Mar 22

Health Foods A-Z: Olives

Olives are a wonderful ingredient for just about any preparation. This is not only because of their taste, but also for their appearance. They make any dish look great.  They go very well with salads, pasta, chicken, dips,  appetizers, and even drinks. The bitter flavor provides a wonderful taste to the dish. They are also used to provide a contrast with their bitter, sweet or salty flavors. However, when taken straight from a tree, they are too bitter to consume. Olives are processed so that we can enjoy the pleasantly bitter taste. Olives are pressed to derive olive oil, that is healthy and used for salad dressings as well as a cooking medium.

The fruit is very nutritious since it is a concentrated source of good amounts of vitamins A and E. It also provides significant amounts of iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, iodine and dietary fiber. Although the fruit is high in fat content, the greater proportion is monounsaturated fats. It is thus, a misconception that olives are fattening. Olives also have nutrients with anti inflammatory properties. This means that consumption of olives can give relief from inflammation due to arthritis. Olives also have monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E, consumption of which can lower a risk of colon cancer. Olives are also known to reduce hot flashes that menopausal women experience. Olives have oleic acid that helps lower cholesterol.

Olives are high in sodium, though and an excessive consumption of olives will most definitely be harmful.

When picking olives, make sure you avoid soft and mushy ones. Select the olives basis your recipe. When olives are not fully ripe, they are green. When they fully ripen, they turn black. This is the only difference between green and black olives.

Olives should be stored in a cool, dry place. When unopened, they can be stored this way for up to one year. If the olives are in a can, they should be transferred to a glass container after being opened. Make sure the canning brine is transferred too, as this helps keep the olives preserved. An opened can or jar of olives should be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks of opening.

The recipe I have provided below is for a simple pasta. It comes out delicious and you can use as many veggies as you like. If you want to make pasta with a ready sauce, just add it after the vegetables are tender and mix in the pasta. Avoid any extra seasoning since most sauces are pre seasoned.


1 cup multigrain or whole wheat pasta (you can use any kind you like-penne, farfalle or fussili)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced

Julienned ginger, about 1 tbsp.

3-4 cloves garlic, shredded

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup Pitted Black Olives


Boil pasta according to package instructions. Once done, drain and make sure to add a little oil  and mix well to avoid the pasta sticking to each other. Set aside.

In a pan, heat oil. Add julienned ginger. After the ginger has begun to change color, add onions, bell peppers, carrots and shredded cabbage. Add salt, pepper and any other italian seasoning you prefer. Sauté for a 5 minutes, or till onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes and olives. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are done. Add the boiled pasta and mix well.

This post is part of a series on health foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs, Fennel, Green chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk and Nectarine.

1 comment

1 ping

  1. Rancy

    I love olives an your blog gives me all the more reasons to have them even more.!

  1. Health Foods A-Z: Q | Saumya's Kitchen

    [...] chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk, Nectarine, Olives and [...]

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