3. Add 2 cups of the romesco sauce and heat through.
  4. Serve over pasta, greens or roasted vegetables.


  • This sauce is super nice with just peppers and garlic. If you don’t roast tomatoes and want to substitute canned tomatoes, be sure to drain them. Otherwise your sauce may be too thin for your liking.
  • Smoked paprika provides a spicy kick, but it you want something a bit more mellow, consider using a sweet paprika. If you want it even spicier, try 1 tsp. red chili flakes.
  • Other spice options for this sauce include fresh or dried basil or oregano. If you add fresh, just blend them toward the end our use as a garnish for the finished dish.
  • Romesco sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several days. It can also be frozen (be sure to heat frozen sauce so it can thicken back up).

Keywords: red pepper Romesco sauce