• STEP 1

    Spicy tomato pasta Jazz up a ready-made tomato and chilli pasta sauce by throwing in black olives, capers and chopped anchovy fillets. Stir through long, thin pasta and sprinkle with chopped basil.

  • STEP 2

    Quick savoury dip Create a quick tapenade by finely chopping pitted olives and a little garlic. Process until smooth, season, then add olive oil to loosen and lemon juice to taste.

  • STEP 3

    Crispy bruschetta For a summery bruschetta, crush black olives and cherry tomatoes, and spread onto toasted ciabatta rubbed with garlic. Top with peppery rocket leaves, drizzle with oil and season.

  • STEP 4

    Simple chicken dish Make a marinade with sliced olives, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Coat chicken thighs and leave for 15 mins. Put in a roasting dish with lemon quarters and rosemary leaves. Roast at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 for 20 mins. Turn and roast for another 15 mins or until cooked through. Serve with the lemons and juices sprinkled over.

  • STEP 5

    Mediterranean salad Throw together a quick salad with a bag of baby salad leaves tossed with a light dressing. Add cubes of feta, olives and SunBlush tomatoes. Serve with focaccia or other country bread.

  • STEP 6

    Easy stuffed tomatoes For an easy, prepare-ahead starter or light lunch, stuff scooped-out tomatoes with cooled, cooked rice flavoured with minced garlic, sliced green olives, chopped tomato, lemon juice, and chopped herbs, such as basil or flat-leaf parsley.

  • STEP 7

    Mayonnaise with a twist Pit and chop olives, add to ready-made mayonnaise, season and add a splash of lemon juice. Mix well before using as a dip for raw vegetables, or spread in a sandwich with salad leaves and ham or salami.

  • STEP 8

    Chunky veggie sauce Make a rich and chunky sauce using aubergines, red onion, garlic, courgettes, red pepper and a can of chopped tomatoes. Throw in a handful of olives – great as a side dish or stirred through pasta.

  • STEP 9

    Quick summer tarts Cut 2 circles from a sheet of puff pastry to make quick pizza bases. Score a border 1cm from the edge, then cover with ready-caramelised onions from a jar or ready-roasted red peppers, and sliced tomatoes. Top with black olives, and anchovy fillets before cooking for 15 mins at 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

  • STEP 10

    Main-meal salad Lightly dress salad leaves and arrange on a plate. Top with cooked and cooled French beans and baby new potatoes, black olives, halved cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters and tinned tuna chunks. Season before serving.


Much used in Mediterranean cooking, olives are cured, then bottled or vacuum-packed, either pitted or with stones in. Green olives are picked when unripe and have a more dense and bitter flavour. Black olives are left to ripen fully on the tree. Olives can become bitter if cooked for too long. Once opened, store jars in the fridge and remove olives from the jar rather than draining away the liquid.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, September 2005


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