Easy Peri Peri Sauce
A mouthwatering sauce, studded with garlic, lemon and a kiss of heat. Brush it on roasted veggies, spread it in your favorite sandwich, or use it as a flavorful glaze on your protein of choice. Customize it to be as mild or spicy as you'd like! Vegan & Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
The first time we tried peri peri sauce was at Nando’s, a restaurant chain known for their grilled chicken. While our chicken eating days our behind us, our love for peri peri sauce is definitely not. Peri peri sauce is a versatile sauce loaded with so much more flavor than just straight spice: it’s tangy, garlicky, salty, and has a lingering heat that makes you want more. And as good as it might be on chicken, there are also a ton of other ways to use it. You can spread it in sandwiches, swirl it into dips, drizzle it onto grain bowls, or slather it onto roasted veggies. It’s seriously addictive stuff, so consider yourself warned.
The best thing about making your own peri peri sauce at home is that you can control how spicy you want it to be. We haven’t been to Nando’s in years, but recently set eyes on a big bottle of Nando’s hot sauce at our local Costco. Now, we love spice, but when we cracked into the “Medium” (ie. the only version that Costco stocks), we found it quite a bit spicier than we remembered. And for some of our friends, it was wayyy too spicy to even eat. Which felt sad, because everyone should be able to enjoy a little peri peri in their life! So, we embarked on a mission of making our own. One with fresh ingredients and all the flavor we love - just without the (spice induced) tears.
After many trial runs and side-by-side taste tests, we’re thrilled to have perfected our take on peri peri sauce. This version is delicious in all the right ways - and better yet, super easy to make at home. In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients already on hand. Stuff like the garlic, onion, lemon, and paprika. For the spice, we substitute traditional piri piri peppers for a small Thai red chili instead. Our local grocery stores don’t stock piri piri peppers, and with Thai red chilis being pretty abundant these days, we figured we’d make it easier for everyone (including ourselves). Use a full chili (including seeds) for a moderately spicy sauce, or opt for half a chili if you prefer mild. We were shooting for crowd-pleasing spice levels, but if you’re a heat addict, you can always add more.
And lastly, a roasted red pepper provides most of the body to the sauce - and also gives it a bright orangey red colour that would be pretty deadly to accomplish with spicy peppers alone. As a time-saving trick, we use a roasted red pepper from the jar. There’s usually at least 3-4 peppers in a jar you buy at the store, so for this recipe just use one. The balance can be used on pizzas, in pasta sauces, soups, you name it. If you’re feeling fancy, you always have the option of roasting your own pepper at home (like this).
Our favorite way to use this Easy Peri Peri Sauce is by brushing it on roasted or grilled veggies, but keep your eyes peeled for other recipes that use this sauce. Because we’re pretty obsessed with it!
EASY PERI PERI SAUCE
MAKES ~3/4 CUP - vegan, gluten free
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup white onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 roasted red pepper, from jar
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or substitute other neutral oil)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 - 1 thai red chili (stem removed)*
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
Add white vinegar, white onion, garlic, roasted red pepper, grapeseed oil, lemon zest, salt, paprika, and thai chili to a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a pot, set over low heat. Simmer sauce for 30 minutes, or until reduced to approximately 3/4 cup. Add 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice, to taste. Use as desired, storing extras in the fridge.
-*Use 1 Thai red chili for a moderately spiced sauce, or reduce to half a chili pepper for a mild sauce. If you want a spicier sauce, opt for more chili, but work your way up carefully as the chilis are quite spicy!