BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Savor Olive Life

26 Comments

Ever since that fateful day so many years ago, when I discovered the snack platter at a “grown-up” party, and found that pitted olives fit perfectly like little hats on my fingertips, I’ve been an unabashed fan. What’s not to love? Compact morsels of briny, salty, and rich flavor, they’re just as suitable as a condiment as they are an hors d’oeuvre. Picky eater that I was though, my appreciation for olives was not all-inclusive; my love was reserved only for black olives, while the green variety received only the cold shoulder. Another nonsensical food prejudice for sure, this one had to be tackled head-first, which is why the offer to review a small selection of Lindsay Olives couldn’t have come at a better time. Having been independently buying the seasoned black olives for months already, I knew this would be the best shot I had at finding a place in my heart for green olives too.

It became quickly apparent that this wouldn’t be a difficult task. Mottled green with brown speckles, these shiny and earthy ovals have a very mildly briny flavor- Mellow, but with a certain smoothness and an unexpected buttery undertone. A very agreeable olive, it hits all the right salty and addictive notes, without being the least bit aggressive. It pains me to have searched high and low for these olives ever since that first sample, to no avail. After trying another brand of green olives and being positively repulsed by those tasteless, unpleasantly crunchy marbles, I can definitely say that not all olives are created equal.

While still possessing an ample supply however, I couldn’t help but play a bit with my bounty. Lucking out on a small stash of eight-ball zucchini meant stuffed squash was on the menu, and olives sounded like the perfect accent flavor for the filling. Greek-inspired seasonings pull together this unusual combination of olives, white beans, artichokes, and spinach beautifully, and set these stuffed zukes apart from the rest. To lend more of a fresh, summery flavor, they would also be fantastic with a smattering of vegan pesto instead of my suggested spices. Don’t be afraid to play around with this one- It would also be quite excellent with black olives, if you haven’t yet found the green olive of your dreams.

Stuffed Eight-Ball Zucchini

6 – 8 Round (Eight-Ball) Zucchini
1 Cup Cooked White Beans
1 Cup Pitted Green Olives
1/2 Cup Chopped White Onion
1/2 Cup Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Drained and Roughly Chopped
2 Cups Packed Fresh Spinach
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
Pinch Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Marinara Sauce or Your Favorite Tomato Sauce, to Serve

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut a thin slice off the tops of the zucchini, including the stems, and either reserve for garnish or discard. Using a small spoon with a sharp edge (such as a grapefruit spoon) or a melon baller, scoop out the fleshy innards, being careful not to scrape the walls of the zucchini too thin, and toss it into your food processor.

To the food processor, add in all of the remaining ingredients except for the salt, and give it a whirl. Don’t process it until completely smooth, but pulse slowly until everything is broken down and the mixture is pleasingly chunky. Give it a taste before adding salt; because the olives have so much salt to them already, you may not need it at all.

Generously mound the stuffing in the hollow zucchini cups, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the filling is lightly browned and the zucchinis themselves are fork-tender. They’re delicious served hot or at room temperature, alongside a smattering if your favorite tomato sauce.

*You could very happily use standard, long zucchini here, too. Just split them lengthwise, remove the interiors as before, and par-bake them, empty, for 10 – 15 minutes (depending on size) before filling and baking as previously instructed.

Serves 6 – 8

Printable Recipe

PS, if you really want to up the olive ante, enjoy this meal with a dirty martini!

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

26 thoughts on “Savor Olive Life

  1. I’ve really tried to like olives but every time I go back for another go, I get the same response. I wish I liked them, they’re so elegant, grown up and gourmet. And they look amazing in a martini. I love everything else in your stuffed zukes so please don’t be offended if I leave them out :D

  2. Can’t go wrong with a dirty martini :) Love the stuffed 8 balls!

  3. That martini photo is gorgeous! I love the way the light is playing off the glass holding one of my favorite drinks.

    And that is such an unusual presentation of a stuffed vegetable! I am inspired. And hungry.

  4. I’ve never seen zucchinis quite like that before. They’re so pretty and yummy the way you stuffed them! :)

    I love olives…black or green. They’re irresistible! :)

  5. What a beautiful photograph to inspire making your stuffed eight ball zucchini. I’m sure it was terrific.

  6. Ahh!! How I miss eight ball zucchini!!! In Argentina they are common, and I love to stuff them.
    Here in Florida I only get the long ones..not so easy to do stuffed.

  7. As kids, my brother and I used to run around the house with olive on our fingers. all ten of them. For real. It was awesome. They are awesome. Man, I love olives.

    And I love these stuffed zucchini! What a fun way to prepare them!

  8. I love olives! Your pictures look so yummy and the Stuffed Zucchini sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Too funny. “8-ball” I love olives! I’m also in Florida and Andrea is right, I’ve never seen these in my entire 30 years here.

  10. My favorite olives are the oil cured. Love them!
    The eight ball stuffed zucchini looks wonderful!

  11. I wish I loved olives. *sigh* I keep trying them to no avail. I will continue until I like them :)

    I do love zucchini though & wish I could find these little round cuties near me!!

  12. The only thing I loved more on my mum’s trademark antipasto platter than her marinated olives were her marinated artichokes. And now you go and remind me of both, and encourage the use of both, in one recipe. Lovely lovely!

  13. I love olives too.
    And using them to stuff 8-ball zucchini is brilliant. I tried it before, but the zucchini was overpowering. I bet your spicy, artichoke-y, olive-y stuffing is flavorful and delicious and wouldn’t be overpowered :)

  14. I have yet to meet an olive I like, but this recipe might be just the ticket to change that ‘meh’ feeling into mmmmm looooove!

  15. Yum, I love olives! And I also love those round zucchini, I grew some years ago when I still lived at home and could use my mom’s huge garden space :)

  16. I am all up for dirty martini, Hannah your pictures are so real. I nearly took a bite out of the Stuffed Eight-Ball Zucchini.

  17. What spectacular photos. I have this really strange family that doesn’t like olives. Go figure.

  18. What a beautiful dish! I’m actually not a fan of black olives, but I love love love green olives – weird, I know. Definitely saving this one for later =)

  19. I’ve been doing a lot with zucchini lately, and stuffing the large ones has definitely crossed my mind. Beautiful olive photos as well!

  20. It was only a couple of months ago I even got the nerve to try a kalamata olives (and had the nerve to like them!)– previously, I ONLY liked the canned black olives (anything else was crap, in my earlier opinion). I haven’t tried the green ones yet though… still too scared…..

    • Don’t worry, I was the exact same way! I tried a Greek olive in my mom’s salad eons ago, and as a kid, absolutely detested it. Now I realize that they were merely low-quality olives, and not all Greek olives were so crappy. Same goes for the other varieties, of course. Just try hitting up a decent olive bar if you can- If you talk to the right people at Whole Foods, they’ll even give you an overview of the varieties on tap. :)

  21. I always thought black olives were just fine until I tried the Lindsay brand. Best taste ever. Sometimes, other brands were too salty, but these are just right. Didn’t know Lindsay had green ones. Will have to search for those.

  22. i adore olives (queen are my fav so far), and that dirty martini is so pretty, that feather-cocktail-stick = perfection

  23. That looks so delicious! I absolutely love olives, although the taste of a dirty martini still takes some getting used to for me!

  24. The cocktail stick, real feather? It’s gorgeous!

  25. What an adorable little zucchini!

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