This green olive salad with grains and herbs is something a little different! Absolutely packed with olives, a little scoop goes a long way and is sure to stand out on your plate. A delightful side dish to a Greek inspired meal which can be made ahead of time and travels well too.
If you’re someone who loves to nibble at a bowl of olives, this salad is for you!
Olives are very much the starting point in this recipe, where everything else revolves around them, rather than being a supporting act. I just needed to get that out of the way up front so you didn’t get the ingredients list and wonder if my olive – grain ratio was a typo. It’s not. This is an olive salad, not a salad with olives, if you get the distinction.
Is this good news? Bad news? That’s up to you! I can’t tell you how to feel.
How it works
Taking inspiration from tabouleh, this Mediterranean inspired salad is heavy on the fresh herbs, and uses a mix of curly parsley and mint. Add in some sliced green onion, and you’ve got the foundation for lots of bright flavor.
Then come those the rich green olives… And this is a lot of tasty stuff so we don’t need a full on salad dressing today, which makes it so. much. easier.
A squeeze of lemon and a pour of olive oil is just right.
It’s really easy!
Which Olives to Use
I just used jarred pitted green olives from the supermarket, nothing fancy. Given the quantity of olives required here, using really fancy ones would get very expensive! Though if you’re looking for a way to use up some really posh olives you’ve acquired, this is a great opportunity to do that because the olive taste stays front and center and doesn’t get drowned out.
You could use a mix of green and kalamata olives, if you desire, and you could also have a lot of fun with using stuffed olives! Pimento olives, for instance, still hold up when sliced.
Which Grains to Use
My salad uses a mix of bulgur and quinoa (both white and red) from a ready mixed pack I bought at the supermarket. You could use any grain, or even lentils.
You could use a ready cooked option, or just cook it fresh for the salad. It’s fine for the grain to go in a little warm. The salad tastes great warm or cold. There are so few rules with this one.
The fun part! This is 100% side dish, it’s not something you’d want to make a whole meal out of because it’s just so rich. A scoop or two as a side dish, or as part of a bigger mix of small plates, is just right.
It’s a perfect side to something like:
- Puff Pastry Spanakopita – this would be an obvious Mediterranean pairing
- Smoky Tomato & Halloumi Bake – with some fresh bread also
- Feta Cheese & Sweet Potato Enchiladas – a bit of genre mixing can be a beautiful thing
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese & Kale – something about the combo of sweet potato and olive appeals here
- Easiest Cheese & Onion Quiche – and maybe add some leaves too
Plating it Up
It keeps well, so is also a wonderful dish to bring to a barbecue or get together of any kind.
I like to plate it up alongside some hummus and sliced tomatoes, both of which make great accompaniments. Of course, you’ll want nicer heirloom tomatoes, not the blah ones pictured – what can I say, it was February in the Northern Hemisphere.
Green Olive Grain Salad
- 1.5 cups (280 g) cooked grains , I used a mix of quinoa and bulgur
- 0.5 cups (30 g) curly parsley, finely chopped, with the largest bits of stem removed
- 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup (135 g) green olives, sliced (measurement taken before slicing)
- 2 green (spring) onions, finely sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- Add the grains, parsley, mint, onions, olives to a bowl and mix to combine.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, drizzle the olive oil in, and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper if desired (I don't use either).