Only 5 minutes to make an easy roasted red pepper romesco sauce, nut free and gluten free. Made with sunflower seeds and hemp hearts, this versatile sauce is perfect for seafood, chicken, roasted vegetables, pasta and more!
Why you'll love this nut-free romesco sauce
- Allergy friendly - nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo.
- Forgiving - add a little more or a little less of each ingredient to fit your taste with this not-so-classic Spanish sauce. Roast your own red bell peppers instead of using jarred. Use fire-roasted tomatoes. Swap the seeds for nuts if you prefer.
- Versatile - spoon this easy romesco sauce on grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, pasta, eggs, or potatoes. A little goes a long way in adding bold flavor to any dish.
- Healthy - loaded with plant-based vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Protein and heart healthy fats from hemp hearts and sunflower seeds. Leftovers make the perfect healthy snack to be enjoyed with raw vegetables or smeared on a sandwich.
Serve this simple versatile sauce with Roasted Turkey Breast with Garlic and Herbs, roasted chicken, Homemade Gluten-Free Sloppy Joes, Vegan Chickpea Veggie Burgers or Balsamic Baked Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (vegan). It also goes well with Roasted Root Vegetables and seafood. For an easy recipe, roast the Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon Romesco for dinner tonight!
Noteworthy ingredients and substitutions
- Roasted red peppers - makes up the base of this easy flavorful sauce recipe. Jarred peppers makes it an easy romesco dip to pull together. You can roast or grill your own red bell pepper, make sure to remove seeds and charred skins before blending.
- Roma tomatoes - work well because they're not too juicy. You can substitute plum tomatoes or any other tomato you have on hand. If super juicy, just remove seeds before processing.
- Sunflower seeds and hemp heart - are a perfect alternative if you have nut allergies. If nuts aren't an issue, swap for pine nuts, sliced almonds or other nuts or seeds you have on hand.
- Flat-leaf parsley - or Italian parsley has a peppery taste that compliments the romesco sauce.
- Fresh lemon juice - gives the sauce a nice tang. You can also substitute sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or rice vinegar.
- Smoked paprika - gives a great depth to the easy romesco sauce recipe. Substitue sweet paprika for a milder version. Or, add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to give this sauce some heat!
See recipe card for all ingredients and quantities.
How to make easy romesco sauce
This easy romesco sauce with roasted red pepper (nut-free, gf) can be made in a food processor or blender in 5 minutes!
- Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and smoked paprika to a food processor or high speed blender.
- Pulse, scraping sides down as needed, until desired texture. You can leave it a little chunky or continue to blend until completely smooth.
- Serve hot or cold with seafood, chicken, roasted vegetables, eggs, pasta and more!
Tips, tricks and variations
- Toast seeds - to add a toasted mild nutty flavor, try toasting your sunflower seeds and hemp hearts. Prepare a parchment lined baking tray, set aside. In a dry pan over medium heat, add the raw sunflower seeds and toast for about a minute or two, add the hemp hearts for the last few seconds. Remove from heat and pour onto prepared pan to cool.
- Roast your own peppers- roast or grill your own red bell peppers. Remove seeds and skin before adding to food processor. You'll need 2 red peppers. You can roast the tomatoes too!
- Sun dried tomatoes - Roasted tomatoes will add more depth to the sauce. You can also use 2-3 sun dried tomatoes instead. If the sun-dried tomatoes are dehydrated (not packed in oil), reconstitute by soaking in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Store - the simple nut-free romesco sauce can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Romesco is traditionally a Spanish sauce, typically made with a mix of nuts, garlic, olive oil, chili peppers, bread, roasted tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes and bell peppers. In my version of easy romesco sauce, I've made it nut-free, replacing the nuts with hemp hearts and sunflower seeds. I've also made it quick and easy by using jarred roasted bell peppers and fresh tomatoes.
Romesco sauce is super versatile. The traditional recipe was served with fish, chicken or beef. However, the sauce is so flavorful it can be enjoyed on pizza, tacos or roasted vegetables. Try it as a romesco dip with your favorite raw vegetables, in a sandwich or with zucchini noodles. The possibilities are endless!
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