Salsa brava is a popular Spanish tomato-based sauce that comes together super quickly with just a handful of pantry ingredients. Serve this deliciously rich sauce over crisp potatoes or anything else you fancy!
Salsa brava (bravas sauce) is a spicy Spanish sauce that’s typically served as a topping for patatas bravas, perhaps one of the most popular tapas dishes.
There are loads of salsa brava versions out there, some made with tomatoes, some without, but the common denominator is typically paprika.
Since I crush the garlic and there are no onions or chunky tomatoes in my version, there’s no need to blend the sauce at the end unless you really want to.
Why you’ll love this salsa brava recipe
- It has some pretty amazing flavors!
- Salsa brava is a versatile sauce that you can use in different ways, from spooning it over crispy potatoes to serving it as a dip.
- It’s incredibly easy to make, and you don’t even need a blender.
Ingredients and substitutions
Olive oil — Use the best quality olive oil you can because it really makes a difference.
Garlic — I typically use two large garlic cloves in this recipe, but you can adjust the quantity to your liking.
If you don’t want your Spanish bravas sauce to be too garlicky, you can reduce the quantity to 1 small garlic clove.
I like to use tomato puree in salsa brava because it provides a smooth and rich base and I can make the sauce without a blender.
Smoked paprika — Paprika is a key ingredient in salsa brava as it gives it that signature deep, smoky flavor. You can adjust the amount based on your preference for smokiness.
Cayenne pepper — This adds heat to the sauce, so make sure you only use an amount you’re comfortable with.
Red wine vinegar — This provides a tangy, slightly acidic element to balance the flavors. You can substitute it with sherry vinegar.
How to make salsa brava
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add the crushed garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often to prevent it from burning.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat, adjust the salt to taste and enjoy!
Leftovers and storage
- Store any leftover salsa brava in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It typically keeps well for up to a week.
- You can also freeze salsa brava for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recipe notes and tips
- If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the finished salsa brava until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Feel free to play around with the levels of garlic, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper to suit your taste preferences.
- While traditionally served with patatas bravas, this sauce is incredibly versatile. Try it with grilled vegetables, as a dip for bread, or even as a flavorful addition to sandwiches.
If you liked this salsa brava recipe, you might also like some of my other easy vegan recipes:
- Coconut Milk Pasta Sauce
- Vegan White Bean Pasta Sauce
- Sriracha Pasta Sauce
- Silken Tofu Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Chickpea Pasta Sauce