December 23, 2021

Citrus-Marinated Olives

These citrus-marinated olives are an easy way to dress-up store-bought olives with diced oranges and their zest, red chilies, fresh rosemary and spices.

These citrus-marinated olives are an easy way to dress-up store-bought olives with diced oranges and their zest, red chilies, fresh rosemary and spices.

Marinated olives in a bowl

The ambitious me defaults to making things from scratch, but that’s not necessary all the time. And to be honest, it doesn’t always make that much of a difference.

Plus there is something so satisfying about fancying-up store-bought food. It may involve a recipe, but it feels more like a kitchen hack, the kind of thing you want to tell all your friends about. Get out and spread the word!

One of the places I find endless uses for ready-to-use ingredients is the olive bar or the antipasti shelves in the Italian section at the grocery. With everything from roasted tomatoes to peppers to artichokes, it is a gold mine for pastas, pizzas and appetizers too.

I am a big fan of olives and even though they are already cured and marinated in garlic, herbs and spices, I like to take it a step further. In only 5 minutes or so, I add the flesh and zest of an orange, sliced chilies, spices and olive oil.

Give the olives time to sit in that flavorful, fragrant mix, and you will be rewarded. Trust me.

Combine teh olives, oranges, olive oil, chilies and spices in a bowl

Types of Olives

With its vats of different varieties, heading to the olive bar is probably your best bet. It’s the easiest and most economical way to get the exact amount of olives you need for this recipe (1-1/2 cups), while scooping a little of this and that when it comes to types.

I love how the colors look in a range of greens and deep browns, but of course, it’s for taste first. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Kalamata: In a dark brownish purple, these Greek olives are one of the most recognizable. You find these fruity and kind of smoky olives in tapenades, and of course, the classic Greek salad
  • Castelvetrano: Unlike other varieties, these bright green olives are much more mild in flavor and almost buttery.  They are a great balance to more assertive, salty olives.
  • Liguiria: These Italian olives are a combination of brown and yellow-green. They are smaller in size and cured in bay leaves and herbs such as rosemary and thyme.

Pitted or Not?

This depends on your personal preference. When I am eating an olive mix for an appetizer, I like them with the pits rather than seeing that machine drilled hole on one end. I realize not everyone enjoys having to attempt to elegantly spit out the pit, especially in front of guests. So it is up to you whether you serve olives with or without pits.

On the other hand, if I am using olives as a component in a dish like a salad or pasta where they will be combined with other ingredients, I always use pitted.

Ingredients including olives, orange, red chili, spices, rosemary and olive oil

The Ingredients

This is what you need for the recipe:

  • Olives: Make sure to use more than one type. It’s best to use 3-4, so you get a variety of colors and flavors to mix with the citrus. As mentioned, olive types include Kalamata, Castelvetrano, Liguiria, Picholine, Nicoise and Cerignola.
  • Oranges: Keep it simple and stick with a navel orange. First peel off the zest and then slice off the white pith before removing the segments and dicing them.
  • Red chili: A thinly sliced red chili adds minimal heat until you take a bite of one. I love having that option if I am in the mood for something spicy.
  • Coriander & cumin seeds:These earthy spices have a way of complementing each other. That’s why you see them paired in recipes.
  • Rosemary: Playing up the blend of cured, fresh and dried ingredients, I add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary to the marinade.
  • Olive oil: This is a recipe where you want to definitely use a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Zesting an orange, removing the pith and cutting the segments on a cutting board

How To Make Marinated Olives

  1. Prep the orange. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest. Then slice off the white pith. Remove the orange segments and dice them. Place the zest and oranges in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the olives, olive oil, chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and rosemary with the oranges and zest. Stir everything around to combine.
  3. Let the olives marinate 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

Making The Olives In Advance

Yes, you can absolutely make the olives ahead of time. Just store them in an airtight container in the fridge. The olive oil will likely harden at the cooler temperature. Let the olives sit out at room temperature, and the oil will liquefy again.

You can marinate the olives up to 2 days before you plan to serve them. They will have even more citrus flavor!

Citrus-Marinated Olives

Serving

These olives are pretty special on their own, but if you really want to score points with your guests, include them as part of a charcutierie plate or cheese board. A beautiful spread will go a long way especially if you are trying to serve heavy appetizers instead of a full meal. Everyone loves to graze!

You can even bake your own homemade crackers too.

More Appetizer Recipes

Baked Goat Cheese Tomato Dip
Marinated Mozzarella
Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Olives
Honey-Whipped Goat Cheese and Figs
Sweet Potato Hummus

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE STEP-BY-STEP WEB STORY INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS RECIPE!

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Marinated olives in a bowl

Citrus-Marinated Olives

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour to marinate
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Marinate
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

These citrus-marinated olives are an easy way to dress-up store-bought olives with chopped oranges and their zest, red chilies, fresh rosemary and spices.

Ingredients

  • 1 navel orange
  • 11/2 cups mixed olives, drained (34 types such as Kalamata, Castelvetrano, Liguiria, Picholine, Nicoise and Cerignola)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the orange. Then slice off the white pith. Cut out the orange segments and dice them. Place the oranges and zest in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the olives, olive oil, red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and rosemary with the oranges. Gently stir the mixture to combine.
  3. Marinate for 1 hour  at room temperature before serving.

Notes

The olives can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let the olives come to room temperature and the olive oil liquify again as needed before serving.

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour to marinate
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Marinate
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Marinated olives, olive recipes

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