3 olive-based recipes to elevate your holiday dining game

Dec 14 2021, 6:23 pm

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Every year, there’s cause to go the extra mile over the holiday season, and many of us do by dressing our homes with beautiful decor and glistening lights that match the mood to perfection.

Why stop there when you can go all-out with the dishes you serve over the holidays too? Chances are you’ll be enjoying a feast fit for royalty at the end of the month, but what about those last-minute get-togethers with friends?

It always helps to have an essential in the cupboard that not only works as an easy, accessible snack but doubles as the key to elevated entertaining at home — for everything from hors d’oeuvre to drinks to dips and flatbread toppings. For us, this is California Olives.

With a unique flavour unlike any other olives on the market (think a smooth nuttiness), they pair well with almost anything — while also being incredibly enjoyable on their own. That’s why we’ve rounded up three recipes to try at home from now through the rest of the holiday season.

California Olive and Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese Spread

California Olives

California Olive and Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese Spread (@thismessisours/Instagram)

When we find a recipe that checks the boxes for efficiency while maximizing taste, we’re instantly on board. This heavenly California Olive-based spread does the trick, requiring five ingredients, five minutes of prep time, and a total of eight servings. Can we make it right now?


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/3 cup sliced mixed California green and black olives
  • 2 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place the softened cream cheese and grated garlic in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add the sliced California Olives and chopped sundried tomatoes to the bowl. 
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and fold with a spatula to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Easy Mixed California Olive Tapenade

California Olives

Easy Mixed California Olive Tapenade (@thismessisours/Instagram)

Is there anything more satisfying than olive tapenade spread over freshly baked bread or a crostini? We think not. To bring your snack game up to the next level, try this incredibly easy mixed California Olive tapenade that’s sure to impress your guests. Plus, prep time is just five minutes for enough to yield eight to 10 servings.


  • 1 (six oz.) can each of California green and black olives drained and rinsed (approximately 2 1/2 cups altogether)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp marinated sundried tomatoes
  • 1 large clove garlic or 2 small, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse kosher salt and black pepper to taste


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the olives, capers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper.
  2. For a relish consistency, pulse a few times, then scrape down the bowl. Pulse a few more times, and the relish will be ready.
  3. For a spreadable tapenade, process until a paste is formed, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times.

California Olive Dirty Martini

California Olives

California Olive Dirty Martini (California Olives)

If you’re going to make a dirty martini over the holidays (who isn’t?), we recommend trying the show-stopping recipe below. California Olives are a must for martinis and a slew of other cocktails because they’re brined, locking in the alluring flavours that pair effortlessly with vermouth and either gin or vodka in a cocktail.


  • 2 1/2 oz. good quality gin or vodka
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. green olive juice
  • 2 to 4 green or black California Olives as the garnish


  1. Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with 2 to 4 skewered olives.
  3. You can use black olive juice in this recipe as well, but it will change the colour of your martini.

One of the things we appreciate most is when there is a story behind the foods we dish up at home. When you purchase California Olives, you’re supporting multi-generational family farms that pour their heart and souls into creating the delectable olives we’re fortunate enough to savour.

To find even more recipes for the holiday season and learn more about California Olives, visit calolive.org. If you see California Olives at your local grocery store (look for ‘Product of the USA’ on the label), be sure to pick some up for your kitchen pantry.

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