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Citrus Garlic Marinated Olives

Robust citrus flavors and woodsy rosemary combine to give these Citrus Garlic Marinated Olives a lovely, bright flavor. This is a great make-ahead recipe for entertaining.

Friends coming over, birthdays being celebrated, Thanksgiving, family visiting. We’re in that unusual time of the year when all sorts of parties and events converge. Add in my daughter’s tour with The Nutcracker in Maine, and it’s a recipe for … a very busy time.

Fortunately, there are things that can be done to make the whole of this easier. Like taking the easier route to foods — employing the slow-cooker (like for a slow cooker turkey breast!) where possible, simplifying menus and choosing make-ahead recipes like this one.

These are the things that will keep all the people coming in and out of my house over the next week fed. And I will be happy to be cooking for them — even if it’s sometimes in an abbreviated way.

Will you be hosting Thanksgiving this year? Do you also have a collection of other things happening next week?

Will my table look like this next week? Maybe.

Why you should make marinated olives

Olives are delightful on their own. In fact, I could snack on them day in and day out without complaint. But when you marinate the olives in good olive oil with the zest of a lemon and orange as well as some freshly minced rosemary and minced garlic, it takes them to a whole new level. The flavor explodes.

And it’s delightful.

In The Easy Appetizer Cookbook, I say that this recipe feeds eight. But really it yields two cups — which can indeed feed eight olive lovers. But it can also be plenty for a bigger party too.

Imagine the little bowls of these pretty, zest dusted olives around your table with cute toothpicks (actually, you don’t have to imagine, since that’s the image the photographer for my book captured).

These could even add some lovely, bright but earthy flavor to a martini.

Whatever you like.

How would you eat them?

You can find this and more quick and easy appetizer recipes in my newest cookbook, The Easy Appetizer Cookbook. It’s available for wherever books are sold.

I’d love it if you’d order it from an indie bookstore (my preferred one is The Briar Patch in Bangor, Maine, which will have signed copies). You can also find an indie near you or order from your preferred online bookstore (more order links can be found here).

Yield: 2 cups

Citrus Garlic Marinated Olives

Citrus Garlic Marinated Olives

Robust citrus flavors and woodsy rosemary combine to give these olives a lovely, bright flavor. These can be made ahead - up to several days in advance - and the falvors will continue to develop. Serve these with toothpicks for stabbing. Got leftovers? Use them on salads, in martinis and in wraps. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 cups pitted green or Kalamata olives
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. To a jar, add the olives, lemon zest, orange zest, rosemary and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil.  
  2. Put the lid on the jar tightly and shake well to combine. This will encourage the flavors to come together.  
  3. Let the olives marinate for 30 minutes before serving. If you plan to serve them immediately, leave them at room temperature. If you are making these ahead, chill until about 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve them.
  4. Serve with toothpicks — the prettier the better — for easy enjoyment.



Cooking tip: If you plan to serve these immediately, they can also be made in a bowl. Follow the directions, but instead of shaking, stir together to combine.


Thursday 21st of November 2019

I wish my kids were more into olives. They're so easy and flavorful.

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