An Introduction to Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Roasted tomato vinaigrette is a culinary gem, bursting with the concentrated sweetness of Sun Gold tomatoes. This versatile dressing elevates even the simplest of salads to gourmet heights. It captures the essence of seasonal ingredients, celebrating the ripe, juicy tomatoes we long for throughout the winter months.

When roasted, the tomatoes' sugars caramelize, intensifying their delightful taste. The blistered skins add a subtle smokiness, a flavor dimension that one deeply appreciates.

The process of making roasted tomato vinaigrette is straightforward, requiring only patience as the tomatoes roast to perfection. The ingredients are kitchen staples, yet the end product delivers a complexity of flavors that suggest hours of advanced culinary technique. You can prepare it ahead of time, and it keeps beautifully in the fridge, ready to enhance dishes throughout the week.

In the Mediterranean cuisine spectrum, where fresh, high-quality produce is king, a good vinaigrette is a staple. This roasted tomato version aligns with those principles, relying on just a few carefully selected elements to deliver a punch of flavor. Sun Gold tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of red wine vinegar, and seasonings—these are the building blocks of a dressing that can bind a salad, harmonize a grain bowl, or complement a platter of roasted vegetables.

Roasted tomato vinaigrette is adaptable as well. A pinch of red pepper flakes does wonders for a spicier kick, while a squeeze of lemon juice can brighten the flavors further. Swapping in different vinegars, like balsamic for added depth or white wine vinegar for a lighter touch, can also create intriguing variations. And for those days when the sun-dried aroma of roasted Sun Golds isn't feasible, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes can stand in admirably, maintaining the vinaigrette's intended richness and essence.

This vinaigrette is not just a dressing, it's a flavor enhancer, a dish changer, and sometimes, the hero of the meal. From salads to grilled chicken, a dash on summer vegetables, or even over a piece of crusty bread, roasted tomato vinaigrette truly transforms the ordinary into something sensational.

Essential Ingredients for the Vinaigrette

Sun Gold tomatoes are the foundation of this vinaigrette, providing a unique sweetness and rich flavor. Their vibrant orange color not only makes for a visually appealing dish but also guarantees a concentrated tomato essence when roasted. The roasting process caramelizes the natural sugars and imbues the tomatoes with a subtle smokiness, enhancing the overall profile of the vinaigrette.

Extra virgin olive oil, a cornerstone of Mediterranean cuisine, brings a balanced richness and smooth texture to the dressing. Opt for a high-quality, fruity extra virgin variety. Olive oil's slightly peppery undertones complement the tomatoes beautifully, creating a harmonious base for the vinaigrette.

Red wine vinegar is chosen for its sharp, tangy character that cuts through the sweetness of the tomatoes, providing an essential acidic balance. This type of vinegar maintains the robust flavor profile that is integral to Mediterranean-inspired dishes. It's an excellent choice for preserving the red hue of the dressing, unlike darker vinegars that can muddy its appearance.

Fresh, finely grated garlic cloves impart a bold, aromatic bite that heightens the overall flavor profile. A little goes a long way, but the sharpness mellows as the vinaigrette sits, blending seamlessly with the sweetness of the tomatoes and the acidity of the vinegar.

Fresh basil is a recommended addition. Its distinctive, slightly peppery taste pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of roasted tomatoes, adding a layer of freshness to the vinaigrette. Chopped finely and stirred in at the end, basil also ensures the dressing doesn't lose its vibrant color.

If you prefer a bit of heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes will infuse a gentle warmth without overpowering the other flavors. For those who enjoy a touch of sweetness, a teaspoon of honey can balance the acidity of the vinegar and the tang from the tomatoes, creating a more rounded palate.

Varying the vinegar can yield intriguing results. Balsamic vinegar offers a deeper, more complex sweetness, while white wine vinegar brings a lighter, more delicate touch. Both alternatives can significantly alter the character of the vinaigrette, letting you customize it to your personal taste or the specific dish it will accompany. Lemon juice is another option for adding a bright, citrusy note, particularly if you're looking to lighten the profile.

