Naturally vegan marinated olives are the best way to have olives. Once you try warm olives, you’ll never want to go back to having them cold again. The lemon peel and herbs bring a brightness and extra depth to this savoury, briny dish.

Make these for yourself any day of the week or for a holiday get-together with friends, and serve alongside a butternut squash dip and harissa fries, with gluten free sourdough, some healthy crackers, and a nice vegan cheese or two. They make a great gift, too.

Olives in a serving bowl with oil and flavourings.
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With just 10 ingredients, it's an easy recipe to make at home but has a very restaurant-like feel. Some of these ingredients can be changed up (see below).

Marinated olives ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes

  • Almonds: raw and unsalted almonds, chopped just before adding, will taste the best.
  • Olive oil: you want a good quality oil here because it's excellent for bread dipping. Choose one you love, not a type you'd only use for cooking.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Lemon: substitute orange peel in the same quantity. For any citrus, try to get unwaxed organic fruits for the best taste.
  • Herbs: woody herbs work best so try using marjoram or oregano to replace the rosemary or thyme.
  • Olives: if you can't get Castelvetrano olives, French Picholine are a good sub, or another mild green olive.

How to Make Warm Olives

Warm olives steps 1 to 4.

Step 1: Add the olives to a heatproof bowl or jar and set aside.

Step 2: In a small saucepan, gently heat the oil with the other ingredients.

Step 3: Once warm, pour the oil over the olives.

Step 4: Let this rest for at least 15 minutes to flavour the olives before serving warm.

Top Tips

  • Seek out Castelvetrano olives: while they might be a little harder to find, they're the best olives for the job. Firm, sweet, and crisp, they're olives for people who don't usually like olives.
  • Don't skip the citrus: it adds a nice bright note to the olives that cuts through the otherwise rich saltiness. That bit of peel makes all the difference.
  • Crush, don't mince: this will really alter the flavour. You want a hint of garlic, not for it to overwhelm every bite. Crushing it lightly will release the oils to steep into the oil, but won't take over.

How to Store

Storage: because no acid is added to preserve, the marinated olives have to be eaten within 5 days of making the recipe. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and gently warm through before serving.

Freezing: I don't recommend freezing this dish.

Close up of olives in a bowl with oil and add-ins.


Are Castelvetrano olives the same as green olives?

Castelvetrano olives can only refer to olives grown in southwestern Sicily and are sweet, often large, with a crisp texture. They are naturally light green and be sure to look for ones that haven't been dyed (they'll be a bright, unnatural looking green). Green olives, on the other hand, are any olives that are harvested when immature (and still green).

Are marinated olives a healthy snack?

Olives are high in antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation, but are also generally high in sodium. This recipe contains some good healthy fats, too. So balance is important, like with anything!

Are marinated olives fermented?

In this case, no. Castelvetrano olives are not fermented, only soaked in water and a lye bath to remove the bitterness. That's why they're so sweet.

More Easy Vegan Sides

Mixing and matching side dishes to make into a main is plant-based 101. If you're thinking of putting together a grazing platter, WHE has you covered. Try any of the recipe suggested to serve with the olives, or some of these:

Vegan Greek Salad
Turmeric Cashew Spread
Hummus Five Ways
Vegan Rainbow Rolls

If you make these Marinated Olives or any other vegan snacks on Wholehearted Eats, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more WHE, follow along on Instagram or subscribe for new posts via email.


Olives in a serving bowl with oil and flavourings.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Marinated Olives

Naturally vegan marinated olives are the best way to have olives. Once you try warm olives, you’ll never want to go back to having them cold again.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Sophie


  • 1 Small pot
  • 1 Heatproof dish


  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 strips lemon peel
  • 1 dried chili optional
  • ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Few springs thyme
  • Few sprigs rosemary
  • 1 handful almonds chopped
  • ¾ cup olive oil


  • Place the olives in a heatproof container and set aside.
    1 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • Peel the garlic cloves and gently crush them with the side of your knife. 
    2 cloves garlic
  • Add the garlic, lemon peel, chili, peppercorns, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme, almonds, and olive oil to a small pot. Heat the oil over medium heat until it is gently warmed but not hot, then carefully pour it over the olives. 
    2 strips lemon peel, 1 dried chili, ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, Few springs thyme, Few sprigs rosemary, 1 handful almonds, ¾ cup olive oil
  • For best flavour, let the olives and oil sit for 15 minutes before enjoying. Serve warm.



Calories: 98kcal

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