Delectably savory and earthy, marinated olives are a delicious accompaniment to serve with cocktails or wine, or as part of a cheese board or antipasto platter. So easy and fun to prepare, my marinated olives recipe is made with two kinds of olives, good quality olive oil, fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon peel and a pinch of red pepper flakes for incredible flavor!
Olives Marinated in Deliciously Savory Ingredients
Olives have been a favorite briny snack to pick at ever since I was a kid.
My mom used to get a jar of the green, pimiento-stuffed olives, and I used to sneak them whenever I was craving something savory and salty, enjoying them with cheese and crackers, or on their own.
And when I was introduced to black olives (especially Greek Kalamata olives), those became my favorite, and I'd always ask for those as a topping on my pizza—so tasty!
These days, I love to enjoy olives as much as ever, as an appetizer with cocktails, or part of a homemade cheese board or antipasto platter.
And one my favorites ways to enjoy olives is marinated in lots of savory bells and whistles, perfect for when I'm craving something with a bit more flare and flavor.
My marinated olives recipe is not only easy to prepare from scratch, but it tastes like a little gourmet goody one would find at an Italian market or a gourmet cheese shop.
Prepared with two varieties of richly flavorful olives, good quality olive oil, some fresh herbs, garlic, lemon peel and a kiss of red pepper flakes for warmth, these marinated olives are a staple for us whenever we have guests over, or just as a tasty treat to snack on.
And the best part? There's no need to buy them at the market!
My Recipe for Marinated Olives
For my marinated olives recipe I like to use both Kalamata (Greek) and Castelvetrano (Sicilian) olives, the deep purple and yellow-green olives, respectively.
Each have a rich, unique flavor that is excellent with the marinade, bringing out their tastiest aspects.
I typically buy good quality, organic olives, then drain them of their brine, but do not blot them of the brine to keep a bit of tang.
And as I mentioned, I like the combination of Kalamata and Castelvetrano olives personally, but one can use any variety one chooses, even just a single variety of olive, if preferred.
As for the marinade, it is a very simple combination of fruity, mellow olive oil (not too bitter or grassy, nor too light), fresh lemon peel, fresh rosemary and thyme, several large, smashed garlic cloves, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a tiny bit of sea salt.
Here's a glance at my marinated olives recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my marinade and allow that to warm and infuse for a very short while to extract the flavors from the ingredients.
- I drain and prepare my olives, placing them into a bowl.
- Then, I pour my olive oil marinade over the olives, and allow them to marinate at room temp for at least a few hours or even up to 48 hours, if serving within a couple of days, or in the fridge if preparing ahead (more flavor).
by Ingrid Beer
These savory marinated olives are an easy, gourmet treat, flavored with rosemary, thyme, lemon peel, garlic, and red pepper flakes!
Yield: Serves 16 (4 olives per person)
Nutrition Info: 45 calories per serving
Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes oil infusing time, but not marination time)
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 ½ cups combination of pitted Kalamata and Castelvetrano olives (or just one variety)
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 medium sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 medium sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 thin strips lemon peel (about 2 inches each)
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Drain the olives of their brine, but do not blot dry as to keep some of the tangy briny flavor. Place the olive into a medium-size bowl.
- Next, pour the olive oil into a small sauce pan or sauce pot, and add into it the sprigs of rosemary and thyme, the smashed garlic cloves, the lemon peel and red pepper flakes, along with the sea salt. Place over low heat and gently heat the olive oil just until warm, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Next, allow the olive oil to infuse for 20 minutes and slightly cool. Then, pour it over the olives in the bowl, along with all the aromatics in the oil, and allow the olives to marinate at room temp (at least 4 hours) if serving within one or two days, or in the fridge if preparing further ahead.
- When ready to serve, spoon the olives, along with some of their flavorful oil, into a serving dish, and serve the olives at room temperature with small forks or toothpicks. (You can store the marinated olives, packed in their oil and seasonings, in 16 ounce, wide-mouth mason jars with lids, if desired.)
Tips & Tidbits for my Marinated Olives recipe:
- Two kinds of olives for varying flavor and texture: I'm using organic, pitted Greek Kalamata olives and Italian Castelvetrano olives for this recipe, as each has a uniquely rich flavor. You can use just one of these olives if you prefer, or choose your favorite variety of olive, making sure they're pitted for convenience.
- Good quality olive oil for richness: I like an olive oil that is not too grassy or bitter, nor too light in flavor. I like to use California Olive Ranch brand “global blend”, as this is an extra virgin oil with really well balanced flavor.
- Fresh herbs for earthiness: My choice of fresh herbs here is rosemary and thyme, as they compliment each other and create a really nice, subtle herby note. You can use just one of these, or other types of herbs that you like... you can be creative!
- How to serve marinated olives: I will often spoon out some marinated olives and place them into a small dish with toothpicks or small forks to have on their own with a glass of wine or with a craft cocktail. They're also terrific alongside good cheese and crackers, or with salami/cured meats, cheeses, and peppers on an antipasto platter.
- How to store marinated olives: I keep my prepared jar of marinated olives in the fridge, and when ready to serve, I take it out to allow it to come to room temp and liquify for a couple of hours (even place the jar into warm water to help expedite the process).