Spicy Romesco Sauce

Why should you look at what other people are eating in a restaurant? Because you may end up trying something that you never would have ordered otherwise!

Tyler and I discovered the amazing vegetable-based “romesco sauce” in Barcelona. It was our first night in town. We were almost finished with our meal when we looked over as the waiter delivered a dish to the couple sitting next to us. On a rustic wood cutting board sat a variety of roasted vegetables and a bowl of mysterious red sauce.

“We should probably get that,” we said in unison. And thus we were introduced to romesco sauce.

You’ll find many variations of the traditional romesco sauce recipe online, and we have yet to try one that wasn’t great. Here’s our version, which will wake you up a bit thanks to the whole roasted jalapeno and red chili flakes. Not a fan of spicy foods? Feel free to omit the jalapeno.

Spicy Romesco Sauce

Servings: 5-6 cups


  • 5 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), quartered
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, cut in half
  • Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt + pepper for roasting
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 slice of slightly toasted bread (sourdough, French or Italian are my favorites)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 TBL apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro or leftover cilantro stems


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. Place tomatoes, peppers, jalapeno and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pepper
  3. Drizzle the garlic head with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap loosely in baking foil and place in the oven with the vegetables
  4. Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, or until they’re very tender (the tomatoes should swell slightly, and the peppers should be easily pierced with a fork). Remove from the oven and let cool
  5. Continue roasting the garlic until the cloves are soft and they pop out of their skin easily when squeezed (about 45 minutes). Cool until you can hold the garlic bulb, squeeze out all of the cloves and discard the skin
  6. Place the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, and all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. In a food processor you may get a chunkier texture, while a blender will produce a smoother sauce
  7. Feel free to add more salt, pepper, or chili flakes to taste
  8. Serve with a variety of roasted vegetables and a warm loaf of bread.

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