This vegetarian and delicious Easy Tomato Provencal Sauce is bursting with the bold flavors of ripe tomatoes, fragrant herbs, and a hint of garlic. This sauce will elevate your pasta dishes, grilled meats, and even roasted vegetables to a whole new level of yum! Plus, it’s ready in a snap, making it perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
Provencal Sauce Recipe Highlights
If you think the best and only tomato sauce comes from Italy, think again! This Sauce Tomate Provençale (just one of the many spellings we use) is extra-special because it hails from Provence, a delightful region in southeastern France. The chefs from this region have made this tomato provencal sauce an integral aspect of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet!
As Provence borders Italy, it’s no surprise that both regions became famous for their fresh tomato sauces. Having said that, this area has its own identity–namely due to what’s been called the Provençal dialect. We suggest you make this recipe in the summer to take advantage of the fresh tomatoes at your local farmer’s market–and then freeze the rest for another time.
- This kid-friendly, vegetarian tomato-based sauce will dress up whatever meat or fish you’re serving–use it as part of the next meal you cook, or simply throw it on leftovers.
- It’s a versatile tomato sauce that’s most commonly spooned over baked chicken, meat, white fish such as cod, and seafood such as calamari.
- This recipe for tomato provencal sauce makes mid-week meal planning a breeze. The Tomato Provençale Sauce does not require hours of simmering, so it can be ready for dinner if you get started in the late afternoon. Overall, it’s very simple to make!
Ingredients & Notes
One of the things we love about handmade tomato provencal sauce is the wiggle room it allows for cooks to add a little of their own personality to the dish. Here are the fresh and delicious ingredients we use, but feel free to adjust as you see fit.
For exact quantities and detailed instructions, please check the recipe card at the bottom of the post (scroll down).
- Roma Tomatoes. For this sauce, fresh is best! Often called plum tomatoes, Roma tomatoes have less water than other varieties and are therefore perfect for simmering. If you can’t find them, try using another variety, or canned tomatoes, instead.
- Olive Oil. Mediterranean cooking relies on olive oil because of the abundant olive orchards in the region. Since it is also heart-healthy and delicious, olive oil is also a smart choice for cooking. For the best flavor and performance, we recommend Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO for short).
- Garlic. Fundamental to any tomato sauce, garlic is a classic ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, just add a little garlic powder to the spices instead.
- Parsley. There are several types of parsley, but we recommend flat Italian parsley for this recipe. That said, if you have a stash of curly parsley in your fridge, go ahead and use it up!
- Onion. Like garlic, onion is an ingredient that cannot be skipped in a tomato sauce. Yellow onions pack the most flavor.
- Herbs. We recommend using fresh thyme and bay leaves for this recipe, but dried herbs will work just as well. You can also use Herbes de Provence, a dried French mixture that you can make yourself or purchase at the grocery store. Ingredients vary, but it is typically a mix of marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, savory, and sage. It’s delicious and a wonderful change from Italian Seasoning.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes. We love the liquid and texture that canned tomatoes add to this sauce.
- Seasonings. We recommend sea salt or kosher salt for this recipe, but if you don’t have any on hand, simply use half as much regular table salt. Ground black pepper adds depth of flavor, and a little sugar removes any bitter edge from the tomatoes.
Process Overview: Provencal Sauce Recipe Step-by-Step
Here’s how easy it is to make our Tomato Provencal Sauce.
- Get your ingredients ready.
Give the tomatoes a good wash, then seed and quarter them. Peel and slice onions, then chop a bunch of parsley. Chop a few garlic cloves and gather fresh herbs, or use a dried mix such as Herbes de Provence instead.
- Sauté the aromatics.
Heat a little olive oil and sauté the garlic and parsley. Add tomatoes, onions, herbs, and canned tomatoes, then stir well to combine.
Simmer for ½ hour, then add a little sugar to take off the bitter edge from the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then simmer some more. Use immediately or store for later use.
This tomato provencal sauce is delicious as-is, but you can also let it cool completely before blending it to create a smoother sauce.
Provencale Tomato Sauce Tips & Tricks
Add 1 tablespoon of capers, ¼ cup black olives, ¼ cup white wine, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, or additional herbs and spices such as a couple of leaves of fresh basil or a sprig of fresh rosemary if you wish. Some cooks even add a little (½ teaspoon) food-grade lavender, too, for which Provence is justly famous. Get creative!
If you would like a slightly thicker sauce, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Make a big batch in August and use the freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find from the farmer’s market or your own garden. The flavor will be out of this world! Then, portion it out and freeze it to use throughout the year.
We recommend using a wide, shallow skillet to prepare this tomato sauce.
Use this sauce as a quick and easy appetizer by setting out a shallow bowl of sauce and some crusty bread and raw veggies for dipping.
It’s all personal preference, but the ingredients in this sauce can be blended to create a sauce that is less chunky. Either way, it’s delicious!
Storing & Freezing Instructions
You may store the tomato provencal sauce in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze it for at least 3 months. We recommend portioning the sauce before freezing it so you take out of the freezer only what you need that day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every Provençale Sauce makes liberal use of tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and seasonings such as Herbes de Provence. Escoffier, who defined so much of French cuisine, included lardons (similar to ham) in his Tomato Sauce along with onions, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar. Many cooks today add additional ingredients to create their own signature dishes.
Provençale Sauce is traditionally used to perk up baked or roasted chicken, fish, and meat. However, it is also delicious with eggs, especially in a French dish called “oeufs à la provençale.” You’ll find many other uses for it, too. For example, try it with Chicken Parmesan, or over meatballs as a side dish. It is also wonderful over grilled eggplant for a quick vegetarian meal. If you need an easy appetizer, set out a small dish of sauce with crusty bread and raw veggies.
Provençale Sauce is a thick sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and seasonings. It is different from Italian Tomato Sauce because it uses less basil, is thicker, takes less time to simmer, and is often punctuated with flavor-making herb mixes such as Herbes de Provence.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
This tomato sauce can be the crowning touch for a dinner, lunch, or appetizer. There’s no wrong choice! You can even use this recipe to change up meals like:
Recipe Card 📖
Provencale Tomato Sauce
- 2 ½ pounds ripe Roma tomatoes (about 1 kg)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (75ml)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- ½ bunch Italian parsley, washed and chopped
- ¼ cup water (60 ml)
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced into ¼” slices
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf, dry
- 2 small cans diced tomatoes, including liquid (822 g)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (or to taste)
- Wash the tomatoes, then seed and quarter them.
- Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and parsley and sauté for 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the water, then add the Roma tomatoes, onion, thyme, and bay leaf. Mix well.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for ½ hour.
- Stir in the canned diced tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper, add the sugar, then simmer for another ½ hour.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve hot or let the sauce cool completely and whizz in a blender to remove any lumps.
- Add 1 tablespoon of capers, ¼ cup black olives, ¼ cup white wine, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, or additional herbs and spices such as a couple of leaves of fresh basil or a sprig of fresh rosemary if you wish. Some cooks even add a little (½ teaspoon) food-grade lavender, too, for which Provence is justly famous. Get creative!
- If you would like a slightly thicker sauce, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Make a big batch in August and use the freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find from the farmer’s market or your own garden. The flavor will be out of this world! Then portion it out and freeze to use throughout the year.
- We recommend using a wide, shallow skillet to prepare this tomato sauce.
- Use this sauce as a quick and easy appetizer by setting out a shallow bowl of sauce and some crusty bread and raw veggies for dipping.
- It’s all preference–but the ingredients in this sauce can be blended to create a sauce that is less chunky. Either way, it’s delicious and all goes to the same place!