Fun summer foodie fact: Grilled veggies need a sauce. In a pinch, you might use hummus, ranch dressing, balsamic vinegar, or whatever is hanging out in the condiment part of the fridge. But, if you have 5 extra minutes, you should show your food processor some love and whip up this homemade romesco sauce.
Romesco is a Spanish sauce with a base of roasted red peppers. There are several variations out there, but I landed on a combination of roasted red peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, almonds, garlic, and a pinch of smoked paprika. The sauce is rich and tangy and never spicy, much like a marinara, but with a sweeter taste due to the roasted red peppers. Overall, the sauce has a smooth texture except for a few tiny chunks of almonds that add a little character and crunch to whatever you decide to slather this sauce on. Chicken, quinoa, rice, salad…you name it, it will gladly except a dollop of romesco. Perhaps you recall that I used it in these unique savory oatmeal bowls with chorizo.
Today, we’re keeping it simple and working with asparagus, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. I’ve always roasted or sautéed my asparagus (and you could totally do this), but grilling gives it that slight char to make the ends crispy, and it infuses the asparagus with that familiar, smoky summer flavor that you just can’t replicate in other cooking methods.
Grilling time takes 10-15 minutes. Be sure to flip the asparagus a couple times to ensure all sides are browned and slightly charred, but don’t overcook. Limp and soggy spears are not welcome!
Arrange the grilled asparagus on a platter and pour the romesco over the top. If you’re in the mood for an extra dose of flavor and crunch, shave some tangy cheese over the top. I used an aged gouda, but parmesan, manchego (if you want to bring even more Spanish flavor to this dish), or feta will work!
And there you have it! An easy side dish done in less than 30 minutes. Pair it with your favorite grilled protein for the ultimate summer meal!
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped roasted red peppers
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup toasted almonds
- 2 pounds of asparagus spears, ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Gouda or manchego cheese, shaved
- Chopped almonds
- Preheat the grill.
- Combine all the romesco ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is chunky and pasty.
- In a bowl, add the asparagus and drizzle it with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Transfer the asparagus to the grill and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the asparagus is slightly tender and charred edges have formed.
- Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter. Top with cheese and chopped almonds if desired.
Calories: 142.9 Fat: 8.1g Carb: 10.4g Fiber: 4.8g Protein: 5.8g Sugar .9g Sodium: 106mg