Meatless Monday: Romesco Sauce with Grilled Vegetables


Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce

Yield: 6 to 8  |  Total time: 25, plus marintaing time min
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I’ve been making variations of Spanish Romesco—a deeply flavorful nut-and-red pepper-sauce from Catalonia—for years, after tasting a version at Chef Adolfo Garcia's Restaurant Riomar in New Orleans. The smoky piquillo pepper-based sauce was paired with rare yellowfin tuna and a garbanzo bean purée.  Over the years, I've subbed in salted Marcona almonds or walnuts and different types of chiles. The most recent rendition that I can’t seem to get enough of is from the cookbook “Nopi” by the much-loved British chef and author Yotam Ottolenghi.

One of my favorite ways to showcase the flavors is with a simple platter of grilled vegetables, including spring asparagus, carrots, and radishes. If you’re waiting for warmer days to start the grill, you can roast the vegetables instead: Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, toss vegetables with olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper and roast in a single layer at 400° for about 15 minutes or until golden and tender when pierced with a sharp knife point.

Romesco sauce is versatile and packs a punch of flavor. Slather it on bread to top with a soft-boiled egg for breakfast or a snack. It also pairs well with Alaskan true cod, wild salmon and spot shrimp, duck confit, and all types of steak and chicken.  


Romesco Sauce:

  • 2 dried ancho or pasilla chiles, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup whole shelled toasted almonds
  • ¼ of a baguette (about 3 ounces)
  • 5 medium plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons good quality sherry vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 red Fresno chiles (or jalapeños)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds asparagus
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch carrots or 1 head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Place all the ingredients for the Romesco sauce in a small bowl, season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse into a rough, coarse paste. Taste and add more vinegar, oil, or salt and pepper, as needed; set aside in a small bowl or pan and heat gently just before serving.
  2. Heat grill to high (or preheat oven to 400° if roasting—see note above). Season vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill cauliflower and carrots first, about 5 minutes each side. Add asparagus and radishes, cook 1 to 2 minutes each side. Spread Romesco sauce on a large platter and serve vegetables on top and around the sauce. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over, if desired. Serve with grilled bread, if desired, and chunks of cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, or Manchego.

Date Published: May 16, 2016

All recipes have been tested by the Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.

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