Recipes - Vegetarian

Marinated olives – a recipe with garlic, herbs, spices

When it comes to my favourite nibbles with a glass or two of wine I have two go-to recipes – roasted, spicy almonds and marinated olives. Both have health promoting benefits (unlike potato chips). Here you’ll find an easy recipe for marinating your own olives.

Marinated olives, recipe, garlic, chilli, herbs, Silician, Kalamata

Olives, an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, are rich in health promoting monounsaturated fats. Search online and you’ll find realms of research that supports olives as part of a balanced diet. With these health benefits in mind too often I’m shocked to discover that the marinated olives sold in supermarkets (and even in speciality stores and providores) are marinated in vegetable oil. I’m not going into the dangers of vegetable oil here but rest assured I’ll do anything to avoid the stuff.  I’d rather give olives a miss than eat those covered in vegetable oil. That’s why I got into marinating my own.

If you love olives but feel too busy to marinate your own then try this recipe and you’ll quickly change your mind.

Marinated olives in less than fifteen minutes

Prepare at least 3 hours before serving (the longer the better – they’re at their best even after 2 weeks).


  • Two cups of unpitted olives – a mix of Sicilian and Kalamata work well but you can stick with one type
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp each of fennel and coriander seeds, ground in a pestle & mortar
  • Few sprigs of few rosemary or thyme (or a combination of both)
  • Few strips of orange rind (or lemon rind as an alternative)
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Marinated olives, recipe, garlic, chilli, herbs, Silician, Kalamata

1. Prepare the olives

Using a sharp knife cut a slit in each olive lengthways through to the stone. This allows the marinade to penetrate. If you’re pushed for time and your olives will marinate for more than a few days you can skip this step.

2. Combine everything in a large bowl

Add the garlic, herbs, lemon (or orange) rind, ground spices and chilli flakes (if you’re using them). Mix and then cover with a generous pour of olive oil. If you’re marinating for more than a day then completely cover the olives with oil (they marinate well for a few weeks).

Marinated olives, recipe, garlic, chilli, herbs, Silician, Kalamata

3. Marinate

Store the mixture in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Give the jar a gentle shake occasionally to re-distribute the ingredients. Remove an hour before serving to allow the olives to come to room temperature.

Marinated olives, recipe, garlic, chilli, herbs, Silician, Kalamata

Serve your olives with cocktail sticks and a small bowl for the stones.

Marinated olives, recipe, garlic, chilli, herbs, Silician, Kalamata

By Feast Wisely


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