Upgrade your olives with this Marinated Olives recipe. It’s the perfect way to add zesty Mediterranean flavor with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings!
Olives are one of those black and white foods: people either love them, or they passionately hate them. And because we accept zero olive slander over here at Live Eat Learn, I’m using this opportunity to teach you one of my favorite ways to enjoy them — marinated!
Marinated olives are the perfect heart-healthy snack loaded with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins like Vitamin E, calcium, copper, and iron. Their anti-inflammatory properties are also a great benefit and they serve as a staple in the classically healthy, veggie- and whole grain-focused Mediterranean diet (which is actually one of the only “diets” they recommended in nutrition school).
Marinated olives can be enjoyed as-is or as the perfect addition to your favorite charcuterie board presentation. When eating, you can grab with your fingers or use a toothpick (a la fancier occasions). Be sure to chew around the pit to avoid hurting a tooth!
Here’s what you’ll need
First, let’s cover the seasonings and herbs that will add flavor to the olives. Begin with 4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, and pair that with 4 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds. Slightly crush the seeds with the flat side of your knife to let those flavors escape!
As for the lemon, we will be using both the juice and peel of 1 fruit. While the juice brings sour acidity, the peel brings that distinct lemon flavor.
Next comes the olive oil. This will be the base for all of the flavorings, and we’ll be pouring the final mixture over the olives to complete the dish. You will need 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Use 1 pound of mixed olives. I suggest a mix made of varieties like kalamata, castelvetrano, and/or gordal. However, any mixture will work!
How to make Mediterranean marinated olives
Marinated olives come together in just 15 minutes. We’ll start by cooking the ingredients on the stove and then we’ll pour it over the olives!
Step 1: Combine the ingredients
Combine the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and fennel in a medium saucepan. Cut just the yellow portion of the lemon peel from the lemon and then add it to the pan (reserve the juice). Then, add the olive oil.
Step 2: Cook the flavorings
Set the pot over medium/low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture becomes fragrant. Reduce the heat if it begins to simmer or smoke (olive oil is a relatively low heat oil, so bringing the temperature too high could cause the oil to burn).
Step 3: Assemble the dish
Place the olives in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour the olive oil mixture over the olives and add the juice of ½ of the lemon.
Finally, gently toss to combine and coat the olives in flavor.
Which olives are best for marinating?
I mentioned using kalamata, castelvetrano or gordal olive, however virtually all types of olives will work! The main thing you want to look at is how the olives are packaged. Choose olives jarred in water. If they’re in their own marinade, they may not work as well in this recipe!
- Kalamata: The flavor of this type of olive is sweeter than what you’d find in, say, a black olive. The fruitiness pairs well with the savory addition of the seasonings!
- Castelvetrano: These olives are bright green with a sweet flavor and crisper texture. They perfectly soak up the infused oil.
- Gordal: Gordal olives are firmer than kalamata and contain a slight bitterness. However, it’s not overpowering and actually tastes great!
Do marinated olives go bad?
They do, but not right away! Fresh garlic is what goes bad first, but these usually last for up to 2 weeks. Like many marinated dishes, they taste the best around day 2!
Dishes to pair with these herby olives
These marinated olives pair well as a side with a bunch of different main courses. Try pairing them with one of these dishes for maximum flavor!
- Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Grapes
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Portobello Mushroom Gyros
- Caprese Panini
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fennel seeds slightly crushed with the flat side of your knife
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup olive oil 236 mL
- 1 lb mixed olives 453 g
- Combine: Combine garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and fennel in a medium saucepan. Cut just the yellow portion of the lemon peel from the lemon, then add it to the pan (reserve juice). Add in the olive oil.
- Cook: Set over medium/low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. If it begins to simmer or smoke, reduce heat.
- Assemble: Place olives in a large, heat safe bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over olives. Add the juice of ½ of the lemon, then gently toss to combine.