Spicy Romesco Sauce

A spicy Catalonian dip…

Roasted red bell peppers and almonds are the base of this spicy romesco sauce. This delicious Catalonian recipe is smooth, nutty, and earthy with a slightly smoky spiciness. Cayenne pepper and smoked paprika bring the spiciness (and smokiness) here. Altogether, it turns meals into something very memorable. It’s a complex flavor, yet it’s surprisingly simple to make (and it only takes half an hour to complete).

Get ready to experiment with this sauce as it has many potential use cases in the kitchen. Spicy romesco sauce pairs very well with fish – halibut, snapper, cod, grilled, or breaded, you name it. It also works well as a dipper with crusty bread and vegetable crudites. Traditionally this sauce is served with Catalonian green onions (called calcots in Catalon). But it also pairs perfectly with asparagus, summer squash, and zucchini, just to name a few vegetable options.

Looking for other unique dips and sauces? Check out our spicy recipe index which features over 130 different spicy marinades and sauces. You’ll be plenty busy exploring them all! One that’s another regional favorite is aji amarillo sauce – a spicy Peruvian recipe that’s just as delicious as romesco sauce, but with a tropical flair.

Spicy Romesco Sauce

Spicy Romesco Sauce

Smoky, nutty, and earthy
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Catalonian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 97 kcal


  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1 tomato
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice firm white bread crust removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup almonds slivered
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Prep and broil the vegetables.

  • Preheat broiler on low and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Halve the peppers and tomato, then place both, along with the whole garlic cloves, on the baking sheet (skin side up).
  • Broil the vegetables for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the skin becomes charred.
  • Remove the vegetables from the broiler, then place them on a plate. Cover the plate with aluminum foil for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the foil. Peel the peppers and tomato and remove the seeds from the tomato. Place to the side.

Toast the almonds.

  • While the vegetables are covered for 15 minutes, place the slivered almonds on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in a toaster (or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Toast the almonds for 2 to 4 minutes (until lightly browned), then remove from the toaster. Set to the side.

Make the sauce

  • In a large bowl, combine the peeled peppers, tomato, and garlic. Pulse blend using a food processor until you reach a rough chop.
  • Add the almonds and bread and pulse blend the sauce again until combined.
  • Add the olive oil, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Pulse blend the sauce until smooth (or your desired consistency).
  • Add the salt, to taste.
  • Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Calories: 97kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 110mgPotassium: 156mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1385IUVitamin C: 52.6mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 0.6mg


Keyword Cayenne Pepper, Smoked Paprika
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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 17, 2019 to include new content. It was originally published on July 27, 2018.