Remember this garlicky appetizer for your next dinner party. Buttery Castelvetrano olives are sautéed with garlic, fresh thyme, and lemon zest. Vegan & gluten-free.
I have a weakness for foods that seem fancy but aren’t actually complicated to make.
They have the benefits of those arduous recipes – eliciting impressed oohs and aahs. But they don’t take much time on task.
A prime example?
Buttery Castelvetrano olives warmed in a skillet with lemon zest, garlic, and fresh thyme.
Castelvetrano are the Adele of olives. They woo even those who typically shy away.
They are milder, more rounded in flavor, with less of that tinny quality that is common in a ripe olive.
Castelvetrano olives are easy to recognize by their bright green hue, the color of Kermit.
(Pro tip: You can use the brine from the jar in this vegan feta cheese recipe. And use any extra pitted olives in these fried olives!)
Where to buy them
You can find Castelvetrano olives at health food markets & gourmet grocery stores.
Look for them at Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, Cost Plus World Market, Costco, or your local co-op.
Castelvetrano olives are also popular on olive bars.
Step by step instructions
To make this warmed Castelvetrano olive recipe, simply sauté drained olives with lemon zest, chopped garlic, fresh thyme, and extra virgin olive oil.
After the garlic is fragrant, turn off the heat. And allow the flavors to develop in the warm skillet until serving time.
While it usually takes me a while to work through a jar of olives, when they’re warmed and popping with the flavors of garlic and lemon, it’s easy to plow through half a jar in a sitting.
How to store leftovers
Leftovers can be saved for later in the refrigerator, and gently warmed in a skillet again.
After some marinating time, the flavors are a little more pronounced, but not to a tremendous degree.
After the olives are eaten, use the remaining flavored oil for dunking bread.
Or pull out the sprigs of thyme, add a splash of vinegar, and make a flavorful salad dressing.
What to serve with them
These warmed Castelvetrano olives are a wonderful addition to a vegan charcuterie board or nibbly night.
Serve it on a charcuterie board with:
- Vegan feta cheese
- Jalapeño cashew cheese
- Roasted chickpeas
- Sliced bell peppers
- Pickled red onions
- Pickled jalapeños
- Jarred artichoke hearts
A meal of finger foods feels a little luxurious and a little sexy.
Perfect for Valentine’s Day or just another Tuesday night.
Warmed castelvetrano olives with lemon & garlic
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 7.5 ounces (drained weight) Castelvetrano olives
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest Roughly the zest of one lemon
- Bring a skillet to a low medium heat with extra virgin olive oil, drained Castelvetrano olives, fresh thyme, garlic, and lemon zest. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Turn off heat and let the oil/olive mixture sit on the stove for 10 minutes, while the flavors meld.
- Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and serve warm.
Where can you find the olives? Can we make a large batch and then jar to give as gifts?
Here are some options on places to buy Castelvetrano olives:
I buy Castelvetrano olives at Natural Grocers. My favorite brand is Jeff’s Naturals.
They are also sold at Cost Plus World Market. Usually the brand they sell is Mezetta.
My closest location of Walmart will also ship Mezetta olives for free to their store. It may do the same in your area, or they may just have them in stock.
One reader told me that she buys very large jars of Castelvetrano olives at Costco.
Castelvetrano olives are popular on olive bars. I’ve seen them at Whole Foods in the olive bar, and sometimes they also put small plastic containers of them near the olive bar in a refrigerated case.
Whole Foods also sells jarred Castelvetrano olives – their own in-house brand & Divina.
Finally, you can also buy them on Amazon.
Yes, you can make a large batch of olives and give them as gifts in a glass container. Be sure to tell your recipient to refrigerate them and eat them within a few days. If you’d like to increase the amount of olive oil, so that the olives are completely covered in the jar, they will last longer.
I came across your recipe this Christmas morning. To my happy surprise (not too surprised, haha), I have all the ingredients in the cupboard/garden… I made two batches!. Wow! Wow! Wow! incredibly delicious… such a buttery texture. Thank you for a wonderful Christmas gift! In fact I’m bringing a jar of these beauties to a friend’s Xmas party tonight! Solved my gift dilemma. I’ll give you 99% credit!! 😉 Happy holidays to you and yours
That’s so nice to hear, Carol! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the olives, and I hope your friend did too. Happy holidays to you as well!
Absolutely amazing recipe! I added a few crushed red pepper flakes…unbelievable!! Thank you!!
Thank you for the wonderful feedback, Beverly! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the olives, and good idea adding red pepper flakes!
Made these tonight, and they were fantastic! Served them as a side dish, and everyone loved them, even our 3 year old.
I’m so delighted to hear that they were a hit! Thank you for the great feedback!
These were so simple to make and so delicious! Felt so fancy! I had never even had this type of olive before but thought I’d give these a try. We really enjoyed this recipe!
That’s awesome, Janis. It’s nice when dishes can feel fancy with so little effort. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I made this recipe for a dinner party a couple weeks ago and they were fantastic! I could have eaten only these for dinner. I recently bought the jumbo jar from Costco so I may just do that! Thanks Cadry!
Sarah De la Cruz
These are a family fave!!! I LOVE castelvetrano olives, and this just takes them to the next level! So good, and the simplest appetizer to throw together!!!
I am so glad to hear that you & your family love them, Sarah!
There’s never been a more beautiful olive out there! I’m also an olive lover and would never turn them down, no matter how plain, but these would be an extraordinary treat. I tend to forget about Castelvetrano olives since they’re rather rare around here, but they’re easily on my top list of favorite varieties.
It’s so true that they are the most beautiful olive around. That green color is mesmerizing. 🙂
Costco just started carrying Castelvetrano olives and we are plowing through an entire jar each week! We love them, and I think that your preparation will make us love them even more! These look delicious, and your pictures are gorgeous!
Thank you, Sarah! That’s so nice to hear. 🙂 I always have a variety of olives in the house, but the Castelvetrano are really something special. I’m not surprised you’re plowing through your jars from Costco.
Woah. I love everything about this post. My husband is a gourmet olive addict — it’s totally adorable. But since they’re gourmet and all, we try to only have them once a month. I’m totally making this next time we splurge.
Excellent, Annie! I hope that you and your husband enjoy them!
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day
I am so excited about this recipe, Cadry! I LOVE olives, and Castelvetrano are my favorite!
It sounds like this recipe was made for you, Amy! Aren’t Castelvetrano olives just the best?
Oooh, I’ve never heard of warm olives! But I love olives sooooo much. I’m sure I’d love these. I’ll have to try them!
Yes, give them a whirl! Especially since you’re an olive fan already, I think you’ll love them.
Oh my goodness, I’d love to snack on these. Your snack tray looks super amazing, PS!
Thanks, Becky! We do one of these “snacky” dinners at least once or twice a week. Somehow they always feel special and fun, even though they take almost no effort to put together!
Made these as a Thanksgiving appetizer. They were a hit!!! And so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
That’s wonderful to hear, Sarah! I’m so glad you enjoyed them.