(Family Features) Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so “blah.” Now’s the perfect time to break out of the lunch rut and add some excitement to your meals.
Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish.
California farmers grow more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure that the highest quality olives come from their farms to your table – one can at a time.
Adding olives to any lunch can help bring California sunshine to each and every bite. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go and find more at calolive.org.
Greek Salad in Jars
Courtesy of Simply Recipes
Makes: 4 salads
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
- pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 pint-size canning jars with lids
- 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 large English cucumber, sliced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup California black ripe olives
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 4 small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
- 4 pita bread rounds, halved (optional)
- To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and honey.
- Gradually whisk in oil. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Divide dressing between four pint jars.
- To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars. Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese between jars. Pack remaining space with spinach, compressing leaves slightly.
- Secure lids and refrigerate up to two days.
- To serve: Empty salads into bowls and toss with dressing. Serve with pita bread.
Note: Store and transport salads upright so dressing stays on bottom.
Smoked California Ripe Olives can produce a crave-worthy culinary surprise and become one of your favorite flavor discoveries. There are a few easy ways to make your own smoked olives, including preparing them on the grill with these quick steps:
- Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Pierce a foil pan several times with a small, sharp knife and spread wood chips in a single layer in the pan. Set directly on hot coals or metal bars on a gas grill. Close the lid and set heat to high only under the pan of chips.
- When chips are smoking, place drained California Ripe Olives in a grill basket on grill with the burners off. Close the lid and smoke for 30 minutes.
Maple Olive Cheesecake Bites
Makes: 16-20 mini cheesecakes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped California Ripe Olives
- Heat oven to 325° F and coat 16-20-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Place equal amounts into each mini muffin cup then press firmly into bottom of each cup. Working with one cup at a time, press small piece of plastic wrap onto surface and press crust firmly into mini muffin cups.
- In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, maple syrup and remaining sugar until smooth; beat in flour and vanilla on low speed. Add egg and beat until just combined; stir in olives.
- Spoon equal amounts into each cup. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until filling feels set.
- Let cool completely then run small, thin knife around edge of each to remove from pan.
Black and White Pizza
Makes: 1 pizza
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for pizza crust
- 1 cup onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
- 4 ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped flour
- 1 package prepared pizza dough
- 1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 can (6 ounces) extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, drained and cut in wedges
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Heat oven to 450° F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reserve.
- Roll pizza dough into thin oval on lightly floured surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce.
- Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza.
- Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around edges.
- Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Source: California Olive Committee
(Family Features) Farmers are the experts when it comes to enjoying the fruits of the land in the best way possible. Learn to eat like a farmer, and your taste buds will be sure to thank you later.
Across the United States, farmers are working hard to bring high-quality foods from their fields and groves to grocery store shelves and, ultimately, to your pantry. Sometimes foods you may not even think about coming from a farm have been grown with the most tender, loving care.
One example is olives, which are typically bought in cans, far removed from the produce section people more typically associate with farms. In California, hard-working, multi-generational farming families produce more than 95 percent of the olives grown and consumed in the United States. The farms – groves, to be exact – are home to thousands of trees that bear olive fruit for harvest each fall.
It should come as no surprise that these families have fine-tuned some of the most appetizing olive recipes by passing them on from one generation to the next. These farmers don’t just grow olives, they cook with them too, and are sharing some of their favorite recipes – from snacks to salads and pasta – using California Ripe Olives.
Find more California olive farmer-approved recipes at CalOlive.org.
Recipe courtesy of olive grower Natalie Jameson
- 2 cups chopped tomato
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into small cubes
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (6 ounces) large California Ripe Olives, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup prepared vinaigrette dressing
- corn chips
- In medium bowl, stir together tomato, green onions, avocado, black beans and olives.
- Toss with dressing and serve with corn chips.
Rotini with Shrimp and Olives
Recipe courtesy of olive grower Pablo Nerey
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- pepper, to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced California Ripe Olives
- Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 8-10 minutes, or until al dente; drain well and set aside.
- In large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic and stir until golden, being careful not to burn.
- Add shrimp to skillet and season with garlic salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, or until shrimp are pink, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add cream to skillet; simmer until thick.
- Add cooked pasta to sauce and stir in Parmesan cheese, pesto and olives.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Red Potato and Olive Salad
Recipe courtesy of olive grower Carolina Burreson
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced California Ripe Olives, drained
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered and boiled until tender
- 1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- In sealable jar, mix together dressing ingredients and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, place all salad ingredients in large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss lightly to coat.
Source: California Olive Committee