Olive Oil and Orange Marinated Olives

I love an event that involves a picnic.  There is just nothing that says summer to me more than spreading out a big blanket and opening up a straw basket filled with delicious, pretty food.

The fam and I recently indulged in an outdoor concert at Red Butte Gardens Amphitheatre at the University of Utah in Salt Lake.  We rocked out to some Uncle Kracker, picnicked, and danced into the night.  That dancing into the night part sure embarrassed our kids and was almost as good as this recipe I’m going to share with you.

The venue at Red Butte is so festive, with hundreds of people sitting on their quilts or in their beach chairs, drinking bottles of wine and eating roasted chicken, raspberries, and fresh cheese.  I’m not sure why, but the crowd there is so elegant.  Everybody drinks out of glass goblets-no solo cups here, and you’ve never seen so many Whole Foods packages and bags in your life.  I guess it’s because half the crowd is doctors from the University and their young girlfriends!  The people watching there is amazing.


The family next to us had such a pretty picnic that I almost asked them if I could take a picture of it, but I didn’t want to further humiliate my teenage son who was already shocked that his mother actually listens to music and likes to dance.  It really was a gorgeous spread though-fresh apples, specialty cheeses and meats, and braided bread.  It was all wrapped up in a pretty cloth inside a huge basket.  I thought, “now that’s a lady I could get along with, just look at that spread!”

Now, I know I probably shouldn’t talk about this in a recipe post, but we had a bit of mishap on the way to the concert.  I waited until the last minute to buy some chairs that meet the height requirement at venue.  Passed up some $10 ones at Target, and by concert day all I could find was 2 chairs at the sporting goods store that were $50 each!  We had to drive all over town to find them and I ended up with the two out of a store display window.  So that was all well and good, but after weaving in and out of traffic for three hours,  Mason started to feel car sick.  We actually had to pull over if you know what I mean.  We thought it was all ok once it was over, but the next thing I know, I feel a splash of wet on my arm.  Yep.  The kid threw up and it projected all the way up to the front seat.  Good thing I had layers on that day.  I just unceremoniously wadded up my T-shirt and rode home in my camisole to change.  I just felt compelled to share that little memory with ya.  Sorry!  Needless to say I was a bit frazzled and ready for a relaxing time at the concert.

So that brings me to my very yummy recipe that is perfect for a splendid picnic.  My marinated olives:


This is a very easy and immensely flavored dish that is so elegant, people will never guess that it’s a matter of stirring a few ingredients together.  The marinade is basically good quality olive oil infused with herbs and citrus.  It really highlights the richness of the olives and gives them a luxurious mouth feel.

They make great picnic food because they are delicious cold or at room temperature, so you don’t have to worry about keeping them on ice.

I would advise making them the day you are going to use them because if they sit in the fridge too long, the olive oil can harden up on ya.  Allowing them to sit in the marinade for 2 hours is ample time to infuse them with plenty of flavor.

I like to serve them with crusty Italian bread to sop up the extra marinade.  Pair this app with some simple salami and cheese sandwiches on chibatta bread, some fresh fruit, and a bottle of wine, and you have a lovely picnic that’s easy to take anywhere.

Olive Oil and Orange Marinated Olives


  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces Italian Castelvetrano whole green olives
  • 6 ounces pimento stuffed manzanilla olives
  • 5 ounces Kalamata olives
  • 1 orange (zest and juice)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp Himalayan sea salt


  1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and allow it to cook gently for a minute or two. This will sweeten the garlic and take away some of the bite. Turn off the heat and let the garlic steep in the oil while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Place all of the olives into a large bowl. Add the red wine vinegar. Zest the orange over the bowl. Slice the orange in half and squeeze the juice over the olives. Add the parsley, red pepper flakes, and the white pepper. Reserve the salt for garnish.
  3. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate two hours.
  4. When you are ready to serve these, put them into a bowl and pour the marinade over the top. Sprinkle on the sea salt. They are wonderful served with some crusty bread to soak up all the extra marinade.




  1. These are gorgeous! And so simple, just my type of recipe.

  2. What a fun night Red Butte Gardens is a great small venue. Can’t wait to do it again.

  3. These are the best picnic snack!

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