Salsa Palermitana (Palermo-Style Sauce)

Salsa Palermitana (Palermo-Style Sauce)

12 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2009

This wine-based sauce of cherry tomatoes, olives and capers gets a tangy punch from plenty of lemon. Serve over pasta or grilled or roasted fish. Have some warm, crusty bread on hand to soak up any extra sauce.

Ingredients 12 servings

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Original recipe yields 12 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Sicilian, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • ¾ cup Nocellara olives or other big green olives, such as Cerignola, pitted
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed
  • 8 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat ¼ cup oil and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, lemons, olives, capers and oregano sprigs; bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat (reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, not a boil) until the sauce has reduced to about 6 cups, about 25 minutes. Add the remaining ¼ cup oil, chopped oregano and chopped parsley. Remove lemon quarters and oregano sprigs. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: ½ cup
  • Per serving: 160 calories; 11 g fat(2 g sat); 1 g fiber; 5 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 14 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 756 IU vitamin A; 12 mg vitamin C; 24 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 263 mg sodium; 233 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 fat

Reviews 12

July 25, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Not a fan favorite as a recently diagnosed T2 diabetic, I've been searching around for healthy, homemade pasta sauces. While this one is very healthy, it's not very well put together. First, it takes a long time to quarter 6 cups of cherry tomatoes. Second, it takes much longer to reduce down into a real sauce than the recipe suggests. Third, the sauce is far to acidic and tangy to really be palatable. I didnt care for it and my wife didnt like it at all. I realized that at the last minute and tried to balance it out with baking soda, bonito flakes and extra spices, but I just couldnt overcome the ridiculous amount of lemon flavor. That combined with the olives and capers just made for a mouth-puckering dinner. For the left-overs, I had to buy a jar of store bought sauce to pour over it. :( Pros: healthy Cons: took longer than I anticipated, taste was too tangy and acidic
June 13, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Bitter! Too many lemons! My sauce turned out very bitter and I followed the exact instructions! Don't know how to set it right. Will try adding a little sugar and butter to remove the bitterness. Very disappointed. Too much wine too which made the sauce watery :(
February 23, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Good with a Few Modifications We made 1/2 batch, and halved all ingredients except we used only 1 cup wine, and 2 quarters of only one lemon. For the tomotoes, after quartering we mushed them a little in the strainer to squeeze out the seeds. We also rinsed the capers. We simmered the ingredients (except lemon) for about 20 minutes, then added the 2 lemon quarters for the last 10 minutes. We liked this recipe a lot with these modifications. Pros: Liked olives very much in this sauce Cons: Are lemons really necessary
February 15, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
My sauce did look like the picture but it took me more than 25 minutes for it to reduce. Too much lemons and wine... A bit disappointed!
January 27, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
This sauce was fabulous! Since I only had enough cherry tomatoes to make a half batch, and based on others comments, I only used 1 cup wine and 1 lemon. After simmering, the sauce was a little bitter so I added 1/2 tsp. sugar. Perfect! We'll make this one again and again.
January 17, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
We loved this! It supper easy...a little bit lemoney, will probably cut back on the lemons next time, but very tasty. Planning on making it with Salmon this week.
December 31, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
The bitterness is coming from the lemon rinds - if you cook the sauce for longer than recommended, the bitterness is really going to come out. It is probably best to reduce the amount of liquid used in the first place to reduce cooking time, or add the lemons toward the end of the cooking. Three cups of wine seems like a lot to me too. Also, be sure to rinse the capers or they will add more tang than expected. Hope these suggestions help.
December 01, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
I had high hopes for this dish, but it turned out terrible! My first hint that the "sauce" might not turn out was when I added the wine. Three cups is a lot! I added 2 cups instead. The lemons were the same. Three seemed like it would overwhelm the tomatoes and garlic. I added 2. I allowed the "sauce" to simmer for MUCH longer than the recommended 25 minutes. It reduced, but instead of tasting rich and delicious, it was bitter and briny. The citrus in the lemons paired with all that wine totally took over. It was impossible to taste the tomatoes or anything else. No amount of Parmesan could turn it around. It looked wonderful, but my husband and I were unable to stomach it. I am usually able to make anything edible, but this one was a throw away.
December 01, 2009
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By: Carrie Sheffer Tortù
I haven't made this sauce, but I'm sorry to hear the disappointed comments. This sounds a lot like Spaghetti alla Puttanesca. You may want to give that a try instead. Here's a link to a recipe that I haven't personally used, but is nearly identical to my Italian husband's delicious version:
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