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Best Romesco Recipes

Best Romesco Recipes

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If a trip to Catalonia isn't on your schedule, the good news is that the Spanish specialty food retailer La Tienda is now selling authentic calçots grown in Oregon, through the end of May. Char them on your grill, then slip off the charred part, and dip them in this classic Tarragona-region romesco sauce.


The 4 Best Ways to Cook Romanesco Broccoli

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The 4 Best Ways to Cook Romanesco! If you don’t know how to cook Romanesco broccoli or haven’t eaten it, don’t worry. This vegetable cooks up in minutes for a healthy side dish! I’ll share with you simple and healthy Romanesco recipes including roasting, sautéing, boiling, and microwaving.

One of my all-time favorite vegetables has got to be Romanesco with its delicate texture and nutty flavor. It’s easy to prepare and requires far less cooking time than broccoli or cauliflower.

If you’re a fan of roasted broccoli, then you’ll love roasted Romanesco. It’s tender in the middle with irresistibly crispy edges and tips, even better than broccoli!

Tired of cauliflower rice? Try Romanesco rice. It’s just as tasty if not better!

Boiled Romanesco is cleansing, healthy, and the best cure for over-indulgence I know.

Microwaving Romanesco is the easiest way to cook this versatile vegetable!

How To Use Romesco Sauce | 4 Wonderful Recipes

Fresh Pasta with Romesco Sauce:

Fresh Pasta with Romesco Sauce:

Think of Romesco sauce as a fancy tomato sauce. Deeper in flavor with a wonderful, often hardier consistency. This makes Romesco sauce a major player when it comes to pasta when pasta already shows off all-by-itself. When we think about the quality of pasta sauces they are either great, or not so very memorable, or even watery. Next time you make a tomato sauce ( recipe link here) try adding some Calabrian chilis or Piquillo peppers & charr your Tomatoes and you&rsquoll have a huge winner at the dinner table. Your eaters will look at you in amazement and wonder what you did.

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The best romanesco dish is teeming with Sicilian flavors

In my mind, the seasons at the farmers market aren’t really defined by the calendar they are marked by what I like to obsess over for months at a time. It usually goes something like this: Rhubarb! Strawberries! Cherries! Stone fruit! Apples! Pomegranates! Persimmons! Citrus! And then I catch up on an array of delicious but less lust-inducing green vegetables to balance my diet of fruit until spring’s new berries show up once again.

We’ve just begun that last “season,” so my mind is fixated on all the colorful crucifers and various knobby roots that dominate the winter market. My current obsession is with romanesco and its chartreuse crown of cones. Because it is essentially the more punk cousin of cauliflower, you can treat it just like that vegetable. But I always feel bad breaking up the romanesco’s beautiful spikes, preferring to cook them in a way that maintains their aesthetic identity.

To do that, I cut a head through its core into six large wedges so I have manageable pieces with two flat sides and a third side full of the vegetable’s peaks and valleys. I rub the wedges with olive oil and blister them in a hot oven, which is really the best way to bring flavor to the otherwise mild-tasting vegetable. While the wedges singe, I get on with an assertively flavored sauce to go with it. Any sauce will work, but because of romanesco’s provenance and popularity in Italy, I have my eye on that country’s southernmost region, Sicily.

Inspired by the island’s classic pasta con le sarde, I mix pine nuts, golden raisins and the tiniest pinch of saffron — ingredients that speak to Sicily’s history of trade with nearby North Africa — with browned shallots and sardines into a pungent red gravy. Since the sardines are the focus of the sauce, buy the highest-quality tinned version you can find — La Brujula are my favorite, but Crown Prince’s “natural” sardines packed in olive oil are a great grocery store brand.

I add a touch of tomato paste, which isn’t traditional but helps tie all the aromatic seasonings together into a hearty sauce that gets draped over the burnished romanesco and seeps into all its nooks and crannies. A final showering of crisp breadcrumbs adds a wonderfully crunchy texture to this dish built around a vegetable with such a personality that it has, in my view, earned its own “season” alongside the greats.

Spanish Romesco Sauce

One taste of this wonderful Spanish Romesco Sauce and you will be blown away by the explosion of flavors and the smooth, silky texture of this rustic all-purpose sauce. This is Spain&rsquos flagship sauce that originated in Catalonia and is loved all throughout Spain.

If you like this recipe you will like our chimichurri sauce.

There are many versions of this savory romesco sauce. Competitions are held in Spain for the best one as each contestant puts their own spin on it and considers theirs &lsquoThe Best!&rsquo And when the calcots are in season they celebrate with a Calçotada Festival of grilled calcots dipped in this luscious romesco sauce.

Spanish Romesco Sauce is Spain&rsquos version of Italy&rsquos marinara sauce and it is a welcome alternative. This savory sauce gets its vibrant color from the roasted tomatoes and sweet peppers while the toasted Marcona almonds give it a rich creaminess.

Romesco sauce is a super-flavorful sauce made with sweet red peppers, tomatoes, mild chilies, garlic, and onions. But the one ingredient that is key to this flavorful sauce is the smoked paprika! It really puts the Wow! in this sauce!

