Spicy Romesco Sauce: This simple no-cook sauce is good on almost any savory dish, from roast chicken to grilled pork to simple pasta. It's a great way to kick up the flavors on your dinner!
Pantry Staples

Good-on-Everything Romesco Sauce

Well, I finally found it!

I’ve been on the hunt for a sauce that’s as versatile as marinara but with a bit more pizzazz. It’s not that I have anything against marinara sauce, but it can get a bit old after awhile.

Not only is this sauce as useful, but it can be argued that it’s even easier to make because you don’t even have to cook it! Just a quick pulse in a blender or food processor and then you can start slathering.

It’s hard for me to think of a dish in the Italian/Spanish recipe index that you couldn’t serve with this sauce. It just goes with everything!

Spicy Romesco Sauce: This simple no-cook sauce is good on almost any savory dish, from roast chicken to grilled pork to simple pasta. It's a great way to kick up the flavors on your dinner!

Spicy Romesco Sauce

Just a moment please...

Approx. 3 cups
Prep Time
Total Time

This spicy romesco sauce is a simple twist on the classic spanish sauce that’s good on almost anything! Easy to make and easy to use!


4 dried chiles, soaked (new mexico or guajillo)
1 large roasted red pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
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Helpful Equipment

Food Processor


1) Soak dried chiles with 4 cups boiling water for 30 minutes. Then remove chiles and cut off stems. Use a paring knife to cut down the side of each chile and scrape out the seeds.

2) Chop up chiles and add to a food processor with roasted red pepper, tomato puree, garlic, and almonds. Pulse until mostly smooth.

3) Add parsley, vinegar, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Drizzle in olive oil and continue to pulse. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Store finished sauce in the fridge, but serve it at room temperature or warm over any protein or pasta.

Spicy Romesco Sauce: A Twist on the Classic

This original sauce isn’t intended to be spicy. It’s a savory sauce, but I had some dried chiles on hand and am always looking for a way to infuse a bit of spice into sauces like this.

You can absolutely leave the chiles out if you want, but in my opinion they are a nice improvement.

I used a mix of New Mexico chiles and Guajillo chiles. If you wanted a more mild chile you could use ancho chiles.

Just soak the chiles in hot water for about 30 minutes to bring them back to life.

Chile peppers for spicy romesco sauce

The spicy part.

There’s still tomato sauce in this recipe (just a bit), but the original base of this sauce comes from roasted red peppers. You need one whole roasted red pepper. It should measure a bit over half a cup in size if you chopped it up.

It’s okay to add more red pepper also. Just don’t skimp on it.

Spicy Romesco sauce red peppers

The pepper base.

Making the sauce couldn’t be easier. Once your chiles are soaked, remove them from the water and chop off the stems. Then slice them open and scrape out the seeds. Chop up the chiles and add them to a food processor with the tomato puree, red pepper, almonds, and spices.

Spicy Romesco sauce pulse.

Great flavors.

Pulse this all together until it’s in a rough paste and then add the other ingredients.

Add the olive oil in a drizzle near the end and just pulse it until the sauce comes together.

Starting romesco sauce.

Pulse it up.

Most importantly, when the sauce is done, give it a taste!

It’ll need a pinch of salt and pepper for sure, but you might also want to add in some more spice or a bit more vinegar for extra tang. It’s up to you!

Spicy Romesco sauce spoon.

Spoonful of excellent.

Just off the top of my head, here are five great ways you could use this sauce:

– On lightly pan fried or roasted chicken.

– As a pasta sauce.

– Served over grilled pork.

– As a dip for appetizers like meatballs or fried cheese.

– With broiled shrimp.

In other words, with almost anything.

If you’ve tried romesco sauce, leave a comment! I’d love to see what other people use it for.

15 comments on “Good-on-Everything Romesco Sauce

      1. Yes, like kale or silverbeet :-) I just thought of a couple more: on meatloaf or anything else instead of ketchup/tomato sauce; as a base for shakshuka or heuvos rancheros or as a spread on a hearty sandwich?

  1. I LOVE romesco sauce! I had it at a Med. restaurant as a spread with cheeses and bread and it is so good. Yum, thanks for reminding me

  2. I’ve never tried Romesco, leave alone made it. I don’t know why, it looks easy to do, and sounds yummy. Two questions, Nick: do I need to take the skins of the dried peppers after they’ve been soaked, and how long can the sauce be stored in the fridge (since it is not cooked)? Thanks!

    1. Hey Mila! On the pepper skin, I would try to rub off as much of it as you can, but no need to be crazy about it. Some skin won’t hurt a thing. The sauce would keep fine in the fridge for a week or so. I used all of mine in a few days adding it to this or that without too much issue! Good luck!

  3. This spicy version looks great! I love Romesco sauce on green beans, broccoli, fish and as a dip for bread (when I’m not just leaning against the fridge, eating it with a spoon). I’ve been experimenting with this myself, and I like adding an onion, tomato (leaving out the tomato paste later on) and garlic to the roasting pan with the pepper. This definitely adds more prep time, but if you toast the almonds a little, and add toasted bread crumbs the sauce emulsifies and resembles a mayonnaise when it’s done.

  4. Over pan fried Walleye. Walleye can be hard to come by in Colorado and expensive when you do, but Romesco and Walleye are a wonderful combination.

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