Add some freshness to your plate with this Tangy Leek and Olive Gremolata Sauce. Made with leeks, herbs, olives, and white wine vinegar, you can store this herbaceous condiment for weeks at a time and use it on anything.Jump to Recipe
My Tangy Leek and Olive Gremolata Sauce is bound to become your new favorite condiment because of its fresh, aromatic, and vibrant flavors. Plus, it’s so easy to make! It’s all you need to take your dishes from good to great.
I made this Italian-inspired green sauce with similar ingredients to a traditional gremolata and chimichurri sauce. The base is formed from finely chopped leeks and herbs, then enhanced with the bright and tangy flavors from lemon, olives, and white wine vinegar. When it’s ready, just seal it in a jar and enjoy for weeks on end.
What is gremolata sauce?
A traditional gremolata sauce is an Italian condiment made from parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. The 3-ingredient sauce is typically served on top of osso buco, fish, pasta, lamb, and more!
While this isn’t an authentic gremolata recipe, it’s made with similar ingredients and can be served with both meat and veggie dishes. This version is made with finely diced leeks, herbs, lemon, capers, and olives. While it’s much tangier than the traditional sauce, it’s still full of brightness and vibrancy.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Leeks – Make sure to clean the leeks really well by slicing part way through the stalks and leaves before rinsing them under water. Leeks can hold a lot of dirt and sand you wouldn’t want to eat.
- Fresh herbs – Instead of using parsley like in an authentic gremolata, this version is made with cilantro, green onions, and fresh basil.
- Lemon – Both the zest and juice give the sauce brightness and acidity.
- Garlic – The savory flavors from the grated garlic make this an excellent condiment to serve with hearty meals like steak, chicken, or salmon.
- Capers and Castelvetrano olives – Bon Appetit claims Castelvetrano olives are the best and I couldn’t agree more! Along with the capers, they provide this sauce with its signature tangy flavor.
- Oil and vinegar – Olive oil and white wine vinegar add depth and an extra tang to the sauce.
How to make homemade gremolata sauce with leeks
- Prepare the leeks: Trim and wash the leeks really well. Finely chop the leeks and place them in a bowl.
- Add the rest: Chop your fresh herbs, olives, and capers. Add them to the bowl with the leeks. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, grated garlic, salt, vinegar, and olive oil.
- Store for later: The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil overtop to preserve the color.
What goes well with a leek gremolata sauce?
Almost anything! Layer a spoonful or more of this green sauce over hearty meat dishes or lighter meals. This is just a snapshot of what you could serve with the sauce:
- Meat: Other than the traditional lamb and osso buco, the sauce would be delicious on vinegar chicken, a grilled ribeye steak, and pork chops.
- Pasta: To dress up your veggie and prosciutto penne and cauliflower gnocchi.
- Salad and vegetables: Add a scoop on some cauliflower steaks, grilled vegetable kabobs, shaved zucchini salad, butter lettuce salad, smashed potatoes, and warm potato salad.
- Seafood: Like prawns, scallops, baked salmon, and grilled shrimp.
- Breakfast: Enjoy the sauce on top of your eggs and toast or on the side of a bagel and lox brunch board.
Tips and substitutions
- If you don’t like cilantro, you can make this with fresh parsley instead.
- Can’t find white wine vinegar? Replace it with more lemon juice or rice vinegar.
- Use a food processor instead of chopping by hand. Pulse the roughly chopped leeks, herbs, olives, and capers until the mixture is a bit chunky but not smooth. Afterward, stir in the rest of the ingredients to complete the sauce.
More sauces to try with dinner
Did you give this Tangy Leek and Olive Gremolata Sauce a try? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or share a picture on Instagram! I love to share all of your recreations on my page.
Tangy Leek and Olive Gremolata Sauce
- 2 medium leeks, ends trimmed, finely chopped with green parts included
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- 15 leaves basil, finely chopped
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
- ½ cup castelvetrano olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
- Trim both ends of the leeks and cut them in half. Rinse them very well under water, making sure to spread the leaves and folds apart to remove as much dirt and sand as possible.
- Cut the leeks into small strips and finely chop. Add to a bowl.
- Finely chop the cilantro (stems included), green onions, and basil. Add them to the bowl with leeks.
- If your olives have pits, smash them with a knife to remove the pit or cut around the pit. Roughly chop the pitted olives as well as the capers. Add them to the bowl with the leeks and herbs.
- Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Grate in the garlic over top and add the salt, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. You might need more olive oil if you want the sauce to be more runny.
- Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top to preserve the color of the sauce and help it last longer. Enjoy this tangy and delicious sauce on anything from eggs, toast, fish, chicken, steak, or pasta.