Shrimp Cocktail With Smoky Spanish Romesco Sauce

Take the classic shrimp cocktail up a few notches with this spicy—and yes, healthy—Romesco sauce.

Shrimp cocktail
Courtesy Image

Shrimp cocktail is played out and boring, so do both your body and the dish’s reputation a service by taking it to the next level with this recipe.

Add paprika, cayenne, and almonds to this Romesco sauce to make sure you—or anyone else who tries it—never view shrimp cocktail the same way again.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Lindsey Pine M.S., R.D.N., C.S.S.D., C.L.T. at TastyBalance Nutrition.

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Prep time

15 min.

Cook time

45 min.

  • For the Romesco sauce:
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 6 medium-sized garlic cloves (do not peel)
  • 1 12-oz jar of roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup canned diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • For the shrimp:
  • 1 lb large (31-40) raw shrimp
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

To make the Romesco sauce, preheat oven to 350°. Place almonds and garlic cloves on a sheet pan and toast in oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the almonds, but leave the garlic cloves to continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove garlic from oven, and remove skins when cool enough to handle.

Place almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Process almonds until they resemble coarse sand, about 30-45 seconds. Add the garlic, peppers, tomatoes, smoked paprika, salt, and cayenne. Blend until smooth. Once smooth, add the vinegar and olive oil, and blend until well-combined. Serve sauce at room temperature.

To make the shrimp, preheat oven to 500°. With a paper towel, pat shrimp dry.

In bowl, toss shrimp with the olive oil and salt. When oven is hot, place an empty sheet pan in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove the sheet pan and add shrimp in a single layer to the hot sheet pan. Place sheet pan with shrimp into the oven, and cook for 4 minutes. Remove shrimp from oven and chill until cold. Serve with romesco sauce.

Notes: Sauce tastes best when served at room temperature.