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We're looking to ensure that every newly created opportunity has an OpportunityContactRole upon creation.

To do this, we removed the New Opportunity button everywhere which would force reps to create them through a contact, solving our problem.

On the Opportunity Tab > List View: recently viewed opportunities the new button remains and users have found it.

We know you cannot create triggers/workflows/pb's based on OpportunityContactRoles.

Is it possible to override that button with a vf page or error telling reps to create a contact via the Contact? I've seen some mixed messages.

Note: We're on lightning, if that helps

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I would use the same approch as it described here: Remove 'New' button from 'Recently Viewed' search layout

You can replace the new button with your custom vf page which is going to include custom validation.

(Or other idea: Why don't you use validation rule for this? Maybe declarative rollup summary and validation rule combined together can do the trick. Note: probably because you cannot use triggers on OpportunityContactRole)

However, even it is not a native tip but some Rollup Helper user reported that they had success with that product: https://success.salesforce.com/answers?id=9063A000000ssjAQAQ

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    Roll-up summaries managed by packages like DLRS work only in Scheduled mode for Opportunity Contact Roles - they can't run in real time due to the lack of trigger support. – David Reed Mar 27 at 15:20

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