I can’t buy a can of olives without thinking about dinners at my grandparents’ house as a kid. Every Sunday when we were little, before soccer games took over as the weekend activity, we’d go over for macaroni and meatball dinners. While the women perfected the sauce in the kitchen and set the table for dinner, the men could be found in the living room watching either baseball or football depending on the time of year. Come to think of it, that’s probably where my deep seeded hatred of American sports on tv comes from. When you’re forced to dry dishes while the people with a Y chromosome in the house get to sit in front of a sports game, you’d probably end up with some residual negativity too.
While we waited for the sauce to cook down and the water to boil, there would always be a platter of celery, carrots (with a side story from grandpa about how good they were for your eyesight) and olives to snack on. My job, since making sauce was a little beyond my capabilities as a 5 or 6 year old, was to make that platter. The celery and carrot sections would be nice and full…and then there was the olive section, at best, half full from me eating them one by one as I arranged them on the plate with my back to my mom so she couldn’t yell. I’d bring the plate into the “man area” shove a few on as many fingers as I could and then run out of the room before my dad would look away from the game long enough to notice what I was doing.
As a kid, I was partial to black ripe olives but as an adult, give me any olives, any color, any intensity, pit, no pit, stuffed with blue cheese in a martini, fried up with a crispy exterior or stuffed inside a mushroom as a tapenade and I will happily devour them all.
California ripe olives are great for snacking because they go with pretty much anything (olives + nuts, olive spread on sandwiches, olives in pasta, olives in salads). Plus, they have a 3-4 year shelf life so you can keep plenty on hand to have in a pinch.
These stuffed mushrooms while not the prettiest little things (mushrooms + olives unfortunately = brown looking mush), are packed with olive flavor along with some sweetness from a handful of sun dried tomatoes and freshness from lots of basil. They’re the perfect summer bite for snacking, serving up as an appetizer or even with some grilled steak for dinner.
- 2 - 10 ounce packages baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
- 1 - 15 ounce can ripe black olives, drained
- 1 - 15 ounce can ripe green olives, drained
- 2 tablespoons roasted garlic spread
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 4-5 sun dried tomatoes (not in olive oil)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Combine olives, garlic spread, basil, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
- Spoon tapenade into the mushroom caps, place on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil.
- Bake mushrooms for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm.
If you love olives too, join my group Pinterest board dedicated to snacking with California ripe olives. All eligible guest pinners will be entered to win this fun prize pack:
You can even pin directly from the California Ripe Olives Pinterest account! Check out the full set of guidelines at Kitchen PLAY here and join me in pinning today by leaving a comment below that you’d like to be invited.