Olive Olives

Olive nutrition facts and two olive spread recipes.

When someone approaches you for a recipe you prepared five years ago, you know it’s got to be good. This summer, my cousin approached me and asked for a duo of olive spreads I served with crackers at Kevin’s thirtieth birthday party… just two dips from a buffet of various finger foods (like grapes dipped in blue cheese) and a full dinner with drinks. She wanted both olive spreads I made from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates, while I very much prefer the first of the two.

Olives, by the way, are a family favorite. Of course, I prefer to bypass the canned olives in favor of the self-serve olive bar. But that doesn’t mean I don’t use the kind in the can, for economy’s sake. I do prefer higher quality, which navigates you around over-salting and that flat, tinny taste. I like Whole Foods brand (365), and you can also peruse the olives in jars. It’s true that olives are guilty of being salty and fatty, but their fat is good fat (the kind that prevents cardiovascular disease and lowers cholesterol). Besides having a significant amount of fiber, olives are bursting with antioxidants, and are anti-cancer, pro-calcium (decreasing the chance for osteoporosis) anti-histamine, and rich in phyto-nutrients. Just more and more reasons to eat like the Mediterraneans.

Also, make sure to choose you crackers wisely. As always, shoot for a short ingredient list with ingredients that you can easily recognize; no sugars, low salt, no hydrogentated fats. Whole grains (or even raw nuts) should top the list. My favorites include Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Gluten Free Crackers (available at Costco); Blue Diamond Natural Nut Thins; and Triscuits (or 365 brand of the same). Of course, a great bread would work, too.

BLACK OLIVE AND TOMATO SPREAD

  1. Combine 2/3 cup sundried tomatoes, 1 cup rough-chopped tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon oilve oil, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried), 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, and 1/2 cup toasted almonds in a food processor and process until well-combined but still slightly chunky.
  2. Store in the fridge up to 10 days, but best served room temp.

GREEN OLIVE AND CILANTRO SPREAD

  1.  Combine 1 1/2 cups pitted green olives, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup parsley, 1 cup toaste pecans or walnuts, 1 clove garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a food processor and process until well-combined but still slightly chunky.
  2. Store in the fridge up to 10 days, but best served room temp.
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