Spicy Marinated Olives with Herbs

Introducing our spicy marinated olives, a bold appetizer that promises to ignite conversations and warm the soul.

These fiery gems, bathed in aromatic herbs and zesty flavors, are the perfect prelude to an autumn evening filled with heartwarming tales and mirthful laughter. Paired with rustic breads, cheeses, and a splash of wine, they’re the star of our fall fête. So, let’s celebrate the crisp air and fiery foliage, with olives that mirror the season’s zest and zeal. Here’s to autumn nights and spicy delights!

Spicy Marinated Olives

Olive Photographs: Igor Normann

Yield: 4 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: At least 24 hours


  • 3 cups green olives or mixed olives (such as green and Kalamata), drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust based on your heat preference)
  • Zest of 1 lemon, cut into wide strips
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar


  1. In a large bowl, combine the green olives, sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and fresh thyme.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the olives ensuring they’re well coated.
  4. Transfer the olives to a glass jar, sprinkle in the whole peppercorns, and ensure they’re submerged in the marinade.
  5. Seal the jar tightly and give it a gentle shake to distribute the ingredients.
  6. Store the jar in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving, occasionally shaking to mix the flavors.
  7. When ready to serve, transfer to a bowl and accompany with other appetizers.

Chef’s Note: Remember, marinated olives always taste better as they age. If you can, prepare a few days ahead of your event to let those flavors meld beautifully.

This recipe is flexible. Feel free to adjust the spices or add other herbs based on your preferences. The olives will last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a sealed container. Enjoy your appetizers with good company! Cheers!

Suggested Wine Pairing

I recommend a crisp Albariño from the Rías Baixas region in Spain. This wine boasts a light, zesty citrus flavor, complementing the olives’ tanginess. The wine’s bright acidity cuts through the rich olive oil, while its underlying minerality complements the saltiness of the olives and other appetizers. Albariño’s aromatic profile with notes of peach and apricot provides an elegant backdrop for the spiciness, ensuring each bite and sip is a harmonious experience.

Photograph: MalaikaCasal

Round out the appetizer selection with the following recommendations:

  1. Manchego Cheese and Quince Paste: The saltiness of the cheese complements the olives while the sweetness of the quince balances the spice.
  2. Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Garlic Aioli: The smoky, earthy flavor of the artichokes pairs well with the vibrant taste of the olives.
  3. Toasted Baguette with Tomato and Basil Bruschetta: The fresh and tangy flavors are a perfect contrast to the spiciness of the olives.


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