The quality of the ingredients is paramount. Freshly picked, ripe Sun Gold tomatoes, high-quality extra virgin olive oil, and a well-chosen vinegar can make an impressive difference in the final result. Each element must be selected with care to ensure that the vinaigrette truly shines, elevating any dish it accompanies to gourmet status.

Necessary Equipment

To achieve the perfect roasted tomato vinaigrette, having the right equipment is essential. Here's a list of necessary tools to ensure your vinaigrette is smooth, well-emulsified, and exceptionally flavorful:

High-Speed Blender or Food Processor: A high-speed blender or food processor is key to creating a creamy, cohesive dressing. These appliances can thoroughly blend the ingredients, ensuring a smooth texture. Investing in a high-quality appliance means you'll get a more consistent blend, preventing any lingering tomato chunks that could disrupt the vinaigrette's delicate balance.

Baking Sheet: When roasting Sun Gold tomatoes, a sturdy baking sheet is necessary. Choose one that is large enough to spread the tomatoes in a single layer, allowing them to roast evenly. A high-quality baking sheet will also distribute heat more uniformly, preventing any tomatoes from burning.

Aluminum Foil: Lining your baking sheet with aluminum foil makes for easy cleanup and ensures that the tomatoes roast without sticking. It also reflects heat, helping to roast the tomatoes more evenly.

Ramekin: If opting to roast garlic for a deeper, more mellow flavor, a small ramekin is highly effective. It allows you to roast the garlic cloves in olive oil, maintaining their moisture and preventing them from drying out. A straightforward investment in a well-made ramekin can enhance the depth of flavor in your vinaigrette.

Silicone Spatula: A silicone spatula is beneficial for scraping down the sides of your blender or food processor to ensure every bit of tomato and seasoning is incorporated into the vinaigrette. It's also useful when transferring the mixture into a storage container, as it extracts the maximum amount of dressing.

Mason Jar or Airtight Container: Storing your finished vinaigrette in a mason jar or airtight container ensures it stays fresh and flavorful. The airtight seal protects the dressing from oxidation, preserving the vibrant flavors and smooth texture.

Using high-quality equipment not only makes the process smoother but also contributes to the precision and excellence of the final product. In gourmet cooking, each tool plays a pivotal role in achieving the best possible result.

Recipe for Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette:


  • 2 pints Sun Gold tomatoes, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss ½ of the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast until the skins begin to blister, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar. Season with salt and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the remaining pint of tomatoes to a food processor along with the macerated shallot mixture and lemon zest. Season with salt and pulse until smooth.
  4. Transfer the vinaigrette to a bowl and stir in the roasted tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed before serving.

Nutritional information per 2 tablespoon serving:

  • Calories: 35
  • Total Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 80mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 2.8g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.6g
  • Total Sugars: 1.8g
  • Protein: 0.4g
  • Vitamin A: 8.6% DV
  • Vitamin C: 11.8% DV
  • Calcium: 0.7% DV
  • Iron: 1.8% DV

Preparation Tips

To ensure your roasted tomato vinaigrette reaches its full potential, attention to detail in the preparation steps is crucial.

Roasting the Tomatoes and Garlic:

  1. Tomatoes: Begin by selecting ripe Sun Gold tomatoes. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet to ensure even cooking. Toss with olive oil to prevent sticking and enhance their natural flavors. Roast at 400°F until the skins blister and caramelize, about 15 minutes. This step concentrates their sweetness and adds a smoky depth to the vinaigrette.
  2. Garlic: To include roasted garlic, slice the top off a garlic bulb so the cloves are exposed. Place the bulb in a small ramekin, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and roast at 400°F for about 30 minutes. Roasting garlic produces a mellow, slightly sweet flavor that blends seamlessly into the dressing.

