Health benefits of olives

September 16, 2014, by Katie Wilhelmi RD, LD , The Journal

I love olives. They are one of my favorite foods. Ironically, my 2-year-old also loves them. My husband claims it’s because I ate way more than my share when I was pregnant. Whatever the reason might be, I’m glad he likes them too.

Olives are a main ingredient on any pizzas we make at our house. They are common on holiday tables and at parties on traditional relish trays. But olives are also an ideal ingredient to add flavor and variety to foods all year long.

Olives come in many different shapes, colors, sizes and flavors. The difference between black and green olives is simply the ripeness. Green olives are unripe and black olives are fully ripe. Olives, both ripe and unripe, are cured or pickled before eating. The reason for this is that fresh olives are too bitter to eat because they contain oleuropein. Oleuropein is full of antioxidants that actually make the olives good for us.


Even though olives have a high fat content – 15 to 30 percent – the majority of fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Olives are also considered a good source of vitamin E and contain the natural antioxidants found in oleuropein. Four or five medium to large ripe olives have only 25 calories and 2 grams of fat. Because of the curing process, olives do contain sodium. Rinsing olives first before eating will help reduce some of the sodium.

If you are looking for new ways to try serving olives one way is to make a tapenade. Tapenades are an olive puree or paste blended with seasonings and herbs. All you need is a food processor, blender or knife with a cutting board to prepare a basic tapenade. Tapenades are the perfect building blocks to use with baguettes, crackers or pita chips for holiday parties. For another fun appetizer idea using olives try the stuffed olive recipe below.

Gouda-Stuffed Olives (Serves 24).

All you need

1 oz Gouda cheese | 1 (6-oz) can large black ripe pitted olives, drained | 3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto or deli ham

All you do

1. Cut Gouda cheese into small (1/4-inch) pieces; stuff one piece into each olive.

2. Cut prosciutto into 3-by–inch strips; fold each strip lengthwise once to form 3-by–inch strips.

3. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around each olive; secure with a toothpick.

4. Cover and chill up to 24 hours before serving.

Nutrition per serving: Calories 20, Total fat 1.5 g, Sodium 150 mg, Total carbohydrate 0 g

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.



A tapas party for end of summer

Tapas and small bites make a refreshing, relaxing summer meal, such as the above “Pintxos”, or skewered bites with a mix of ingredients such as olives, cheeses, and meats.


Gilda Pintxos

6 medium cured guindillas (see note, recipe)

12 large green Spanish olives, cured, marinated

6 cured cornichons

6 cured cebollitas

6 cured anchovy fillets

Arrange 1 guindilla, 2 olives, 1 cornichon, 1 cebollita and 1 anchovy on each wooden skewer. Serve on baguette slices or, if you want the pintxos to stand up, skewer the cebollitas last for stability.

Note: You can use Italian pepperoncini, for example, instead of guindillas, small Basque pickled peppers.

Makes 6


Marcona almonds, Padron peppers, Jamon Iberico and chorizo are staples of a Spanish food spread.



Tapas heaven with olives – recipes


750ml flour | 10ml salt | 10ml sugar | 10g sachet of instant yeast | 50ml olive oil | 400-500ml warm water | 60ml chopped black olives | 60ml chopped green olives | extra oil for brushing

  • 20140821_834680664Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl.
  • Add olive oil and enough warm water to mix to a dough that is soft but not sticky. Knead well until smooth and elastic.
  • Put the dough in an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place until double in size.
  • Remove dough and knead lightly.
  • Knead the olives into the dough. Shape the dough into an oval loaf and place on a greased baking tray, cover with an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Brush the surface with olive oil and bake at 190°C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove and cool on a rack.


250ml grated Cheddar cheese | 100g butter, softened | 310ml flour | 5ml dry mustard powder | 2ml salt | 12 large green stuffed olives, drained

  • 20140821_Olive PastryPut the cheese, butter, flour, mustard and salt in a food processor and process until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Remove from the processor, wrap in cling film and set aside for 30 minutes. Break off pieces of pastry and mould around an olive. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Repeat with remaining dough and olives. Bake at 180°C for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool. Delicious served as a cocktail snack.


