Citrus-Marinated Olives

Citrus-Marinated-OlivesI default to making things from scratch, but every now and then I love fancying up store-bought food. Not sure if fancying-up is an official term, but I think of it as putting a little effort into a purchased item to make it a bit more special even though it isn’t necessary.  

No, I’m not trying to trick my guests into believing that something was handcrafted in my kitchen when it wasn’t. I just want to put my spin on it. It’s really as simple as that.

The holidays and New Years parties are the perfect time to play dress-up. While you’re shopping the cheese department to make the ultimate spread complete with charcuterie and all the accessories, put a little more thought into your selections at the olive bar.

If you’ve been following along Last Ingredient for a while, then you know I am obsessed with the olive bar and all its flavorful antipasti nibbles. They’re amazing on pastas, pizzas and even a slice of toast or a basic bagel.

For these citrus-marinated olives, I scooped up a mix including Kalamata, Picholine, Castelvetrano, Nicoise and Cerignola olives. I absolutely love olives, but I don’t consider myself an expert.

Aesthetics motivate my choices with shades of green, brown and black olives. Serious Eats has a fantastic guide to different types of olives if you want to make a more thoughtful choice than one just based on looks.

Then I put the olives in a bowl, poured in extra olive oil and then it was time for the citrus. After much debate, I chose a Cara Cara orange, folding in the peeled zest and segments into the olive mix. For some heat, I added sliced red chilies and whole coriander seeds and cumin seeds for spice. I couldn’t resist including a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.


Citrus-Marinated Olives

Citrus-Marinated Olives
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1-2 days to marinate
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


11/2 cups mixed olives with pits
1/4 cup olive oil
1 orange, zest peeled, pith removed, sliced into segments & roughly chopped
1 red chili, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 sprigs fresh rosemary


In a large bowl, combine the olives, olive oil, oranges zest and chopped segments, red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and rosemary. Gently stir the mixture to combine. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

The olives are best made 1-2 days in advance to let the flavors develop.


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