Sauce Vierge is a French modern classic tomato-based vinaigrette. It’s fresh, flavorful, and ready in less than 10 minutes. It can be enjoyed warm or cold, and it’s perfect with seafood.
What does Sauce Vierge mean in English? Well, it actually translates to “Virgin Sauce”. This name is said to reflect the sauce’s simplicity and purity, as it’s made with fresh and unadulterated ingredients, like tomatoes, garlic, herbs, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Combining these ingredients into a sauce or dressing has been a part of Mediterranean cuisine for centuries. But, the term “Sauce Vierge” emerged in the 1970s, popularized by renowned French chef Michel Guérard. [Source]
Why You’ll Love It
- Fresh flavor: When you make homemade Sauce Vierge, you can use the freshest ingredients available to ensure your dressing is bursting with flavor.
- Quick and easy: It’s so simple to make, with minimal ingredients, and it’ll be on the table in less than 10 minutes.
- Versatile: Sauce Vierge plays really well with seafood. I often serve it cold over sea bass, trout, lemon sole, salmon, and mackerel. However, it’s equally delicious, served warm with chicken, pork, lamb, and vegetables like cauliflower steaks.
- Suitable for a range of dietary lifestyles: It’s gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, keto, and paleo.
Health Benefits: Tomatoes and olives are loaded with nutrients! Both have been studied extensively for their anti-inflammatory benefits and their possible protective effects on heart health and type 2 diabetes. [Source, Source]
With just 8 main ingredients plus salt and pepper, your simple sauce can be ready in no time. Here’s what you’re going to need:
- Cherry Tomatoes: The choice of tomato can significantly impact the taste and quality of your Sauce Vierge. It’s best to use ripe, flavorful tomatoes. I’m using vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, as they tend to have a more intense and sweet flavor compared to standard supermarket tomatoes. I’m also leaving the seeds in the tomatoes to save time and avoid waste. However, you may want to remove the seeds if you want a more classic version of the recipe or if you’ve chosen a particularly watery variety of tomatoes.
- Mixed Pitted Olives: Each type of olive brings a unique flavor, such as brininess, sweetness, or smokiness, which makes the sauce incredibly flavorful.
- Fresh Garlic: Because tomatoes, olives, and garlic are the best of friends.
- Fresh Basil Leaves and Thyme: Gives the sauce a fresh and herby flavor to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes and the brininess of the olives.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: As olive oil is a key component of a velvety sauce, it’s important to use good quality olive oil.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: For a fresh, zesty kick. The tangy flavor really brightens up the sauce, making it even more delicious.
- Ground Coriander: Adds a subtle warmth.
- Sea Salt Flakes and Black Pepper: Makes all the flavors pop!
These visual step-by-step instructions provide a quick overview of the recipe. You can find the recipe card with the full list of ingredients and detailed recipe instructions at the bottom of this page. ⇩
1: Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.
2: Gently toss to combine. Then Serve!
- Choose ripe tomatoes: They are the foundation of the sauce. Look for vine-ripened or heirloom varieties for the best taste. If the tomatoes contain a lot of seeds, you’ll want to remove them to avoid the sauce becoming too watery.
- Quality olive oil: Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. It’s a key ingredient, so using the best you can find will enhance the flavor of the sauce.
- Fresh herbs: Always! Their aromatic freshness is crucial in this sauce.
Remember that Sauce Vierge is a versatile sauce, so don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own.
- Tomatoes: The key is to use tomatoes that are at their peak of ripeness and flavor. This ensures that your Sauce Vierge will have that fresh and vibrant taste that is characteristic of this classic French sauce. Instead of vine-riped cherry tomatoes, you could use Heirloom tomatoes, which come in various colors and shapes, are prized for their unique flavors, and can add complexity to the sauce. Or, how about other flavorful varieties like San Marzano, Roma, or beefsteak tomatoes?
- Olives: Experiment with different olive varieties, such as Kalamata, green, black, or a mix, based on your flavor preference. If you’re not an olive fan, you can use capers for a briny element or omit them altogether.
- Herbs: Feel free to use a variety of fresh herbs based on what you have available. Parsley, basil, chives, tarragon, or cilantro can all work well.
- Citrus: While lemon juice is a common choice, you can include lemon zest for a more lemony punch or lime juice for a different citrusy dimension. Alternatively, you could use vinegar. Balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar are both fab.
- Garlic: If you’re not a fan of raw garlic’s pungency, roast the garlic before mincing. This will mellow the flavor.
