By Vida Gustafson

Contributing Writer

This Spanish sauce is one of the most versatile on the planet, intensely savory, a little sweet with a hint of smokiness. It is classically paired as a sauce (or dip!) with grilled vegetables, meats or fish, but it’s also great over noodles or with rice dishes. It can be used as a fantastic spread on a sandwich or a burger. It also tastes wonderful on fried or poached eggs. I like to spread it on toast. These examples are only the start of its versatility, it is also endlessly customizable and everybody’s romesco is slightly different. Traditionalists claim that it has to contain tomato and be thickened with stale bread. I prefer mine with red bell peppers and with only almonds as a thickener. You can roast your garlic or leave it raw, you also could add cayenne to give it some kick. Think of this recipe as a starting point.


  • 2/3 C almonds (roasted preferred)
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 12 oz jar of roasted peppers, drained
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt


If roasting your own peppers, you will need 3 large peppers. Roast them directly on the flame of a gas cooktop (using metal tongs to turn frequently) or under the broiler inside the oven. They are done when completely blackened, soft and steaming. Place them in a container and cover, once cooled you will be able to wipe away the scorched skin with a damp towel or a butter knife under running water. If you have raw almonds, roast them over medium heat in a dry pan(with no oil or butter) for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. You will know when they’re done by their smell.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to the smoothness you like. Because this sauce dates back to pre-food processor times, it is historically chunky, but it’s entirely up to you. If possible try to let it rest for 4-12 hours before serving.