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Set Sail: 7 Olive Dishes From Around the Mediterranean - Colorful Plates
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Set Sail: 7 Olive Dishes From Around the Mediterranean

When it comes to Mediterranean cooking, there are few ingredients more important than olives. The deeply historic fruit has been a mainstay on both sides of the sea for thousands of years so naturally, there are a wide array of olive dishes to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites.

Chicken Cacciatore

If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying chicken cacciatore yet, prepare to fall in love. Interestingly enough, “cacciatore” loosely translates to “hunter” in Italian which refers to the wide range of ingredients found in the dish. Aside from chicken and pitted black olives, this dish utilizes fresh Roma tomatoes for a juicy, flavorful sauce.

Greek Salad

Greek salads are one of the simplest ways to spotlight the ever-popular Kalamata olive. Better yet, the overall lightness of this salad can bring some much-needed airiness to fall and early-winter menus. Cover your salad in sliced cucumbers, feta, and cherry tomatoes then toss in a red wine vinaigrette for a guaranteed hit. 

Marinated Spanish Olives 

It’s nearly impossible to find yourself in a Spanish tapas bar that doesn’t have these little beauties on the menu. By simply marinating Manzanilla olives in a mixture of lemon, olive oil, various herbs, and crushed red peppers, you can get a wonderfully crave-able bite-sized appetizer. 

  • Pro Tip: Click here to discover more Spanish dishes. 

Caponata

Need a dish for the ever-growing vegan crowd? Essentially the Sicilian version of ratatouille, caponata brings green Sicilian olives and Italian capers into the mix to bring a slight pepperiness that compliments the eggplant base. Serve with a glass of rosé and let you customers bask in the Sicilian sun. 

Lamb Tagine

Morocco (and much of North Africa for that matter) often gets the short end of the stick when people talk about Mediterranean cuisine. Break that trend and bring one of the ultimate Moroccan dishes to your menu. Essentially a rich stew, lamb tagine pairs root vegetables, lemon zest, a wide array of spices, and green Picholine olives to create a vibrantly flavorful main course.

  • Pro Tip:  Learn more about Moroccan cuisine here!

Nicoise Salad

While you may not immediately jump to France when you think of the Mediterranean, the culinary king utilizes a lot of olives throughout their menus. We’d argue that the classic Nicoise salad is the best jumping off point because it works with a wide variety of textures and flavors without being too out there. Naturally, use the Nicoise olive variety for best results. 

Faki

Although this lentil soup was originally invented in Greece, you can find it all over Eastern Mediterranean countries like Turkey and Israel. Instead of utilizing olives in the soup itself, many chefs serve them on the side to compliment the rich heartiness of faki.

  • Pro Tip: Use our guide on olive varieties to determine which one is right for you!