This is my version of the classic romesco sauce that originates from Spain, which can be thick enough to be called a dip or spread. There are plenty of variations on the recipe, though most include white bread to add structure. My adaptation uses healthier rolled oats that are lightly toasted until golden to give an earthier flavor to this sauce, along with just a hint of smoked paprika. It is versatile and delicious kept thick, or thinned as a sauce. Bonus: My friend Heather Nauta (www.healthyeatingstartshere) has a demo of this recipe for you!
toasted rolled oats
use certified gf for gluten-free version, see note
roasted red pepper
about 1½ medium/large red peppers, see note
medium-large clove garlic
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
red wine vinegar
see note about peppers
as needed to thin as desired (use lesser amount for dip, see note)
In a food processor, combine all ingredients, starting with about 2 tablespoons of the water, and puree until smooth, adding more water to thin as desired. Season to taste with additional salt and/or pepper (if using the sauce straight as a dip or spread or to top vegetables, and so forth, you probably won’t need extra seasoning, but if tossing into pasta, you may want to add extra salt to the sauce or add it when mixing with the pasta).
- If This Apron Could Talk: When thinning, add the water about a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency. Keep in mind that when using for pasta, you can thin later by adding some pasta cooking water, rather than dilute the sauce when first pureeing it. If you chill the sauce, it will thicken more as it refrigerates, as the oats continue to absorb any moisture.
- Ingredients 411: Place the oats on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden, tossing once or twice. Watch closely, as the oats can burn quickly. You can use roasted red peppers from a jar, or roast them yourself; see “Plant-Powered Pantry,” page xxxviii of Let Them Eat Vegan. If using jarred peppers, check the ingredients for vinegar. If they are marinated in vinegar, you may want to omit the vinegar altogether, or reduce, adjusting to taste.
- Serving Suggestions: Kept thick, this sauce can be used as a spread or dip. It is like a roasted red pepper dip but with more texture and a deeper flavor profile. Try it as a base for your next pizza! It can also be thinned slightly to use as a sauce to kick up unseasoned tofu or beans, and of course, to toss with pasta.