Grilled chicken and mushroom salad on Romesco sauce

Romesco sauce, with its roasted red pepper and almond base, provides a rich, smoky flavour that complements the chicken and mushrooms.

The origins of Romesco sauce can be traced back to the Catalonia region of Spain, specifically to the port city of Tarragona. This sauce was created by fishermen in the 19th century, who sought a flavourful way to enhance their freshly caught seafood. The original Romesco sauce was made using local ingredients such as roasted red peppers, almonds or hazelnuts, garlic, and olive oil, which were abundant in the region.

Romesco sauce is a testament to Catalonia’s rich culinary heritage, reflecting its Mediterranean influences and the region’s agricultural bounty. Over time, the sauce has evolved and been adapted to accompany a variety of dishes beyond seafood, including grilled vegetables, meats, and even salads.

If you’re looking for a dish that combines vibrant flavours, delightful textures, and a touch of culinary sophistication, look no further than grilled chicken and mushroom salad on Romesco sauce. This dish brings together the earthy richness of grilled mushrooms, the succulent tenderness of chicken, and the robust, nutty taste of Romesco sauce. Recipe compliments of South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.


Romesco sauce:

  • 2 large / 3 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 75g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 75g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 60g olive oil


  • 2 large free-range chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 250g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 150g mixed lettuce leaves
  • 125g cherry tomatoes, halves100g cucumber, sliced
  • 50g edamame beans, shelled
  • 1 small shallot, sliced thinly
  • 2 limes, halved, for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking


For the romesco sauce:

  1. Preheat oven onto grill setting and move rack to top third.
  2. Slice peppers into quarters away from the seeds, removing any white membrane.
  3. Place pieces skin side up on a baking tray.
  4. Drizzle with a little olive oil and rub into the peppers.
  5. Grill for 15 minutes until blistered, charred and soft.
  6. Quickly place peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film.
  7. Allow to steam until cool and then scrape the skins off with a knife.
  8. Place the rest of the ingredients, minus the olive oil, in a blender.
  9. Blend the ingredients together well and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. 
  10. Set sauce aside in the fridge until serving.

For the rest of the salad:

  1. Heat a cast iron grill pan or braai.
  2. In a bowl-drizzle the chicken breasts with a little olive oil. Scatter over the paprika and onion powder. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix to coat well.
  3. Grill the chicken breasts until lightly charred and cooked through. Set aside to rest.
  4. Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. When hot, add the mushrooms. Cook until golden brown.
  6. Season with salt, pepper and sherry vinegar.

To assemble the salad:

  1. Spread some romesco sauce onto the bottom of four shallow bowls. Drizzle over a little olive oil.
  2. Slice chicken and add to a mixing bowl with the mushrooms and the rest of the salad ingredients. Toss briefly.
  3. Plate onto the romesco sauce.
  4. Serve with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice and enjoy!

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