Sautéed Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

Crunchy spears of asparagus are topped with a rich tomato sauce in this fresh vegetarian side dish from our very own Luke Hines.


  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 large bunches of asparagus (about 400 g), woody ends trimmed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Romesco Sauce

  • 1 red capsicum, halved and deseeded
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbs toasted almonds, plus 1 tbs extra, roughly chopped, to serve


Step 1.
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Step 2.
For the romesco sauce, place the capsicum on the prepared tray, transfer to the oven and roast, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred and blistered.

Step 3.
Transfer the capsicum to an airtight container, tightly seal with the lid and set aside for 10 or so minutes to steam (the steam helps to lift the skin). When ready, peel off the capsicum skin and discard along with the stalk and seeds. Be sure not to rinse the flesh (it can spoil the flavour), transfer it to a food processor or blender together with all the remaining sauce ingredients and blitz to a chunky paste. Set aside.

Step 4.
Warm the oil in a large frying pan or chargrill pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus, in batches if necessary, and fry, tossing regularly, for 4–5 minutes, or until the asparagus softens slightly and starts to char.

Step 5.
Remove the asparagus from the pan and pile onto a serving platter. Spoon over the romesco sauce, sprinkle with the extra chopped almonds and enjoy. 

Serves 2