Romesco Sauce, A Low Carb, Keto Recipe

Romesco Sauce is from the Catalonia region of northeastern Spain and is probably as famous there as ketchup is in other regions of the world. Like Italian pesto, this versatile Spanish sauce is raw, not cooked and is low carb, vegan, keto and paleo friendly. Healthier but just as flavorful as my original version, what is missing from this recipe is the bread which is used as a thickener in the traditional Catalonian version. Made from vivid roasted sweet red bell peppers, almonds and olive oil, it is delicious served with fish, chicken, and grilled meats and vegetables.

Romesco Sauce Made With Roasted Red Peppers

While usually made with dried nyora chilies, most people living outside of Spain use roasted red bell peppers. You can roast your own which I’ve done in the past but if short on time, use jarred roasted red peppers that have been packed in oil like I did for this recipe. I served this healthy, vivid roasted red bell pepper sauce on a chicken breast and the simple dish had me reminiscing about our trip to Spain last fall. While in Barcelona, we saw Romesco sauce served alongside several different tapas dishes.

Chicken With Low Carb, Keto Friendly Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce, A Low Carb Keto Version

  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted lightly
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. roughly chopped roasted and peeled red peppers or 1 jar (14 oz.) fire roasted bell peppers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper (I used an 1/8 tsp.) or to taste
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until chopped fine. Be careful not to process too much or you will end up with a paste. Add the garlic, peppers, vinegar, salt, pepper and cayenne to the food processor and pulse until a smooth consistency. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the processor is running. You should end up with a slightly thickened, creamy consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and cayenne, if necessary. If the Romesco sauce is too thick, drizzle in a little more oil while processing. If too thin, add a little more finely chopped almonds. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

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The romesco sauce added vibrant color and wonderful flavors to the simply prepared chicken breast that I served it with. While a slightly thinner sauce than the traditional version made with the addition of bread, I don’t think the bread adds much flavor but definitely adds carbs and calories that I was trying to avoid. If you have been making an effort to cut out carbs from your diet, I think this condiment will be a staple in your kitchen. This healthy romesco sauce has so many uses…serve as you would hummus, as a sauce, a salad dressing or even as a flavor enhancer for soups and stews.

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123 thoughts on “Romesco Sauce, A Low Carb, Keto Recipe

  1. You’ve definitely got the right colour and the consistency looks good without bread. I believe that romesco was originally an accompaniment to fish, but has since become very popular with calçots and as you rightly say, it is served with many things these days. I’m sure it’s delicious with your chicken!
    I suspect the bread thickener in many Spanish dishes, is a method for using up stale bread and to bulk up food when times were hard.

    1. Thank you Mad Dog, coming from you that is a wonderful compliment. I totally agree with you about the bread. It really doesn’t affect the taste much one way or the other and I can do without the extra calories. 😀

    1. Thank you Kelli, I really appreciate you sharing my recipe with your friends that are doing the Keto diet. I think they will find that they can use the romesco sauce often…it has a wonderful flavor.

    1. Hi Sylvia, It is nice when you can have a recipe that is both healthy as well as delicious and I’m happy to say that the romesco sauce is both. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you.

    1. Hi Jovina, If you are following a low carb diet, you are going to love this sauce. It can be used in many ways and is delicious. Thank you for your nice compliment, it is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Angie, Delicious and keto…yes, it is one of my favorites as well. It keeps well in the refrigerator so it is nice to make a big batch.

    1. Hi Larry, I do think you would enjoy this delicious sauce from Spain…it is a great topping on so many dishes. I could see you using it with the meats you grill as well as a topping on some of your egg dishes you prepare at breakfast. 🙂

  2. About once per month, I am asked to make a batch of Romesco sauce! It is my husband’s favourite of all sauces. I usually make my sauce without bread as well.

    1. Hi Eva, I’m glad to know that the two of you enjoy the sauce as much as we do. While the bread gives it a thick consistency which is good if you want a thick dip, I like this version without it. After all, a girl can never be too careful with calories. 😀

  3. That is a very simple and delicious sauce to make and I should imagine it goes well with just about any meat or even fresh tuna steaks. The weird thing is I lived and worked in Palamós on La Costa Brava for 3 months and I have been on holidays in the area a few times since, but I’ve never seen this. I must look out for it next time. Thanks for sharing. 👍

    1. Hi Fatima, I’m happy that I can share this Catalan sauce with you since you didn’t see it while on holiday on the Costa Brava. If you had been there at end of April, people celebrate a festival called a calçotada, where they eat lots of charred calcots (onions) that are usually dipped in romesco sauce.

