Why everybody loves kalamata olives and their best uses
Organic kalamata olives are one of our most popular products here at Mount Zero. And it’s easy to understand why once you learn about their nutritional benefits and the array of mouthwatering ways you can eat them up.
You can recognise beautiful kalamata olives based on their dark purple appearance, firm glossy flesh, delicious bitter flavour and medium to large size in comparison to other green and black olives.
Due to their strong salty taste and the fact they are high in fat, many people are left wondering: 'Are kalamata olives a healthy choice?’ Well, we’ve crunched the numbers for you and outlined their nutritional profile and health benefits to help get to the bottom of whether kalamata olives are good for you or not.
What are kalamata olives good for? If you’re looking for ideas to incorporate kalamata olives into your diet, we’ve detailed five of our favourite ways to prepare and enjoy this incredible fruit for yourself.
Superfood or sometimes food – Are kalamata olives good for you?
Kalamata olives are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats and relatively low in carbs. Dare we say, they can be considered a 'superfood'! Here is the nutritional breakdown of a serving size of approximately 5 kalamata olives:
- Calories: 88
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Fibre: 3 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
Kalamata olives have a whole host of amazing health benefits that in our opinion qualify them for superfood status.
About 75% of the fat contained in kalamata olives is monounsaturated fatty acids, which research links to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Some studies even suggest the antioxidants in olives reduce the risk of cancer.
Research shows that the beneficial bacteria and enzymes introduced to your gut by consuming fermented foods, like olives, boost the health of your digestive system and may enhance your immune function.
Kalamata olives also contain iron, calcium and copper minerals that help with heart health, bone strength and reduced risk of anaemia.
Kalamata olives are a good source of vitamins A and E that help maintain healthy eyesight and heart health respectively.
Supporting heart, eye, bone, gut and skin health, is there anything divine kalamata olives don’t help out with?
Now that we’ve established that kalamata olives are really good for you, let’s look at some easy and tasty ways to bring these nutritious beauties into your diet.
Our favourite ways to enjoy and prepare kalamata olives
The ultimate cheese board
Kalamata olives are known as a classic table olive variety. As they are generally larger, juicier and plumper than other olives, they are great to enjoy straight from the jar as a snack or canape before a meal.
Whether you’re spending Friday night in or entertaining a crowd, kalamata olives are a sure-fire enjoyable inclusion on a cheese plate. They make for the perfect salty accompaniment to creamy cheeses, charcuterie meats, fresh fruits and crisp crackers. From selecting cheeses, and arranging ingredients, our ultimate cheese platter guide takes you through all the steps and tips you need to ace the presentation and flavour pairings.
Crunchy olive sourdough
Mount Zero’s organic pitted kalamata olives are the key ingredient in Tivoli Road Bakery’s iconic olive sourdough. If you’re making any type of olive bread or focaccia at home, it’s a great time saver to seek out olives already pitted so you don’t have to perform the fiddly and messy task of removing the pits yourself. You’ll also need to pick up black olive tapenade, lemon pressed extra virgin olive oil and pitted green manzanilla olives to nail James’ olive sourdough recipe.
Pepperonata, a taste of Italy
A taste sensation for Italian cuisine lovers, executive chef Neil Cunningham from Coombe Yarra Valley mixes pitted kalamata olives with chargrilled red, green and yellow capsicums, red onion, garlic and fennel to make a fragrant and colourful peperonata. You can use peperonata as a side dish with grilled meats, or even enjoy it on a crusty piece of toast bruschetta style as a snack or light meal. Alternatively, Neil serves his peperonata with poached trout and beluga lentils.
Silky kalamata olive sauce
Recipe writer Cle-ann Stampolidis uses half a cup of kalamata olives to make her simple three-step kalamata olive sauce. All you need to do is roughly mash the kalamata olives with a mortar and pestle, add natural yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. And voila, you have delightfully delicious and chunky olive sauce! The sauce is ideal for dunking pita bread or Turkish bread in, enjoying with cheese and crackers or adding a bit of excitement to roasted veggies. Cle-ann recommends serving up with golden roast carrots.
Classic Sicilian puttanesca pasta
Another Italian classic, you can’t make a great puttanesca without great quality kalamata olives. French chef Stephane Meyer’s Sicilian puttanesca blends sundried tomato, garlic, shallots, Mount Zero arbequina extra virgin olive oil, capsicum and chopped tomato. Then you add kalamata olives, baby spinach, lemon juice and oregano to the sauce, before tossing it with al dente rigatoni. Top it all off with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. With no complicated techniques and a handful of ingredients that you might already have in the bottom of your fridge, puttanesca with rigatoni is ideal for a quick weeknight meal!
For anchovy fans, we also rate this tomato, olive and anchovy pasta by Cassandra Morris from Fig and Salt.
Now that you’re in the know on our very favourite ways to serve, prepare and enjoy kalamata olives you’ll be able to put that jar of kalamata olives in your pantry to good use. And with so many health benefits, kalamata olives are a desirable ingredient to add to your shopping list.
Stock up on the freshest ingredients and Australian-grown olives. If you’re after more cooking inspiration, check out the Mount Zero recipe archive – it’s jam-packed with recipes featuring olives in all manner of creative ways from talented chefs.