Toasted Walnut Romesco [#MMAZ]

by Sarah on February 11, 2013 · 18 comments

As soon as I convinced Heather to choose through my incessant badgering discovered that Heather had chosen W is for Walnuts in the Meatless Mondays A-Z challenge, I knew exactly what I was going to make.

Or should I say…recreate?

I’m not sure why my first attempt at making the traditional Spanish red pepper sauce known as romesco was on my brain–I mean, it has been over two years now (!) since that first summer I lived in Austin when we watched Spain take the world cup in futbol.

Yet it was. So I went with it.

Already one of my fondest recipes in the nostalgic repertoire of delicious creations that I loved and yet never make again, my last attempt at the sauce [slash] dip stuck true to the standard use of almonds as a nutty counterpart to the roasted red peppers.

But what about substituting walnuts? Burnt Toasted walnuts.

Into my food processor went the (re) toasted walnuts, as well as roasted red peppers……and the traditionally incorporated hazelnuts–after managing to salvage them from their run-in with fire-breathing dragons. [Obviously my distracted nature in the kitchen had nothing to do with the fact that they lost their skins in a lesson on why we shouldn’t go to the tanning bed.]I would have added garlic, but the trader named Joe added the perfect amount to his jar of tasty fire roasted peppers for me, so my hands could stay smelling like green apple kitchen soap and not like I was a participant in a kill–the-vampires crusade.My old recipe calls for the addition of Parmesan cheese, but no need to go there if you are vegan (with benefits) and generally lactose averse. Heather herself told me that roasted sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast can mimic the sharp tang of Parmesan just fine.If you are an expert in international sauces, dips, and spreads–and I mean, who isn’t?–you know that by switching in walnuts for almonds we have found ourselves just one dash of cumin and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses away from the Middle Eastern dip known as muhamara.

But Spanish this will be!*

*And not just because it is my favorite language. Aside from English. And even then, I don’t always know…In all honesty, it really is amazing how something as simple as swapping out cumin for smoked paprika and crushed red pepper can suddenly take you across countries or continents.

And adding tomato sauce. For some reason that makes it Spanish.

in the middle of winter, i don't even flirt with the notion of fresh tomatoes.

Regardless of origin, fusion, or international alignment, I really outdid myself with this one.

And I know I say that a lot. [But seriously. Es muy rico, y’all.]

And I know YOU find yourself saying, “But what do I do with it?” a lot when you come around here. My standard response is, of course, eat it.However, you can make like the Spanish and serve it with fish or chicken if you are an omnivore, or perhaps portabella or tempeh steaks if you are not. Use it like pasta sauce or just dip bread or vegetables in it. [I would like to make a sincere case for raw mushrooms or roasted cauliflower.]

Now stop asking questions and get to the kitchen. Vamanos!Toasted Walnut Romesco

[Makes 2 cups]

  • 1/3 cup (1.5 oz) walnuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. (o.5 oz.) hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Process until nuts have been finely chopped, and consistency is fairly smooth.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

So… I wasn’t home long enough to make anything with walnuts… but I had a great idea! Ugh. I’ll live vicariously through your romesco. This looks fabulous! I love the nut combo you used.


Michelle @ Eat Move Balance February 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

Learn something new every day! I didn’t even know what romesco was! Looks delicious.


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Happy to be your teacher. :)


Kristina February 11, 2013 at 9:52 am


okay, I’ll stop yelling now – this looks fantastic – I can almost taste it now…


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

You can yell around here all you want. I’d even let you break something.


Nicole @ Fruit 'N' Fitness February 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I have never had romesco before, never actually heard of it. That looks fantastic. I bet it would be really good with Chicken.


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Oh you must try it on chicken. That is actually the traditional way of serving it I believe.


Brittany @ Delights and Delectables February 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm

1. you are so creative!
2. I can’t wait to get you into my kitchen. 😉
3. how come I always forget about MMAZ?!?!


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

1. Thanks!
2. I can’t wait to BE in your kitchen.
3. The only reason I remember is because it forces me to cook. :)


Heather @ Better With Veggies February 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm

This looks so good – I’m glad that walnut immediately sparked inspiration for so many of us. :) And I love that you remembered the sunflower seeds/nooch combo! I haven’t had it in a while, maybe I need to make that again.


Jennifer February 12, 2013 at 8:11 am

Awesome dish for Walnut Week!


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Thank you! I certainly was happy with it. :)


dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt February 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

Just wanted to let you know I got my Nut Butter Order yesterday and I also am not embarrassed that me and the hubby ate 1/4 of each container right out of the jar before I even unpacked them! In love with the Gingerbread:-)


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Hooray! I’m so happy YOU are happy…and there is no need to even think about being embarrassed, as the amount of Nutty Butter I can consume in one sitting might shock most people. :) Yes, I love the Gingerbread, too. It is always so hard because I keep saying, “No, THIS is the best one yet!”


Tricia @ Saving room for dessert February 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Another seriously classic Sarah post! Good to see you again :) Love this recipe – really love it. Walnuts rock!


Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) February 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

This looks so dang inviting to me. I just can’t get my head around what the flavor is like. Tangy? Savory? I might just have to try it out so I an see for myself! It looks like a fantastic dip! Or maybe used on spaghetti squash? …with olives? Or am I way off… hmm…


Sarah February 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

No, you are right on! I actually am hoping to put some on spaghetti squash tonight. Maybe. :) [I had planned on photographing it that way actually, but just didn’t get it together in time.] LOVE the idea of olives, especially if you had really big Spanish ones. Yum! It is a really indescribable flavor…a little bit of everything, with a kick from the crushed red pepper.


Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli March 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

You cease to amaze me with your knowledge of all sorts of international cuisine! I’ve never even heard of muhamara and I only recently had romesco for the first time (when Laura took me to the underground supper club dinner party that will forever be the standard to which I compare all other dining experiences!). This looks mouth-watering m’dear! And you know I am 100% behind you in the raw mushroom as a dipper plan! What DON’T raw mushrooms go with?! Hmm, I should take that on as my next #strangebutgood experiment! Lol


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