250ml olive oil | 300g green olives in brine | 300g black olives in brine | 4 bay leaves | 4 sprigs of rosemary | 1-2 red chilies, seeded and sliced | a few strips of lemon rind | a few strips of orange rind | 60ml red wine vinegar

  • 20140821_citrus marinated olivesPour oil into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just warm. Divide olives, bay leaves, rosemary, chili, rind and vinegar between sterilised glass jars. Pour over warm olive oil. Seal.
  • Turn jars upside down and stand for five minutes. Turn upright.
  • Allow to infuse for one week, turning once daily.

OLIVE TAPENADE (Makes 125ml)

250ml black olives, pitted | 50ml chopped parsley | 5ml chopped garlic | 2-3 anchovy fillets | 30-60ml olive oil

  • 20140821_834680664Put the olives, parsley, garlic and anchovies into a processor and process until finely chopped.
  • With the machine running, add in the olive oil. Process until smooth.
  • Store in a jar in the refrigerator and serve on slices of toasted baguette.


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Olive Tapenade with green & black olives

I find this tapenade to be very addicting! I like to eat it with a neutral tasting cracker, such as Blue Diamond Nut-Thins and Le Pain de fleurs Buckwheat Crispbread are also really good.
Olive Tapenade with green & black olives
Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 can (dr. wt. 6 oz.) pitted, whole black olives, drained
1 can (dr. wt. 6 oz.) pitted, whole green olives, drained
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic oil (try my quick or oven-roasted recipes)
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
3 large, fresh basil leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Whirl until it forms a smooth paste (about 1 minute in a food processor). You can serve this at room temp but I actually like to eat it chilled. Serve with crackers or as a sandwich spread. Store any leftovers in the fridge.


Great colours and flavours salad

Mixed Tomato Salad with Cucumber & Olives

Tom salad1A bright and colourful cornucopia of mixed summer vine ripened and cherry tomatoes, this vibrant Mixed Tomato Salad with Cucumber and Olives is delicious as it spectacular. Tossed with diced English or Persian cucumber, tangy Kalamata olives, crunchy red onion, a handful of fresh herbs and dressed with a simple oil and vinegar or homemade vinaigrette, this light and refreshing Mediterranean-style salad celebrates the richness of summer’s bounty. Garnish with fresh feta, crumbled goat cheese, creamy Buffalo mozzarella or large curls of shaved pecorino for an extra blast of flavour and texture.

Mixed Tomato Salad with Cucumber & Olives (Serves 8-10)

Tom salad2
4 red hot house tomatoes
4 yellow hot house tomatoes
2 cups red, yellow and orange cherry tomatoes, halved
1 english cucumber, quartered and sliced 
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup pitted, sliced Kalamata olives
1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as cilantro, chives and basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dried Greek oregano
Maldon salt and fresh ground black pepper

tom salad3In a large bowl toss to combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, olives and herbs and drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Arrange the dressed salad on a large platter and garnish with Greek oregano, Maldon salt and black pepper to taste.


Caramelised onion pizza

Caramelised onion pizza with rosemary, olives and goats cheese

Based on the famous French onion, olive and anchovy tart known as pissaladiere, this stylish pizza teams sweet, tangy and salty flavours.


  • 895672-jul17_taste5 medium brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (20 x 28cm) bought pizza base
  • 12 drained anchovy fillets, halved
  • 20 pitted black olives (Rosemary marinated olives do as well)
  • 50g goats cheese, crumbled
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked

Step 1: Place the onion and oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes or until the onion softens.

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Red Rocks: Tomato tartlets with tapenade cream and rosemary salt

The perfect dinner party starter 

  • article-0-1EB18AFE00000578-880_634x601butter for greasing
  • leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3-4 large beef tomatoes
  • 125g (4½ oz) pitted green olives
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • olive oil
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • salad leaves to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and lightly butter two baking sheets. Whiz the rosemary with 1 tbsp sea salt in a spice mill or coffee grinder until finely chopped. Slice each tomato horizontally into 3-4 thick discs (to yield 12-16 in total; save the tops and bottoms for another use). Whiz the olives in a processor with the garlic, anchovies and 1 tbsp olive oil, then beat in the crème fraîche by hand.

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A wealth of olives turns into condiment for pasta

Olive tapenade, an earthy, salty paste of olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and other flavorings, is easy to find jarred in specialty shops. But when you whip up a batch yourself at home, the flavors pop in a surprising way that makes you never want to buy it in a jar again.

ct-ct-food-fast-olive-pasta01-jpg-20140711I’d made tapenade before with dark olives, but never green. But recently when faced with an overabundance of green olives, I turned to the food processor. We had so many large green olives that I made a huge batch — then faced the problem of what to do with it all. Although olive tapenade keeps well, it doesn’t keep forever. How to use it up? Pasta.

