Celebrating National Olive Day: The History, Health Benefits, and Delicious Recipes

Olive trees have been cultivated for thousands of years, and olives have played a vital role in the Mediterranean diet for centuries. On June 1st, people all over the world celebrate National Olive Day, an opportunity to appreciate this versatile and flavorful fruit. In this article, we’ll explore the history of olives, the health benefits they offer, and some delicious recipes that will help you celebrate National Olive Day in style.

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History of Olives

Olives have been an important part of Mediterranean cuisine for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered the olive tree sacred and believed it to have healing properties. Olive oil was used in religious ceremonies, as a medicine, and as a food. The Phoenicians were responsible for spreading the cultivation of olives throughout the Mediterranean, and olive trees are still a common sight in this region today.

Health Benefits of Olives

Olives are not only delicious, but they also offer numerous health benefits. They are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are known to lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Olives are also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage, and contain polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, olives have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and improved brain function.

Types of Olives

There are hundreds of varieties of olives, each with its unique flavor and texture. Some of the most common types of olives include:


Kalamata olives are a popular type of Greek olive known for their distinctive almond shape and dark purple color. They are often preserved in vinegar or oil and have a slightly salty, tangy flavor.


Manzanilla olives are a Spanish variety that is typically sold pitted and stuffed with ingredients like garlic, almonds, or cheese. They have a bright, citrusy flavor and are often used in salads or as a garnish.


Nicoise olives are a small, black French olive that is often used in Niçoise salads. They have a rich, fruity flavor and are also delicious in pasta dishes or on their own as a snack.

Delicious Olive Recipes

Olives are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are three delicious recipes that will help you celebrate National Olive Day:

Olive Tapenade


  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. In a food processor, combine the olives, capers, and garlic.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.
  3. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil and lemon juice.
  4. Season with red pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Serve with crackers or crostini.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad


  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, olives, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, parsley, and
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to combine.
  3. Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Chicken with Olives and Lemon


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  2. Dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off any excess.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  5. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  6. Add the chicken broth and white wine to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.
  7. Add the olives and lemon slices to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  8. Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the top.
  9. Cover the skillet and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  10. Sprinkle the parsley over the top of the chicken and serve.


National Olive Day is an opportunity to celebrate this versatile and flavorful fruit, which has been a part of Mediterranean cuisine for thousands of years. Whether you enjoy olives as a snack, in a salad, or as an ingredient in a delicious recipe, there are many reasons to love this delicious and nutritious fruit.


What is National Olive Day?

National Olive Day is a day set aside to celebrate olives, which are a staple of Mediterranean cuisine.

What are the health benefits of olives?

Olives are a good source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and polyphenols, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, and cancer, and improved brain function.

What are some popular types of olives?

Some popular types of olives include Kalamata, Manzanilla, and Nicoise.

What are some delicious olive recipes?

Some delicious olive recipes include olive tapenade, Mediterranean pasta salad, and chicken with olives and lemon.

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