I love recipes for nibbles and appetizers which take only a few minutes to make and I also love recipes which I can make ahead and stash in my fridge so they are ready and waiting when people come over. This is definitely a recipe which takes care of both of those loves! Tasty Italian marinated olives full of the warm flavors of the orange and lemon and thyme and rosemary, all just sitting in my fridge to be pulled out for a nosh. Pull out some cheese and crackers, make a great antipasto platter with sliced meats, or just have them on their own! No matter what you do with them, these olives are worth making.
I’ve bought marinated olive mixes many times over the years and they’ve always been a great addition to appetizer trays or as a little something extra along with a simple dinner. But then a few years ago, I thought:
Why am I buying them?
I already buy olives regularly, so it’s easy enough to turn them into marinated olives!
There are a lot of different olive varieties out there. It’s fun to try different ones, so keep an eye out and buy a jar of some new to you olives when you get the chance.
I decided to start with my Italian marinated olives, but one thing that’s great about making your own spiced olives is that there are so many different flavor profiles you can go for and I hope to share some other versions I love here in the future.
As for this recipe, you only need a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way!
- Some tasty olive oil – both to flavor the olives and because the oil is great for dipping bread into
- At least one variety of olive, though I like at least two and up to four different olives
- Some citrus peel – orange and/or lemon (and a little zest)
- A few fresh herbs, garlic, and some spices
If your pantry is anything like mine, you probably have most of these things on hand already. I did have to run out and get the Castelvetrano olives. Those are the big, green ones. They are so lovely and creamy that I couldn’t resist them! Yum! And, since I wanted to make the pictures especially pretty, I searched out Nicoise olives as well. However, I have happily made this recipe with the usual kalamatas I always have and whatever green olives caught my fancy.
You might notice that I decided to serve them with a little antipasto platter. Just a simple one of mixed, sliced cured meats, a few crackers I had, and some yummy burrata cheese. (so rich and creamy!) However, they are just as good enjoyed as a snack all by themselves. 🙂
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 5-6 strips citrus peel, lemon and orange
- 2 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 tsp cumin seed, lightly crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
- 2 leaves bay
- 3 cups mixed olives, black and green, unpitted
In a medium saucepan, gently heat the olive oil and garlic until it is quite warm, about 2 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the olives and warm it over very low heat for 3 minutes more. Take the pan off the heat, add the olives, and stir to combine.
Transfer the olives to a sealed container and let them marinate for at 2 days and up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
If you prefer pitted olives, you can use them. However, you'll have the best flavor using olives which have not been pitted.
I used a mix of kalamata, nicoise, picholine, and castelvetrano olives. See what is available at your market and try for a variety of sizes and flavors.