In this dish, the paste is tossed with linguine, then given a flavor boost and heft with rich sausage. Arugula at the end contributes freshness and zing. The tapenade proportions are based on experimentation. I basically thought of the ingredients that usually go into a jar, then played with the amounts. You could do that as well, adjusting with more capers or orange zest instead of lemon or what have you. The key is to start with good quality olives from that olive bar at the grocers.

Linguine with green olive tapenade and sausage

(Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 20 minutes Makes: 4 servings)

Ingredients: 3/4 cup pitted green olives | 1 clove garlic | 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed | 1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed | 1 teaspoon lemon zest | 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil | 1 pound linguine | 4 Italian pork or turkey sausage links | 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, pecorino Romano or aged Asiago | 2 cups baby arugula leaves

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Whole grilled fish can be a perfect summer dish

There is nothing quite comparable to whole grilled fish with a warm seasonal salad on a summer evening. My Barbecued Red Mullet with Warm Fennel Salad and Oranges is exactly that.


These fish have a distinctive flavor that contrasts perfectly the acidic citrus in this dish. Small red mullet show up at fancier fish stores in the United States and everywhere in the Mediterranean. Red mullet is sold whole and in fillets, both fresh and frozen. Whole fish are usually sold unprepared and thus require trimming, scaling and gutting. Red mullet is best bought from May to November, outside of spawning season, to protect stocks. If mullet is unavailable on those off months, use small snapper or even ocean perch for a similarly delicate substitution.

Nyons olives are one of my all-time favorite varieties to toss in salads or cook in pastas, or even to blend into a pesto, which is a favorite of my sons. These tiny, jet-black olives from southern France have a salty, mild bitterness whether dry-cured or packed in oil. If you’re an olive novice, Nyons will romance you right from the first bite. As an alternative, arbequina olives are perfectly crisp, tiny and slightly bitter Spanish olives that pair nicely with the warmed fennel in this recipe.
Just as red mullet is best bought from May to November, oranges have a peak season as well. I really enjoy Valencia oranges in a summer salad because they are medium sized and have few seeds. And you really get bang for your buck as opposed to smaller citrus fruits like tangerines and nectarines that are filled with inedible seeds. While these are delicious substitutes in winter months, Valencia oranges are perfectly ripe at the moment and you’ll get a lot of juice out of this variety.

This dish combines elements from three of my favorite parts of the world. Mediterranean red mullet with French olives and Valencia oranges make for the perfect summer evening meal.

We recommend Chalkidiki olives to be integrated to the recipe above. Try Inolivia!

Mario Batali is the award-winning chef behind twenty-four restaurants including Eataly, DelPosto, and his flagship Greenwich Village enoteca, Babbo. In this column, Mario answers questions submitted via social media and by people he encounters daily in Downtown Manhattan. Keep asking!

Sandwich Solution – “Goldilox” Tea Sandwiches … with olives

Sandwich Solution

Sandwiches are classic hit-the-road fare, and trimming them and stacking them in a wide-mouth jar helps avoid the dreaded knapsack smush. Our picks: cucumber and prosciutto, smoked salmon and olive-caper butter, or classic PB and J.

“Goldilox” Tea Sandwiches

52e55eab1f1e84002aa856fa6070696eaff70349Goldilocks would have devoured her portion (and the three bears’ share) of these sandwiches. Each moon-shaped cutout has layers of briny olive-caper butter and a just-right amount of smoked salmon for an endearing take on bagels and lox.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup large pitted green olives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons brine-packed capers, drained, rinsed, and finely chopped
20 very thin slices white bread
10 slices smoked salmon (about 4 ounces)

Cook’s Note
Sandwiches can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Olive-caper butter can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

1. Stir together butter, olives, and capers. Spread 1 teaspoon butter mixture onto each slice of bread. Lay salmon slices in a single layer on 10 bread slices. Sandwich with remaining bread, buttered sides in.

