Super Easy Olive Tapenade
Olives – those weird grape looking things that are more fun to eat whole off your fingertips instead of on top of a salad. There are a lot of misconceptions about them – like for starters, they’re not even a vegetable – but what many people don’t know is that they have a ton of benefits and nutritional value – from benefitting your health to alleviating salt cravings.
It's true - you read that correctly – olives are not a vegetable! Most people think all fruits are sweet and juicy – but that is not true. A fruit is defined as “the edible part of a plant that comes from a flower” – and guess what? Although olives may seem more vegetable-y, they grow from the flowers on olive trees – so that means that they are classified as a fruit!
Another misconception is that green olives are different from black olives. However, they are the same fruit – from the same olive tree! They are just picked at different times - green olives are picked before they are ripe black olives are picked after they are ripe.
Some may assume that olives are naturally super salty – but they’re not! Off the tree, olives are very bitter and tough – barely edible. I never actually tried them off a tree, but I know that they are put through a process of being soaked in lye to take away their bitterness and then cured in brine to enhance their flavor – and provide a very salty kick.
What are the health benefits of olives?
Olives are similar to nuts in their nutritional profile. They are a great source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also high in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium. This amazing little fruit has been even shown in studies to help prevent cancer when consumed regularly! They are good for your heart, help reduce inflammation, improve digestive health, lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, keep your skin youthful, and boost brain function and memory! No wonder Europeans eat olives regularly!
What are some ways to add olives to your diet?
There are hundreds of varieties of olives – but be sure that no matter what variety of olive you try that they are pitted before eating - or your teeth will have an unpleasant surprise!
You only need a few olives to reap their benefits and lucky for you, there are many ways to include olives in your diet - or turn a not-so-healthy food into a healthier food by adding some olives!
• Pizza on its own might not be too healthy on its own - but throw some olives on it – and you just enhanced its nutritional value
• Add some olives to a veggie omelet to get a boost of antioxidants
• Make a bruschetta or any meal more interesting by topping with some sliced or chopped olives
• Make olives even more delicious by stuffing them with pimientos, piquant peppers, garlic, onions, almonds, feta cheese, or jalapenos
• Top off a salad, tuna, pasta, sandwich – the possibilities are endless
• Instead of grabbing chips, eat a few olives off your fingertips – the saltiness may be just what you need to satisfy that salty craving
Make an antipasto cheese board or olive
platter – serve with feta cheese, grape tomatoes, or hummus pasting
• Instead of spreading butter on your bread,
make olive tapenade!
What is tapenade?
Tapenade is a fancy word for a salty olive-based dip, spread, or topping. If you enjoy the taste of olives, you can mash them up as a topping on their own – but add a little garlic, olive oil and vinegar and you’ve made a fancy tapenade to spread on bread or crackers. Try this Super Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe!
Super Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe
½ cup (about 16-20) pitted olives – or any variety or combination of varieties
1 - 2 cloves of garlic – adjust to your preference
½ teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Optional: 1-2 piquant peppers chopped or sun-dried tomatoes chopped
Optional: feta cheese sprinkled on top
Combine all ingredients in a food processor – leave slightly chunky
Serve with Off the Eaten Path Snack Crisps – we especially like Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps, or Chickpea Veggie Crisps, or your choice of crackers, bread, pasta, or potatoes!
Although olives contain many phenomenal health benefits, it is important to note that both green and black olives typically have a high sodium content because of the way they are cured. Therefore, it is important to consume them in moderation - or choose olives that are reduced sodium or packaged in water.
Let us know how you like your olives and be sure to check out some of our other snack food lists and recipes:
5 Healthy Junk Food Alternatives to Soothe Your Crunch Tooth
5 Sweet Nutty Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Without Wrecking Your Diet
Healthy Festhundin' Blueberry Chia Puddin’ Recipe
Blissful Banana Raisin Cinnamon Chia Pudding Recipe