We used a combination of red bell peppers and those lovely long, sweet Italian red peppers. The Italian red peppers are currently in season and we have stocked our fridge with them. They are also known as sweet Italian grilling peppers and we have been enjoying them grilled.

See our recipe for grilled Italian sweet peppers here. They have the same flavor profile as a sweet red bell pepper.

Spanish restaurants are appearing more frequently in America&rsquos cities, with tapas bars where you can make an entire meal of many small plates of their cuisine.

Recently, we visited the Spanish restaurant, Toro Bravo, in Portland, Oregon and spent a memorable two-hour dinner enjoying tapas of every type. They served this vibrant-colored Romesco sauce with grilled octopus and we were hooked!

With the exception of Marcona almonds, we are willing to bet that most of the ingredients are right there in your pantry. Marcona almonds are imported to America from Spain in packages and stocked on the nut racks of most supermarkets, but they can be a bit pricey

You can also find Marcona almonds in the bulk foods section of some markets and Whole Foods for sure. If you b uy just a small amount of them it will not break your grocery budget. They will add a silkiness to the texture of the romesco sauce. Or, just substitute with regular almonds.

Making this incredible tasting romesco sauce couldn&rsquot be easier and it will keep for a week in the refrigerator. After the vegetables are roasted, cooled and peeled they are combined in a food blender and processed with almonds, bread, olive oil and a couple of rehydrated and seeded mild chilies. And then! We added the magic of smoky paprika.

Spanish Romesco Sauce is delicious with fish, poultry, meats and vegetables. Serving it on scrambled eggs will transform a breakfast from boring to gourmet! Set out a dish as a dip with slices of thin toasted bread. Toss it with a plate of pasta and chorizo. Slather it on grilled chicken or use it as a marinade. The ideas are endless and always delicious!

You need this Spanish Romesco Sauce in your life!

The Second Fork in the Romesco Road: The Pepper Component

Most people who know romesco know that it contains pepper, but many mistakenly think that pepper is a roasted red bell pepper. It's not. The pepper used for romesco is a dried one, either the ñora pepper or, according to some sources, the choricero pepper.

Of course, those Spanish pepper varieties aren't easy to get here, which is why the bell pepper became a popular substitute. Roasting a bell pepper does add some of the darker notes that the dried peppers offer, and romesco sauces made with bell peppers can taste good. But anyone who knows what the original sauce, made with those dried peppers, tastes like, knows that bell pepper doesn't really play the part well enough. A better route is to use some kind of dried pepper.

You can buy ñora peppers at Spanish specialty stores, or online at sites like La Tienda. I think it's worth it. The ñoras add a depth that the red bell pepper simply can't. They taste molasses-y, but without a strong sweetness, and there's a bitterness that cuts through everything else. It's a complex flavor that brings the romesco fully into focus.

If you can't find ñora peppers, your best option for a substitute is Mexican ancho chile peppers. I did a side-by-side test, and, while the sweeter flavor and mild heat of anchos make them less than an exact match, they come a lot closer than red bell peppers do.

Preparing the peppers involves first soaking them in boiling-hot water to rehydrate and soften the flesh, then stemming and seeding them, and finally scraping the tender meat off the papery skin.


  • Heat the oven to 375°F. Put the tomatoes and one half of the garlic head in a baking pan. Drizzle about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil into the cored tomato wells and on top of the garlic half. Roast until the tomatoes and garlic are well caramelized but not burnt, about 90 minutes. From the remaining half head of garlic, coarsely chop 1 Tbs. garlic and put it in a food processor.

    Slow oven roasting brings out the sugars in tomatoes and garlic. Get them caramelized but not burnt.

Start with the toasted nuts, chile, and tomatoes to get the purée underway.

Easy Romesco Dip

Prep time 5 minutes to 7 minutes

  • paleo
  • shellfish-free
  • dairy-free
  • fish-free
  • alcohol-free
  • vegetarian
  • peanut-free
  • vegan
  • pescatarian
  • gluten-free
  • wheat-free
  • pork-free
  • soy-free
  • egg-free
  • red-meat-free
  • Calories 133
  • Fat 9.4 g (14.4%)
  • Saturated 0.9 g (4.7%)
  • Carbs 10.8 g (3.6%)
  • Fiber 2.9 g (11.7%)
  • Sugars 5.5 g
  • Protein 3.6 g (7.3%)
  • Sodium 239.1 mg (10.0%)


roasted red peppers, drained

chopped fresh parsley leaves

kosher salt, plus more as needed

freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed


Place all the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the blade attachment or a blender. Blend until just smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 1 minute. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a bowl and serve with crackers, crostini, or raw vegetables.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Senior Contributing Food Editor

Sheela is the Senior Contributing Food Editor at Kitchn and the author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and is also a Registered Dietitian.

It may seem counterintuitive to put sauce in a soup, but romesco is that exception. It can thicken a traditional vegetable-based soup like traditional tomato.

Emily Hu

It's hard to argue that you can improve pizza, but if anything can, it's this sauce. Try adding it onto pita bread or pizza dough and topping it with your favorite cheese and veggies.


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