Feel free to use these variations as inspiration to create your own unique and tasty vierge sauce. The possibilities are endless!
- Mediterranean Variation: Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a handful of crumbled feta cheese to the basic Sauce Vierge. The sun-dried tomatoes bring an intense umami flavor, while the feta adds creaminess and tang.
- Spicy Variation: Kick up the heat with finely chopped jalapeño pepper or red chili flakes.
- Green Sauce Vierge: Replace traditional red tomatoes with ripe green tomatoes and use a mix of green herbs like parsley, cilantro, and chives. This variation offers a fresh and vibrant green sauce vierge, perfect for grilled vegetables or seafood.
- Fruity Variation: Add diced fresh fruits like mango, pineapple, or peach to the sauce for a sweet and fruity twist. This version pairs exceptionally well with grilled pork or as a salsa for tortilla chips.
- Smoked Paprika Variation: Incorporate smoked paprika into the sauce for a smoky and earthy flavor. It’s an excellent match for grilled meats or roasted potatoes.
To give you some ideas, here are my favorite ways to serve Sauce Vierge:
- Grilled Seafood: Scoop over grilled fish such as sea bass, tuna, salmon, or shrimp.
- Grilled Meats: Use it as a condiment for grilled meats like chicken, lamb, steak, or pork chops.
- Pasta: Toss it through freshly cooked pasta for a simple pasta salad.
- Vegetables: Use as a dressing for roasted or steamed vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or green beans.
- Bruschetta: Spoon it over toasted baguette slices for a quick and appetizing bruschetta. It’s perfect as an appetizer or snack.
- Omelettes and Frittatas: Add to omelets (omelettes) or frittatas
- Crostini: Serve it on top of crostini and a sprinkle of goat cheese for a delicious party appetizer.
- Dipping Sauce: Serve it as a dip for crusty bread, pita chips, or even french fries.
Keep in mind that Sauce Vierge is best enjoyed fresh for its vibrant flavors, so if possible, make it shortly before serving. However, if you do have leftovers, proper storage can help maintain its quality.
- Fridge: Seal leftovers in an airtight container and pop them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If you’ve heated the sauce, let it cool to room temperature before putting it into the fridge.
- Freezing: Not suitable for freezing. The texture significantly changes once frozen and thawed.
Sauce Vierge is full of vibrant flavors, combining the sweet tanginess of fresh tomatoes, the richness of extra-virgin olive oil, aromatic fresh herbs, a zesty kick from lemon, subtle garlic flavors, and the savory depth of olives. It’s a refreshing blend of ingredients that brightens up dishes, especially seafood, with a burst of fresh, herby goodness!
Sauce Vierge is a classic French sauce known for its fresh and vibrant flavors. It typically includes ingredients like tomatoes, olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, and citrus.
Yes! Although Sauce Vierge is best enjoyed fresh, you can make it in advance if you wish. Simply store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Yes, you can omit olives if you’re not a fan. Replace them with extra tomatoes. If you still want some briny flavor, experiment with other ingredients like capers.
While fresh herbs are preferred for their vibrant flavor, you can use dried herbs as a substitute if preferred. Use about one-third of the amount of dried herbs compared to fresh, as dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor.
More Tomato Recipes
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Easy Sauce Vierge Recipe with Tomatoes and Olives
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- Cutting Board
- Garlic Press, or finely chop with a sharp knife
- Mixing Spoon
- 1⅓ cups (200 grams) vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ⅔ cup (90 grams) mixed olives, such as Kalamata, black olives, or green olives, quartered
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander, or toasted and ground coriander seeds
- Prepare Ingredients: Gather and prepare your ingredients.
- Assemble: Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Taste and more seasoning if desired.
- Warm Sauce Vierge: If you'd prefer your sauce to be warm, add the ingredients to a large frying pan and warm over a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Avoid bringing it to a simmer or boil because the sauce will lose its fresh flavor.
- Serve: Serve your sauce over white fish (such as Air Fryer Sea Bass, cod, hake, trout, or monkfish), other seafood (like tuna, shrimp, or scallops), roasted vegetables, baked chicken, pork tenderloin, lamb chops, or beef. Pile it onto bread to make Tomato Bruschetta, add it to crostini for a tasty appetizer, scoop it up with tortilla chips, use it as a pizza topping, or stir through breakfast eggs (such as scrambled eggs, muffins, and frittatas).
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.