Shrimp in Romesco Sauce

Shrimp and romesco sauce in skillet

Shrimp in Romesco Sauce ~ serve this grilled shrimp and bold roasted red pepper sauce along with some crusty bread for a Spanish style tapas menu. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the return of warmer weather.

Shrimp with romesco sauce in a skillet

This kind of easy eating is what I live for, without a lot of bells a whistles, just good simple ingredients with a hint of drama. And it’s become a catch phrase around here, but this shrimp in romesco sauce can be a hearty appetizer or an elegantly light supper (whichever way you go, you’ll almost feel that Mediterranean breeze!)

Romesco sauce is a raw Spanish (Catalonian to be specific) sauce, like an Italian pesto, that gets blitzed in a food processor. The vibrant flavor will blow you away, it’s so unusual. Roasted red pepper, garlic, almonds, tomato, Sherry vinegar (my favorite) smoked paprika, and cayenne go into your machine, and after a few quick pulses, out comes this rich red sauce with tons of flavor and a great rough texture.

grilled shrimp with romesco sauce in a pan

Romesco sauce is unrivaled for its glorious red color. Marinara sauce can’t touch it. Only the Syrian Muhammara comes close. It’s the roasted red peppers, they give the sauce that true vivid red. The peppers are sweet peppers, so the sauce isn’t hot by nature, but it can be if you like. I’ve added some cayenne pepper and smoked paprika for a bit of heat. You’ll adjust them to your taste.

Delicious ideas for how to use romesco sauce ~

Romesco is really a healthy, all purpose sauce, and there are lots of ways to use it…

  • It can be as simple as a spread for great fresh crusty bread or grilled bruschetta. Serve some Manchego or goat cheese on the side.
  • Serve it the same way you would hummus, as a dip for everything from pita chips to veggie sticks.
  • I like to use it as a raw sauce for pasta, just like I use pesto.
  • Spread it on pizza instead of tomato sauce.
  • Use it as a base for grilled fish or baked eggs.
  • It makes a great sandwich or burger spread.
  • Use it as a marinade for chicken.
  • Stir it into soups for an added pop of flavor.

Shrimp and romesco sauce in skillet

Whether you’re sharing with friends or chowing down with the family, a Savignon Blanc pairs well, and on the red side, a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir would be nice. And for another easy shrimp dish with an exotic flair, try my Argentinian Chimichurri Shrimp it represents the other end of the color/flavor spectrum!

Reader Rave ~

“Oh Sue, I just LOVE your recipes!
I forgot to buy the tomato paste and blitzed some sundried tomatoes instead. Put in some of the olive oil that they’d been preserved in. The end result was great, even greater with just a squish of lemon juice at the end.
Thanks for your great recipes!!!”
 ~ Marilyn

There is no one recipe for romesco sauce, and so there are lots of different interpretations out there. Mine is lightly adapted from Bon Appétit.


Shrimp and romesco sauce in skillet
3.63 from 45 votes

Shrimp in Romesco Sauce

Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp cleaned and shelled, tail on or off, your choice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


  • 8 ounces roasted red peppers mine were from a jar but you can roast them yourself
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds unsalted (whole, slivered, or sliced)
  • 3-4 Tbsp tomato paste I used the kind from the tube (you can also use tomato puree)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper more for more heat
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil use the good stuff!
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley leaves for garnish


  • Put all the sauce ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse to combine. Then, while the machine is running, slowly pour in the oil to make a loose but thick sauce. Taste to adjust any of the flavors. The flavor is enhanced by letting the sauce sit for a few hours or up to a few days ahead, refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
  • Coat the bottom of a skillet lightly with oil and heat until hot. Cook the shrimp on both sides until they have turned opaque and the shells have curled. This will only take a few minutes. Remove from the pan.
  • Add the sauce to the bottom of the pan and nestle the shrimp into the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with some good crusty bread.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it your own ~

  • This romesco sauce is decidedly the from-the-pantry version, but you can get as authentic as you want and roast your own peppers and ripe tomatoes, or even use the traditional Spanish dried Ñora peppers.
  • Hazelnuts are sometimes used in place of the almonds.
  • The next time I make this I think I’ll add a handful of good olives, either black or green.
  • You could serve the shrimp cocktail style, with a dish of the romesco sauce in the center for dipping.





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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Terri Abbott
    October 1, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    5 stars
    Love this! I wish you lived close to me; we could be foodie friends! Not to be weird, but I love everything you make; your creativity is so fun!!!

  • Reply
    Simply M
    January 22, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Would this be good at room temperature?

    • Reply
      January 22, 2020 at 11:56 am

      It would taste fine, but shellfish shouldn’t be kept at room temperature too long, 2 hours max.

  • Reply
    Heaven Cook
    December 6, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this recipe, it is absolutely outstanding thank you for the recipe

    • Reply
      December 6, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      You’re so welcome!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I am anxious to try this. However, there is someone in the family with a nut allergy. Any substitution suggestions?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      This is such a classic recipe I’m hesitant to suggest a substitution for the almonds, I would just leave them out.

  • Reply
    Denise P
    April 10, 2018 at 10:28 am

    5 stars
    Where has romesco sauce been all my life?! Made this last night and it was fabulous. Now I’m busy planning how to use the leftovers. This will be a regular at my table.

    • Reply
      April 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Oh yay, so glad to hear this Denise. You’ll find lots of uses for it, I bet.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2018 at 11:25 am

    5 stars
    HI Sue, I made this tonight and it was every bit as good as it looks. Easy too! I was lucky enough to have a tube of sun dried tomato paste on hand which gave it a really nice smoky tomatoey taste that worked well with the paprika. The best news is that I have a small container of sauce left and some good bread. I see a fried egg bruschetta with Romesco sauce happening in the near future :-).

    Thanks for posting!

    • Reply
      March 24, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      My husband and I were literally just talking about how much he loved this, Lynne! I think the sauce is made for eggs, I’m going to make baked eggs with it ~ and your bruschetta idea sounds amazing.

      • Reply
        March 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm

        ps the tomato paste out of the tube is so much better than the cans, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 22, 2018 at 4:30 am

    I love romesco sauce and so perfect with shrimp! Loving this 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    I love all the vibrant flavors in Romesco sauce and pairing it with shrimp is brilliant!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    This is fantastic. Lovely to share with close friends who don’t mind a bit of sauce dribbling down the chin while all talking over each other. We are going into Winter now but I think it’s stIll a brilliant bit of nosh. Put another log on the fire!!! ?

    • Reply
      March 21, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      I love how you think, Mary 🙂

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    March 21, 2018 at 11:17 am

    This is right up my alley, I love how easily you made your romesco sauce, brilliant! I could devour this entire plate within minutes…amazing recipe in all counts

  • Reply
    March 21, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Never combined roasted bell peppers with shrimps but love the idea very much ! This is going to be perfect refreshing and vibrant appetizer or even hot summer day lunch for my family ! Thank you so much !

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    March 21, 2018 at 7:43 am

    LOVE Romesco sauce. Only discovered it maybe a half dozen years ago, but it’s become a favorite. And it’s wonderful with seafood! Terrific dish — definitely my kind of food. Thanks!

    • Reply
      March 21, 2018 at 8:16 am

      I always confused it with romanesco, the crazy broccoli, and thought it was a strange sounding sauce, so glad I finally got wise 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    March 21, 2018 at 7:23 am

    What a gorgeous skillet of succulent shrimp! I can almost taste this sauce now – and wish I had a bowl with a nice hunk of bread too – yum!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    March 21, 2018 at 7:03 am

    This looks utterly delicious! Romesco sauce is definitely a favourite.

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