Food costs are at an ultimate high! By making use of good old pantry staples you can easily transform some everyday meals into something spectacular – without breaking the bank.
One of those items that we often forget hiding somewhere in our cupboards are olives! They are nutritious and an excellent source of Vitamin E - making them an extremely healthy fat source that suits most diets.
While olives are delicious to eat straight out of the jar, there are a few other fun ways you can use them in your daily meals.
Have a look!
1. Dairy-free spicy olive and basil pesto
By blending together a combination of olives, basil, chopped chilli, olive oil, garlic, chopped nuts (like almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts) and capers, you can easily create an olive pesto in seconds. Use it as a spread on sandwiches, toss it through some pasta, use it in salads dressings or add it as a flavouring agent to soups or stews. Store it in the fridge and use as needed.
2. Cheat’s olive and feta flatbread
Make a cheat’s version of the well-loved Italian focaccia by buying some ready-made bread dough from your supermarket’s bakery counter. Roll it out to form a thin base, add a few indentations by using your thumbs and brush it with a generous helping of olive oil. Scatter over some sautéed onions, finely chopped garlic, sliced olives, a bit of feta cheese, fresh rosemary and salt. Bake it at 220°C for 15-20 minutes until golden. Serve it with a mixed salad.
3. Savoury olive and goats-cheese truffles
Olives are great when planning any cocktail party, not only because they feature in a perfect martini but because they also make wonderful canapés. To make savoury truffles, simply coat a pitted olive in a bit of goats cheese (use the soft cream cheese-like goats cheese logs found in supermarkets). Roll it into a ball and coat it with finely chopped nuts, toasted sesame seeds, chopped herbs or dukkah.
4. Olive and beef lasagne
Flavour your regular lasagna beef base with additional garlic, chopped bacon, red peppers, parsley and olives. The olives add a wonderful saltiness to the dish without having to add much extra salt and pepper. Instead of topping your lasagne with regular Cheddar cheese, add some crumbled goat’s cheese instead before grilling for a gourmet version of this well-loved Italian meal.
5. Lentil, olive and tuna patties
For a healthy option you can make patties by mixing canned lentils and chopped pitted olives with canned tuna, chopped fresh herbs, garlic, ricotta and sundried tomatoes. Add just enough breadcrumbs to bind the mixture together. Form it into patties and fry until golden. They are wonderful as gourmet burgers or served with a green salad for a light lunch.
Making use of these almost-forgotten pantry staples is a great way of stretching your ingredients and coming up with new and exciting recipes!
By: Camilla Reinhold