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Marinated Olives – A Bowl of Goodness

These marinated olives take less than 15 minutes prep and are an easy and delicious snack to enjoy on lazy summer days in the company of friends.  They’re a great addition to a graze board – and come with a host of health benefits!

Marinated Herbed Olive Snack in a Serving Plate

And if you’re looking for more snack ideas, try these Labneh Yoghurt Balls and these Crispy Potato Smashies.

Time After Thyme

Olives are terrific on their own, but this recipe includes bay leaves, lemon zest, fresh thyme, garlic, chilli flakes and toasted fennel.  And with a little time, these flavours become more robust, so it’s best to let the olives marinade for at least an hour before serving – which gives you plenty of time to assemble your other snacks.

For The Love of Olives

Olives are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, with its origins dating back to at least 7,000 years ago. The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean region, and it is believed that the first olive trees were domesticated in what is now modern-day Turkey.

Interestingly, olives were actually first cultivated for their oil, which was used for cooking, lighting, and as a medicine. It was only much later that people began to eat olives as food. Just imagine what our ancestors missed out on!  

Peace & Prosperity

Olives were an important part of the diet of many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. The Greeks and Romans believed that olives were a symbol of peace and prosperity, and they were often used as offerings to the gods. The Egyptians used olives for their medicinal properties, and they also used them to make perfume and cosmetics.

Nowadays, there are some who still see olives as a sacred addition to the diet. Think martinis, for example.

Olives Marinated in a Spicy Olive Oil in a Serving Plate as Seen From Above

Marinated Olives for Glowing Good Health

Today, olives are grown in over 30 countries around the world. The largest producers of olives are Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Amazingly, almost half the world’s olives are grown in Spain – not a bad reason to book a holiday, maybe? Olives are a popular food in many cultures, and are used in a variety of dishes, including salads, pizzas, and dips.

Olives are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and monounsaturated fat. So, including olives regularly as part of your diet comes with a number of seriously impressive health benefits. 

Health Benefits of Olives

  • Olives reduce the risk of heart disease. Their high monounsaturated fat content can help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, which significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. 
  • Olives reduce the risk of stroke. Olives contain oleocanthal, a compound that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Inflammation and oxidative stress are two factors that can contribute to stroke, so eating olives may help to protect against this condition.
  • Olives reduce the risk of cancer. Olives contain Oleuropein, a compound that has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Oleuropein can help to not only kill cancerous cells, but also prevent cancer cells from growing.
  • Olives reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Olives contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect brain cells from damage. It also contains polyphenols which reduce stress in the brain. Both of these are incredibly important for brain health.


Apart from their – admittedly stunning – health benefits, olives make for easy casual snacking, and it’s hard to fault them when it comes to flavour and the magic they bring to even basic meals. Try to imagine a Spanish Tapas, or your own favourite charcuterie board, laden with cold cuts and cheeses and chunks of fresh artisanal bread – but bereft of olives.

Marinated Olives Serving Suggestions

So, these particularly delicious marinated olives make an excellent snack – but they taste even better when served as part of a grazing board.  It’s super simple to put one together and you get to decide what to include.  Here are a couple of suggestions

Crusty fresh bread: Olives are a classic accompaniment to simple rustic crusty loaf of bread. The bread can be used to mop up the deliciously flavoured olive oil – making for a totally yum, satisfying snack.

Soft cheeses: These marinated olives also pair beautifully with soft cheeses like feta, goat cheese, Roquefort, Camembert and Brie. 

Crisp white wine: A crisp white wine also pairs exceedingly well with marinated green olives. The acidity of the wine helps to cleanse the palate between bites, and the flavors of the wine complement the flavors of the olives. But if you’re avoiding alcohol, a citrusy kombucha is a brilliant alternative.

Rate My Marinated Olives

Did you try my marinated olives? Did you love the dish as much as I do? Please leave a comment, give this recipe a rating, and remember to tag your photo#theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Chef Jess Bunn’s Easy Marinated Olive Recipe

Can I make this gluten-free?

This dish is gluten free! Enjoy!

Is this recipe vegan?

Yes, it is – enjoy! 

Can I swap out any of the ingredients?

Sure, fennel can be swapped for toasted coriander seeds. You could use orange zest instead of the lemon too. Feel free to experiment with what you have on hand. 


Easy Olive Recipe for Snack Platters with Garlic Fennel and Chilli
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Marinated Herbed Olive Snack in a Serving Plate

Marinated Olives – A Bowl of Goodness

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 as a snack
  • Diet: Vegan


These marinated olives take less than 15 minutes prep and are an easy and delicious snack to enjoy on lazy summer days in the company of friends.  They’re a great addition to a graze board – and come with a host of health benefits!


  • 260g olives, pitted – You can use green olives or a mix
  • 45ml / 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley for serving (optional but recommended)


  1. Begin by toasting the fennel seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant. Tip them into a pestle and mortar and grind lightly.
  2. In the same pan over a low heat, combine the oil, lemon zest, chilli flakes, bay leaves, fresh thyme, ground toasted fennel and garlic. Cook for 1 minute on low to cook out the raw garlic, give it a stir and then remove it from the heat. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon.
  3. Place the olives in a jar or bowl and pour in the olive oil mixture. Close the jar tightly and give it a thorough shake before refrigerating. Ideally, allow the olives to marinade for at least 1 hour before serving. The longer they sit, the better they get!
  4. Once ready to serve stir through the chopped parsley.
  5. Serve alongside some crusty bread to dip in that lovely oil and perhaps some nice sharp cheese. Happy cooking!
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Category: Snacks


  • Calories: 130.77kcal
  • Sugar: 0.31g
  • Sodium: 675.13mg
  • Fat: 13.86g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.88g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11.46g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.62g
  • Fiber: 1.7g
  • Protein: 0.63g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
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