Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Olives

We all know that olive oil is good for us – it contains the antioxidant Vitamin E and heart-healthy unsaturated fats.  What we often forget, however, is that olive oil is made from olives, which have similar nutritional benefits.  Unlike olive oil, many brands of jarred and canned olives are full of sodium, so be sure to eat or cook with olives in moderation, and if possible, rinse them before using to remove some of the sodium.  Olives come in many varieties – black, green, Kalamata – each with its own unique flavor profile.  If you’re not fond of the types of olives used in the recipes below, feel free to substitute your favorite variety for a different twist on the dish.

Olive Tapenade

20 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon rinsed, drained, and chopped capers
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Combine Kalamata olives, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, anchovy paste (if desired), and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Refrigerate and use within two weeks. Use as a spread for sandwiches like panini and muffaletta or as a condiment.  Makes about 1 cup.

Recipe from


Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Black Olives

¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard
½ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Quinoa Salad:
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups uncooked quinoa
16 spears asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil, for brushing
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup pitted nicoise olives
4 ounces aged goat cheese, shaved
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves



  1. For the vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, honey and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Add pepper to taste and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  2. For the quinoa salad: Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and add the thyme. Stir in the quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Preheat the grill. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with pepper. Grill on all sides until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and cut into ½-inch pieces.
  4. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, fold in the asparagus, olives, goat cheese, basil and parsley. Add just enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad; don’t make it too wet. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with more of the vinaigrette. 

Recipe from Food Network 


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