What is Olive Salad?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2019
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Olive salad is a chunky salad composed of various types of olives along with peppers, pimentos, onions, and several other ingredients. The salad has a distinctly Italian flavor to it, although olive salad is a favorite around New Orleans. One of the most common uses of the salad is filler in a sandwich or pita bread pocket. The salad may be used along with pepperoni or other cold meats in the sandwich, or make a great vegetarian meal on its own.

Just about every olive salad recipe will call for using at least two types of olives. Most commonly, a mixture of black and green olives is recommended. All the olives are pitted and either crushed or finely chopped, then combined with other vegetables and a mixture of spices. While it is possible to prepare olive salad as little as a couple of hours before serving, many recipes provide instructions to allow the salad to marinate for at least a couple of days.


Along with green and black olives, picked carrots, celery and cauliflower are used in olive salad. Like the olives, the vegetables may be finely or coarsely chopped according to the preferences of the chef. To this mixture, crushed garlic cloves are added along with parsley, oregano, and green onions. Capers may also be added if desired. If pimento is not desired, it is possible to create the same texture using chopped red or green bell pepper. Crushed red pepper flakes can also be used.

To create the marinade for the olive salad, most recipes call for mixing red wine vinegar with olive oil, then adding a dash of salt and pepper. There should be enough marinade to completely cover all the vegetables and spices in the olive salad. After thoroughly tossing all the ingredients, it is a good idea to place the olive salad into a glass jar or a bowl equipped with a lid. The salad should be placed into the refrigerator and allowed to settle for at least a couple of days.

Olive salad can be served in several different ways. A simple presentation of olive salad resting on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves is visually appealing and also ideal for a light meal. The salad can also be used to stuff pita pockets, creating a meal that is filling as well as easy to consume while on the run. Olive salad is also a wonderful filler for muffuletta sandwiches and bruschetta as well.


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Post 9

Olive salad is one of my favorites. I always prepare this when I have guests over and serve with various cheeses and crackers. It's also really good with homemade hummus.

I make mine with red peppers, sweet onions, virgin olive oil and a dash of lemon juice. I sprinkle some dry oregano on top. Sometimes I skip the onions and if the olives I have are a bit sour, I skip the lemon juice too.

I get my olives from ethnic stores and Italian shops. They generally have them in bulk and you can have them weigh how much you want. You also get to taste it before you buy it, which is a plus.

Post 8

Probably the best thing about olive salad is all the nutrition the olives provide. They are packed with minerals and vitamins, and even though they are small, they are a big help to our bodies.

They contain a good bit of calcium. This is good news to me, since I hate milk and cheese. I can get all the calcium I need from my olive salad.

I recently read about olives in a cooking magazine, and I discovered that they contain a lot of minerals that promote heart health. They contain zinc, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also contain several B vitamins, which I need because I don't eat a lot of meat.

Post 7

This salad sounds delicious! I am not used to eating all these ingredients together, and I never would have thought of combining them, had I not read this article.

It sounds like it would be both spicy and packed with flavor. Many salads that just use lettuce and a couple of other vegetables really lack intensity, and olive salad sounds like an excellent alternative to cucumbers and tomatoes on iceberg lettuce. This salad might just be able to make me look forward to lunch!

The red wine dressing described here sounds delicious, also. I have a bottle of red wine viniagrette in my fridge, and I would imagine that it tastes a lot like the red wine vinegar and olive oil combination.

Post 6

The only time I make olive salad is when I can get use fresh, local tomatoes. I have a feta olive salad recipe that is one of my favorites when I can get fresh tomatoes.

This salad uses the traditional olives, tomatoes and onion, but I love the taste of adding the feta to it as well.

Combined with a little bit of orange and lemon zest really gives this salad some zing. Cilantro is one of those ingredients that you either love or hate.

Since I love cilantro, I will also add fresh cilantro from my garden. This completes the taste for me, but if I am serving this to guests I will often leave the cilantro out. I have too many friends who don't like the taste of cilantro, but love my olive salad.

Post 5

@bagley79 - I don't think there is any way you could get someone who doesn't like the taste of olives to enjoy an olive salad. These are the main ingredient, and I don't know of any way to cover up the taste.

I happen to love olives, and look forward to eating olive salad any chance I get. When I make up a batch of olive salad dressing, I always make sure I have some extra.

This dressing tastes good on a lot of things besides a traditional olive salad. I will mix some in with any kind of pasta salad and have even drizzled a little bit of it on top of pizza.

A good olive salad dressing will also help make a good salad. No matter how fresh your ingredients for the salad are, an excellent dressing will enhance the taste every time.

Post 4

@jonrss - I am with you on the quality of olives that are used in an olive salad. When good olives are used, along with fresh vegetables out of the garden, this makes a very refreshing, healthy summer salad.

Many times I will add different kinds of pasta for a great tasting olive pasta salad. This is a meal in itself, and leaves me feeling full and satisfied.

Anytime you serve olive salad on a bed of lettuce, this is a simple yet elegant dish for any occasion. For those people who love the taste of olives, you can't go wrong.

Post 3

My husband loves any kind of olive, and loves a good olive salad. He talked me into trying a bite once, but I should have known I wouldn't have liked it.

I don't think there will be a second time of tasting a muffuletta olive salad, no matter how much someone tries to convince me it tastes great.

I pick olives out of anything no matter how small they are cut up or chopped. If there are olives on a pizza or in a sandwich, this ruins the taste for me.

I love most fresh vegetables, so I think I would probably like olive salad - without the olives!

Post 2

Italian olive salad is one of may favorite cold salad recipes. I make it all the time in the summer and serve it at picnics or backyard bbqs.

I like to make mine with fresh tomatoes and the summer is the best time to get them. The saltiness of the olives is a great compliment to the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Post 1

I love olive salad but it has to be made with good olives. Quality olives and a good assortment. If it is made with regular old canned black olives I will skip it entirely.

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