Rosemary-Lemon Spanish Olives with Manchego Cheese

I love picnics. It is that time of the year when we move our feasts to the great outdoors. One of my favorite picnic items is marinated olives. They are easy to season and bursting with flavor.

Great ingredients are key to any recipe, and olives are no exception. For today’s recipe I prefer Spanish green olives, also known as Manzanillas, which translates as little apples’They have firm textured meat with a delicate almond flavor and are slightly smoky in taste. 

Observing the Olive

Olives come in basically two common forms, green and black. Their color doesn’t indicate variety but rather level of ripeness. Green olives are simply under ripe and have a much more intense flavor than their mellow black cousins which are fully ripened.      

Opulent Olives

Olives promote good health because they have excellent nutritional qualities and are easy to digest because of their fiber content. They contain anti-oxidants, healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E and beneficial minerals. There are roughly 42 calories in ten green olives.

Tip of the Day

I like to keep lots of jars of olives in my pantry but I sometimes have a tough time opening the jar. I am a sucker for gadgets that make life easier and actually work, and this Zyliss StrongBoy Jar Opener is no exception.Zyliss StrongBoy Jar Opener
It adjusts to most jars with a simple turn of the handle. No more banging the lid against the counter top or wedging a lid open with a knife for me. I am familiar with Zyliss’ can openers, so it is no surprise why this gadget works so well.

Today’s Recipe

I have been making these marinated olives for a couple of years and they have become a sought-after standby at parties and picnics. While I love authentic olives from Seville (try Ybarra Piquillo Pepper Stuffed Manzanilla Olives), any green or black olive will work.

The recipe is adapted from my good friend Rona Lewis’ cookbook “Does this Cookbook Make Me Look Fat?” Volume 2.

Rosemary-Lemon Spanish Olives with Manchego Cheese
Recipe type: picnic or party food
Cuisine: Spanish
These marinated olives are delicious, nutritious and easy to make. With the cheese, they make a perfect summertime party or picnic nibble.
  • 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 5 strips lemon zest
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup lemon juice (I have also used lime)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 2 cups Spanish green olives, drained from brine
  • 2 ounces of Manchego cheese, cubed
  1. Combine rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, peppercorns, lemon juice and oil in a medium sized bowl. Stir until mixed.
  2. Add olives and cheese and toss until coated.
  3. Marinate for at least 3 hours.
This combination will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month in a tightly sealed container. Serve at room temperature.

A Little Olive Humor


Fun Facts About Olives

  • The olive tree is known around the world as a symbol of peace and tranquility.
  • The olive branch appears on the national flags of seven nations, four U.S. States and the flag of the United Nations.
  • On average, an olive tree can live between 300 and 600 years. Ancient cultivation of the olive took decades to bear fruit, so it was rumored that anyone who planted olive trees was expecting a long and peaceful life.

I think I am going to go plant a couple of olive trees right now.
…and then, she paused 4 thought.


About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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15 Responses to Rosemary-Lemon Spanish Olives with Manchego Cheese

  1. nusrat2010 July 4, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    You know all the surefire ways of making a post/recipe versatile and interesting 🙂 And that’s why I love you, sweetheart.
    Would sure give the recipe a try. Thanks for the gorgeous, luscious photo 🙂

    • cathyarkle July 5, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks Nusrat! For summer I like easy recipes that taste great. Lots of love back to you. 🙂

  2. Jackie @ The Seaside Baker July 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Wow, my mouth is watering. I love olives and this recipe sound and looks divine!

    • cathyarkle July 5, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks Jackie, feel free to experiment with different spices on this recipe. I have used lime juice and I am thinking about experimenting with orange juice…

  3. Christina July 5, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Okay, that Zyliss can opener needs to be in my kitchen (hubby and son are not always around)! These olives look and sound amazing, especially since Manchego is one of my favorite cheeses! Lovely, Cathy, but I’m not surprised, coming from you!

    • cathyarkle July 5, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Christina that jar opener is very handy and works really well. I just don’t have the strength in my hands like I used to.
      The Manchego cheese gives the olives a nice boost. I know you could rock your own version of this recipe.

  4. Natalie || The Devil Wears Parsley July 5, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    That’s it – definitely picking up some olives today!!

    • cathyarkle July 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      Natalie, add some chili pepper flakes into the mix to really make it sing. 🙂

  5. junglefrog July 11, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    I love some good marinated olives but have never done that myself. I guess I am slightly spoiled with a wonderful olive vendor not too far… Plus I have to eat them all myself since the man of the house hates olives!

    • cathyarkle July 11, 2013 at 8:24 am #

      LOL Simone! The good news is that the olives keep for a month. I usually take them to parties as a hostess gift, or to picnics. Of course you can save a few for yourself!

  6. tastingpage July 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Great photo! I’m a huge fan of olives, and will have to give this one a try. Thanks!

    • cathyarkle July 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Thanks Tastingpage! This recipe is one of my favorites. I use it for hostess gifts as well as party fare.

  7. Lentil Breakdown July 15, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    This recipe sounds great. I am an olive fiend—which bodes well for traveling to Morocco. And that Zyliss gadget looks better than mine which is from the 99 cent store. 🙂


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