    1. Hi Jeanie, Don’t you love the color of the romesco sauce…it will brighten up any meal you decide to serve it with. Thank you for your compliment.

  4. I love this stuff! Terrific with scallops, and has a real affinity for mushrooms, too. Although I often buy nyora chilies from Amazon, red bell peppers seems to work just as well, and are a lot more convenient. I really like this version of the sauce — looks delish, and is very creative. Thanks!

    1. I’m with you John, I love it. I prepared it as a dip one evening and one friend almost devoured it by himself. 😀 I know it would be more authentic if I made it with the nyora chilies but using red bell peppers is more convenient when I decide to make romesco at the last minute. Thank you as always for your nice compliment.

  5. Hi Ronit, After making it with bread and without bread, I think I will be using this version most of the time for the simple reason of it having less carbs and calories. I hope you will enjoy this version and appreciate your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Donna, Once you try this low carb sauce, I think you will be making it over and over. It is great when used as a dip and delicious when served as a sauce on top of grilled meats, chicken and fish.

    1. I appreciate your kind words Linda, they are much appreciated. Good luck with all you are doing to get your home ready to sell.

  6. That explains it. I’ve only been there in the summer. Sometimes certain kinds of food are seasonal only, like now at Carnival time or at Easter. Must try it, though.

    1. Fatima, we will be starting out from Barcelona on another cruise this fall and I’m hoping to try more of Spain’s delicious food. 🙂

  7. This sounds so delicious. We are all trying to limit our carbs. So happy to find another recipe loaded with flavor.

    1. Hi Madonna, This is one low carb recipe that I know you will really like because it is indeed very flavorful. I do encourage you to give it a try.

  8. I had to laugh Carolyn, it is additive. We had a friend who almost ate an entire bowl by himself when I served it as a dip with cocktails one evening. I’d happily share a turkey burger topped with romesco with you. With a bun, it might not be keto approved but it certainly would be delicious. 😀

  9. Quite one of my favourite sauces to prepare but with my medical and nutritionist backgrounds I run away from all the above-mentioned diets at maximum speed and very much use the usual bread . . .:) ! Definitely no low-carbs in this household or in my teachings 🙂 ! But shall try your version for the taste – thanks !!

    1. Hi Eha, For various reasons some people are trying to cut back on carbs and for those that are this recipe is a nice one that delivers lots of flavor. For yourself, you can try my previous version made with bread. You will find both versions in the Catalan region of Spain.

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever had this wonderful sauce, Karen, but it is so appealing! I can think of so many ways to enjoy it. It has simple ingredients that seem to combine for something unique!

    1. Hi Debra, This has to be one of the simplest sauces to make and yet really delivers where the taste is concerned. Thank you for your nice compliment…I hope you give the romesco sauce a try.

    1. Hi Liz, there are so many ways of using romesco sauce. It has such a bright flavor that goes well with many different dishes. Thank you for your compliment.

  11. Ooooh. My husband has been eating keto for almost two years or so… I’ve lost track. He does all of the cooking so I often eat keto by default and this made my stomach growl.
    “Hey, honey! Check out this recipe!” 😃

  12. I love Romesco Sauce as capsicums/bell peppers are one ofmy favourite vegetables to cook. This version is a great idea, and as it’s without the usual bread I’m thinking a second glass of wine to go with the meal should be guilt-free…yes? 😊

  13. Karen, your Romesco sauce recipe looks to be a great fresh condiment. I love that you made it low-carb, as we’ve been on that life mission as well. We’ll be omitting the almonds (allergies) and substituting sunflower seeds, but I know it’ll still taste wonderful. I can see many dishes that this sauce will be suited for.

    1. I like your idea Ron, I’m sure the romesco sauce made with sunflower seeds would be delicious. While we don’t have any allergies, I’m still going to try it that way too for a change.

    1. Hi Roz, I’m glad you like my keto friendly version of romesco…thank you for your compliment. I’m always happy to share my recipes.

      1. Hi David, I’ve not tried using walnuts, only almonds when making romesco but I bet that it is good that way too.

  14. I have been making romesco sauce for years and love it. It adds so much flavor to so many dishes. I have to try your recipe.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I’m happy to know that you like romesco sauce as much as we do. I’ll be interested to see what you think of this version made without bread.

