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You’ll Love Castelvetrano Olives: They’re Buttery, Delicious + Boost Your Health Too

Keep a jar in your pantry and add them to a salad, tapenade or roasted dish!

Whether you like olives or love them, there’s no denying that this condiment packs an flavor punch. This is especially true for Castelvetrano olives, which is a variety you may be new to — but will enjoy within the first bite! What makes these olives unique is their balanced salty and sweet flavor that works well in hot or cold dishes. The tender and slightly crunchy texture of these olives also makes them great for snacking. Plus, they’ll give a nice dose of healthy fats that nutrition experts say help you feel fuller, reduce inflammation and lower chronic disease risk. Keep reading to find out more about the flavor and health benefits of Castelvetrano olives, along with our favorite ways to cook with them.

What are olives?

Although olives are mainly used for savory dishes, they’re actually a fruit. They belong to the Oleaceae fruit family and originated in the Mediterranean at least 6,000 years ago. It’s estimated that over 1,000 olive varieties exist and are grown throughout the world. Among these varieties, Castelvetrano olives standout from the rest — and for good reason.

How Castelvetrano olives differ from other varieties

Castelvetrano olives are a type of green olive from Sicily, Italy. These olives are harvested, processed and preserved in brine or oil. They’re known for their mild and buttery taste, which is a stark contrast to pungent olive varieties like Kalamata and Niçoise. Castelvetrano olives also have a crisp and meaty texture that complements a variety of dishes including salads, dips, roasted meats and pastas. Another perk of noshing on Castelvetrano olives is the amazing health benefits that come with it!

The health benefits of Castelvetrano olives

A large part of this olive variety’s nutritional benefits stem from its stores of healthy fats including monounsaturated fat. “On the topic of healthy fats, it’s often overlooked that they keep you feeling full for longer,” Megan Lyons, a certified clinical nutritionist, board-certified holistic nutritionist and the owner of The Lyons’​ Share Wellness, says. “Even just a few olives, though small and relatively low in calories, can fill people up due to their healthy fats.” A snack-sized portion of 4 Castelvetrano olives contains about 35 calories and nearly 4 grams of fat, while the same amount of black olives has almost 18 calories and 2 grams of fat. Castelvetrano olives having more monounsaturated fat is great news as it’s been linked with aiding weight loss and blood sugar control.

Lyons notes that these olives are also brimming with omega-3 fatty acids. “These days, we hear a lot about the imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 in the standard American diet, where most of us get too much omega-6 (which is inflammatory) and not enough omega-3 (which is anti-inflammatory),” she explains. “Olives are excellent sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which many of us lack.” Current research links the inflammation-fighting properties of omega-3’s with potentially reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline.

It’s worth noting that this amount of Castelvetrano olives has around 130 milligrams of sodium since it absorbs some of the brine. But, draining or even rinsing them is a way to prevent that excess salt from going into your dish. If you’re hungry to try these olives, we have a few hot and cold recipes that are perfect to use them for!

Related: This Salty Snack Can Help Lower Blood Pressure, Reduce Inflammation, and Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease

3 recipes that use Castelvetrano olives

You can find pitted Castelvetrano olives like ones from Mezzetta (Buy from Walmart, $5.94) in the canned foods aisle. Once removed from the jar, you can crush or leave the olives whole when making these recipes from our test kitchen!

Zesty Lemon Roasted Chicken

Zesty lemon roasted chicken with Castelvetrano olives
Johner Images/Getty

This tender centerpiece is stuffed with citrus for delicately infused flavor, then coated in a tangy olive oil mixture for easy hands-off basting.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika 
  • ¼ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 (5 to 6 lb.) roasting chicken
  • 1  head garlic, halved
  • 2 bunches fresh oregano
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, drained

Directions:

  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Grate 1 Tbs. zest from 1 lemon. Slice remaining lemon; reserve for garnish. In bowl, combine olive oil, lemon zest, garlic powder, dried thyme, smoked paprika, coriander and ½ tsp. salt; rub all over chicken. Cut zested lemon into quarters; place in chicken cavity with garlic, 1 bunch fresh oregano and ½ cup olives. Place chicken in large roasting pan. If desired, truss chicken.
  3. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh away from bone registers 165°F or until juices run clear, about 1½ hours. Transfer to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.
  4. Drizzle with pan juices. Garnish with lemon slices and remaining oregano and olives. Serve.

Greek Lentil Toss

Greek lentil toss with castelvetrano olives
AnnaPustynnikova/Getty

Serve this flavorful toss with crispy flatbread or seasoned croutons for extra deliciousness and the ultimate crunch.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • ½ seedless cucumber
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can lentils, rinsed, drained
  • ½ cup Castelvetrano or Kalamata olives (or a mixture of each), drained and pitted
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Active: 20 mins
  • Total time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. In large bowl, whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper until combined; reserve. Seed and dice red pepper; dice yellow tomato. Halve seedless cucumber lengthwise, then cut into ¼-inch-thick slices.
  2. Add lentils, olives, red onion, parsley, red pepper, tomato and cucumber to bowl with reserved dressing; toss until combined. Transfer to serving bowl. Cover; chill until ready to serve.

Garlic Lamb Chops with Olive Tapenade

Garlic lamb chops topped with a tapenade made from Castelvetrano olives
Grandriver/Getty

A simple olive tapenade gives these lamb chops full-bodied flavor that’s perfect for a low-labor, crowd-pleasing celebration meal.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup well-drained, pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1½ Tbs. balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary 
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 12 rib lamb chops, fat trimmed

Directions:

  • Active: 15 mins
  • Total time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. In mini chopper or with stick blender, puree olives, 1 Tbs. olive oil, ½ Tbs. balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, mustard, rosemary, 1 tsp. lemon juice and ½ tsp. lemon zest. Season to taste with pepper. Set aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to 8 inches below broiler element; heat oven to broil. Combine remaining oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Rub lamb chops with vinegar mixture; place on broiler-pan rack.
  3. Broil 8 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. Spread reserved olive mixture over chops while still warm and serve.

Keep reading for more delicious pantry stales to stock up on!

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What Exactly Is a Caper + Why You Want to Have a Jar On Hand If You Love Italian Food

Chef’s Secret For Swapping In Light Cream for Heavy Cream in Your Favorite Recipes — Without Sacrificing Creaminess

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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