Blending the Ingredients:

  1. Shallots and Garlic: Combine the minced shallots and finely grated garlic with the red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Let this mixture sit for 15 minutes to macerate the shallots and garlic, softening their bite and blending their flavors with the vinegar. This mixture forms the aromatic foundation of the vinaigrette.
  2. Blend the Base: Transfer the reserved raw tomatoes to a food processor along with the macerated shallot mixture and lemon zest. Pulse until smooth. The combination of raw and roasted tomatoes adds complexity, with raw tomatoes providing freshness while roasted ones contribute sweetness and depth.

Achieving the Perfect Consistency:

  1. Emulsification: For a smooth, cohesive dressing, slowly incorporate the remaining olive oil while blending on low speed. This gradual addition helps emulsify the mixture, ensuring the vinaigrette doesn't separate. A high-speed blender or food processor is ideal for this task.
  2. Adjusting Thickness: If the vinaigrette is too thick, thin it out by adding a splash of water. This ensures the dressing is pourable and evenly coats the salad without clumping.

Adjusting for Dietary Preferences:

  1. For Vegan: Ensure all ingredients are plant-based. Substitute honey (if used) with a vegan-friendly sweetener like agave syrup.
  2. For Lower Fat: Reduce the amount of olive oil by half and replace it with additional vinegar or water for a lighter version. Note that this might slightly alter the flavor and texture.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls:

  1. Burning the Tomatoes: Monitor the tomatoes closely as they roast. Over-caramelizing can result in a bitter taste. Stir them halfway through the roasting time to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
  2. Overpowering Flavors: Be cautious with the garlic and shallot quantities. Fresh garlic can dominate the vinaigrette if used excessively. For a subtle hint of garlic, use a smaller clove or roast it for a milder flavor.

The freshness and quality of the ingredients are key to an outstanding vinaigrette. By carefully following these preparation steps and adjustments, you can achieve a roasted tomato vinaigrette that elevates any dish with its rich, vibrant flavors.

Serving Suggestions

Roasted tomato vinaigrette's versatility extends far beyond salads, transforming a variety of dishes with its rich, tangy profile.

Grilled Meats: Drizzle this vinaigrette over grilled chicken, steak, or pork to add a burst of flavor. Its smoky sweetness complements the charred taste beautifully. For a simple yet sophisticated meal, pair a tender grilled chicken breast with roasted tomato vinaigrette and garnish with fresh herbs.

Seafood: This vinaigrette pairs exceptionally well with seafood. Spoon it over grilled or baked fish like salmon, halibut, or trout. The acidity from the vinegar and the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes enhance the natural flavors of the fish. It's also excellent over shrimp skewers or scallops.

Pasta: Toss the vinaigrette with pasta for a light, refreshing dish. It works particularly well with warm pasta salads that include ingredients like olives, feta cheese, and fresh basil. Cold pasta dishes with grilled vegetables and firm cheeses also benefit from its tangy depth.

Vegetable Dip: Use this vinaigrette as a healthier alternative to creamy dips while providing robust flavor. It's a great companion for roasted or grilled vegetables, enhancing their natural sweetness.

Grain Bowls: Drizzle over grain bowls featuring quinoa, farro, or brown rice. Add elements like roasted chickpeas, diced cucumbers, sliced avocados, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for a nutritious, flavor-packed meal. The vinaigrette ties all the components together, adding coherence and zest.

Sandwiches and Wraps: Spread a thin layer inside sandwiches or wraps to elevate their taste. It works particularly well with Mediterranean-inspired fillings such as hummus, grilled vegetables, and feta cheese.

Breakfast: Drizzle it over a plate of scrambled eggs or an avocado toast to add a savory kick. It also complements veggie-loaded omelets beautifully, making for a gourmet morning treat.

Pizza: For an unconventional yet delectable experience, use the vinaigrette as a topping for homemade pizza. After baking, drizzle it over a Margherita or veggie pizza to introduce an extra layer of flavor. Its tanginess pairs well with melted cheese and fresh basil.

Crusty Bread: Serve the vinaigrette with crusty bread as an appetizer. Pour it into a small bowl for dipping, akin to an upscale replacement for traditional olive oil and balsamic vinegar dips.