    1. Thank you Atreyee, I think romesco sauce is one of the most colorful sauces you can make. It certainly does brighten up a meal both in color and taste.

    1. I hate to say it Judi but yes, I do think you have been missing out not having made romesco sauce. The nice thing is, it is an easy fix. 😀

    1. Hi Debra, This really is a simple sauce to make and I didn’t miss the bread being in it at all. I’m glad you like my version…thanks.

  15. I have made this sauce before and agree it’s very tasty. I think you paired it very well with the chicken. I’ve made it by roasting the capsicums but I’ve never added bread! The recipe I used didn’t mention bread but I can see how that would help to thicken the sauce xx

    1. Hi Charlie, Yes I think the bread was originally used in the recipe as a thickener as well as a way of using day old bread. Other than being a little thinner, I don’t think that using bread adds very much taste wise and it certainly is much less calorie wise.

    1. Hi Deb, I’ve made romesco by roasting my own peppers when we had our garden but it is a real time saver using the jarred roasted peppers packed in oil. Don’t you just love all the ways you can use the sauce.

  16. I love Romesco sauce, and have never made it at home. I’m inspired. I have been to Spain a few times and it’s one of the things I look forward to when I’m there. (Well, that and a million other delicious Spanish foods!) This is a lovely recipe and I will try it!

    1. Hi Valentina, I’m happy to know that I’ve inspired you to make your own romesco sauce. It will be nice to enjoy some while dreaming of being in Spain. 🙂

  17. I’ve never made this sauce but I am saving your recipe. I love the color and ingredients. I also think it would be great served alongside chicken. Looking for great Keto friendly recipes. I have never been to Spain and my husband wants to plan a trip there. Should I?

    1. Hi Emily, Definitely make the sauce and yes…definitely travel to Spain. My husband and I certainly did enjoy visiting there last fall.

  18. You’ve opened my eyes to something new, I’ve not had Romesco sauce. It looks and sounds wonderful to spice up any grilled meat or vegetables.

  19. Karen, I adore Romesco sauce–could dive right into that plate! I never put bread in it. Sometimes I make it with sunflower seeds instead of almonds. I could eat it by the spoonful, but it really does make a meal of an ordinary chicken breast. I have to leave out the garlic (allergic!), but no one even misses it.

    1. Thank you Thao for your nice compliment. I do hope you enjoy the recipe and since the peppers are roasted, I hope they won’t bother you.

  20. HI Karen! I have been making romesco sauce for years and love it. It adds so much flavor to so many dishes. Believe it or not, it goes great with turkey. (not for Thanksgiving, just a roasted turkey dinner that we with veggies)

    We are finally going to Provence and Paris, and I will email you.

    1. Hi Debra, I’m glad that you are a fan of romesco sauce as much as we are. I’m excited for you, I know you will have a wonderful time in both Provence and Paris. 🙂

      1. I appreciate your visit and nice compliment Kim. This sounds like the perfect recipe for you to try since there is no bread involved. I hope you will enjoy the sauce as much as my husband and I do.

  21. I remember making Romescu sauce when I studied cooking last year in Madrid. Yeah, I remember using some stale bread as a thickener- the sauce is good enough to slather on just about anything! You’ve got the color for the sauce just right!

    1. Hi Fran, Yes the original version of romesco sauce uses bread but we really enjoyed this lower carb version just as much. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  22. I have never made Romescu sauce…thanks for introducing me to it…looks delicious and love the vivid color.
    I hope you are having a great weekend!

    1. Don’t you just love the vibrant color of the romesco sauce Juliana? I do hope you give it a try…it is so good. I hope you have a wonderful week as well, thank you.

  23. Not only is this sauce super easy (and super flavorful), but I bet it brought back great memories of your trip to Barcelona! This is a great way to ‘dress up’ grilled chicken!

    1. Hi David, You are right, while writing about the romesco sauce I couldn’t help but think of our time spent in Barcelona. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Sandra, If you have had a chance to make the romesco sauce, I do hope you enjoyed it as much as well didn’t. Eliminating the bread from my original recipe didn’t chance the flavor and did make it a nice low card sauce.

    1. Hi Rosita, Me alegra que te guste la salsa romesco y la receta de alubias blancas, gracias. I’m glad that you like the romesco sauce as well as the white bean recipe. 🙂

  24. I happen to agree with you Ksenia, this low carb, keto version of my original romesco sauce recipe has all the flavors but is definitely healthier.

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