2. Cut out 2 moons per sandwich using a 3-inch moon-shaped cookie cutter (


11 Reasons You Should Be Eating Olives Daily

Are you looking for healthy snack ideas? Have you ever thought about adding olives to your diet? The truth is olives make a great healthy snack.  Olives contain a lot of vitamins and macro/micro elements which do wonders to our body. Additionally, olives contain a large amount of fatty acids and antioxidants, including lutein, a potent antioxidant that neutralizes the action of free radicals and protects our body from aging.

  • PicMonkey-Collage2Olives contribute to the prevention of diseases of the heart and vessels, as well as oncological diseases.
  • Maslinic Acid in Olive Skin helps prevent against colon cancer.
  • Olives  have a therapeutic effect in arthritis, podagra, osteochondrosis – diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
  • The calcium contained in olives is important in the strengthening of bone tissue, which takes part in the formation of the joints.

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Juicy Chicken Paillard Recipe by Eric Ripert

Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel, and Olives

Serves 4

bernardin-w7244 skinless boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and lightly pounded flat
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
3/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in white wine
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons capers
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons basil julienne
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
fine sea salt and freshly
ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the tomatoes, fennel, green olives, shallots, pine nuts, raisins, caper, thyme leaves, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Drizzle most of the olive oil over the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a single layer on a large baking dish. Cover the chicken with the tomato mixture and drizzle the remaining olive oil over and around the chicken.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle the parsley over the chicken and serve immediately.


Vegan Lentil and Eggplant Patties with Olives and Herbs

This recipe is part of the vegan Meatless Monday recipe series. As you may know,  encourages eliminating meat from your diet one day per week to preserve the health of our planet (and ourselves!).

Making a great vegan meal doesn’t have to be a daunting task as today’s vegan lentil and eggplant patties with olives and herbs demonstrate. This great recipe comes courtesy of Gourmandelle, an amazing vegetarian food blog full of great recipes and beautiful images.

meatless-monday-vegan-Patties-with-Olives-HerbsIngredients (makes 20 eggplant patties):

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 boiled medium potatoes, mashed (or 2 eggs for vegetarians)
  • 4 Tbsps sliced black olives
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • breadcrumbs – about 1/3 cup, more or less
  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


  1. Add lentils in a pot and cover them with water. From the moment they start boiling, let them boil for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. Strain the lentils very well and put them in a large bowl.
  3. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the pulp. Chop it and put it in the bowl.
  4. Add the mashed potatoes (or beaten eggs), chopped onion, parsley, sliced olives, mashed garlic cloves, breadcrumbs, sea salt and pepper.
  5. Using a fork, or your hands, start mixing the composition. It has to be sticky and easy to mould. If it’s not it means that you didn’t strain the lentils very good and the composition is too wet. No problem, just add more breadcrumbs until it has a dough-like consistency.
  6. Cook the patties – bake or light fry.
  7. Light fry: Spray a non stick pan with some oil. Put each patty on the frying pan and let it fry about 1-2 minutes on each side.
  8. Bake: Grease a large pan and place the patties. Cook 15 minutes on one side and another 15 on the other, at 180C.

These vegan lentil and eggplant patties with olives and herbs can be served on bread or a roll with your favourite toppings or with a lightly dressed green salad. They are satisfying in both a nutritional and taste sense. You’ll love them.

Slow Roasted Salmon with Citrus, Fennel and Chalkidiki Green Olives

An excellent combination for Chalkidiki Green Olives.

Try it with Inolivia with rosemary! (adapted from Bon Appetite)


  • 1 small Fennel bulb (or half of a large one)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced (blood oranges are pretty, but not crucial)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced (Meyer lemon is nice, but not crucial)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon teaspoon Aleppo or Urfa pepper (or good old red pepper flakes)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless salmon fillet
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (this can be reduced if you like, but I recommend the full amount)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup pitted chalkidiki olives (or some other good quality, mild, green olive)
  • snips fresh green herbs  such as cilantro, parsley, chives, tarragon or dill for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 275°.
  2. Layer the sliced citrus, fennel, onion and olives in a 3 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle it with Urfa pepper (or red chili flakes), kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Season salmon with more kosher salt and place on top of the fennel citrus mixture. Pour the oil over the top.
  4. Roast until salmon for 30-40 minutes or until it is just cooked through.
  5. Serve  the salmon broken into large pieces on top of a generous amount of the roasted citrus, fennel, olives and pan juices and sprinkled with snipped fresh green herbs.  You can eat the citrus, rind and all.