By incorporating roasted tomato vinaigrette in these diverse ways, any meal can achieve new heights of flavor and sophistication.

Storage and Shelf Life

To store roasted tomato vinaigrette effectively and ensure it maintains its vibrant flavors, transfer the freshly made vinaigrette into a mason jar or any airtight container. This will help preserve the freshness and prevent oxidation that could compromise the taste and quality. Once sealed, the vinaigrette can be kept in the refrigerator.

The vinaigrette typically has a shelf life of up to five days when stored correctly in the refrigerator. During this period, it remains safe to use and should retain its original flavor profile. However, if you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, discoloration, or mold, it is essential to discard the dressing immediately.

Over time, the vinaigrette may thicken as it chills. To restore its pourable consistency, simply add a splash of water and stir well before using. This step ensures that the dressing remains smooth and easy to drizzle over your favorite dishes, providing that familiar tangy and savory flavor with every use.


What can I use as a substitute for Sun Gold tomatoes?
If Sun Gold tomatoes are unavailable, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are excellent substitutes. Their sweetness and small size work well for roasting and blending into the vinaigrette.

My vinaigrette is too thick. How can I fix it?
If your vinaigrette is too thick, add a small amount of water—start with one tablespoon—and blend until you reach the desired consistency. This will thin out the dressing without diluting the flavor.

Can I use dried sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh?
Yes, you can use dried sun-dried tomatoes. However, you'll need to soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes to rehydrate before blending.

What if I don't have red wine vinegar?
You can substitute red wine vinegar with white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or even fresh lemon juice. Each option will impart a slightly different flavor profile but will still work well in the vinaigrette.

How do I prevent my garlic from overpowering the vinaigrette?
To avoid overpowering garlic flavor, use a small clove or roast the garlic along with the tomatoes. Roasting mellows the garlic, integrating a softer flavor into the dressing.

My dressing separates when stored. What can I do?
Separation is natural for vinaigrettes. Before using, shake the container vigorously or stir the vinaigrette to re-emulsify the ingredients.

Can I make this vinaigrette vegan?
Yes, this vinaigrette is naturally vegan. Ensure that any sweeteners used, like honey, are substituted with vegan-friendly options such as maple syrup or agave.

How can I add more heat to the vinaigrette?
For a spicier vinaigrette, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a small amount of finely chopped fresh chili. Adjust the amount based on your heat preference.

Is there a way to reduce the acidity of the vinaigrette?
To reduce acidity, consider adding a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or a small amount of sugar. Start with a teaspoon and adjust to taste.

Can I freeze the vinaigrette?
Freezing is not recommended as it can affect the texture and flavor negatively. Instead, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.

By addressing these common questions, you can troubleshoot and customize your roasted tomato vinaigrette to suit your personal preferences, ensuring a delightful addition to your meals every time.

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette Recipe

This delicious roasted tomato vinaigrette is bursting with the sweet, tangy flavors of Sun Gold tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and lemon zest. It's the perfect way to elevate your favorite grilled meats, seafood, pasta dishes, and grain bowls.


  • 2 pints Sun Gold tomatoes, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss half of the Sun Gold tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread them out on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Roast the tomatoes in the preheated oven until their skins begin to blister and caramelize, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the finely minced shallots, finely grated garlic, and red wine vinegar. Season with kosher salt and let sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the remaining pint of Sun Gold tomatoes, the macerated shallot mixture, and the finely grated lemon zest in a food processor. Season with salt and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the roasted tomatoes.
  7. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust seasoning with more salt, black pepper, or additional lemon zest as needed.


  • This vinaigrette pairs beautifully with grilled meats, seafood, pasta, and grain bowls.
  • Store the vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • The vinaigrette may thicken slightly when chilled. Add a splash of water and stir well to adjust the consistency before serving.

Nutritional information per 2 tablespoon serving:

  • Calories: 35
  • Total Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 75mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.5g
  • Total Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 0.5g