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Black olives (Recipe: goat cheese and olive stuffed peppers) {vegetarian, gluten-free}


My friend Bob, tagine-maker extraordinaire and photography guru, has many good qualities, and one flaw.

He doesn't eat olives.

On a scale of one to ten, where not eating chocolate would be a ten, this ranks as a seven or eight.

My son-in-law Nick doesn't eat canned black olives, but eats all other olives -- a four or five on my scale.

I've never met an olive I didn't want to take home, but canned black olives have a permanent place in my pantry.

Native to the Mediterranean region, olive trees can grow to an old age, with trunks up to 30 feet in diameter. More than 300 cultivars of olives grow in Italy. Spanish missionaries brought olive trees to California in the 18th Century, and today California -- along with Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey -- is the largest olive-producing region in the United States.


One of the world's healthiest foods, olives aren't low-calorie, but they are high in monounsaturated fat (the "good" fat), iron and Vitamin E.

The mild flavor of ripe black olives doesn't overwhelm my favorite summer salad: crispy green lettuce, tomato, nectarine, cucumber, and blue cheese (sounds weird, I know, but try it), sometimes with chunks of grilled chicken added. It's also good in Mediterranean olive hummus, black olive cake, taco salad, white bean and black olive soup, and talerine beef casserole.

Store cans of olives in your cupboard forever, but after you open a can, pour the leftover olives along with the liquid into a non-metal container with a tight-fitting cover, and store in the refrigerator. If the olives are not kept in liquid, they will shrivel up within a couple of days.


Goat cheese and olive stuffed peppers

This filling works with any small peppers; peppadews are often available in the salad bar at your local supermarket. Piquillos are now available at Trader Joe's, or at specialty markets. You can use this filling with cherry tomatoes, too. Serves 8.


12-16 canned piquillo peppers or 36 peppadews
1/3 cup pitted black olives, finely chopped
7-8 oz log of fresh soft goat cheese, softened*
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp capers (optional), roughly chopped
1-2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley sprigs, to garnish


*Remove the cheese from the refrigerator and let soften at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Lift the peppers from the can (save the oil), and blot the outside of the peppers with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Combine next six ingredients with 1 Tbsp of the reserved piquillo oil (or 1 Tbsp olive oil). Mix well and adjust seasonings if necessary. Fill the peppers and refrigerate for 2 hours. Garnish with parsley sprigs, and serve.

[Printer-friendly recipes.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Fennel, pear and olive salad
Chicken marbella
Goat cheese-olive empanadas
Chicken with preserved lemon tagine
Pie-ella, improved

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Fantastic! We sometimes buy tiny cheese-stuffed red peppers at our market, but I am sure yours are so much more delicious! They are beautiful. And I personally love black olives, though my men prefer olives with a bit more hot to them (soaked in spicy oil or garlic).

The canned black olives are my favorite too! Just had some on my pizza last night :) But this look far more civilized and DELICIOUS!

But this look far more civilized and DELICIOUS!

ditto that sentiment

This looks wonderful, and I too consider canned black olives a staple. But I'd never consider capers optional. ;-)

Once I discovered piquillo peppers, I was hooked! They are so sweet. I can't get enough of them.

Olives are the snack that always is on the grocery list. Heck I spend a good chunk of my grocery shopping time staring at the olive bar and sampling.

Olives also end up in dang near everything I make and I love all the flavors in this dish. Definitely going to have to give it a shot and nicely done!

Oh yeah I am definitely going to have to e-mail or call Robert because that tangine is beautiful and I have wanted one for ages.

This looks so good,I will try it as soon as I can get some goat cheese here in Mexico.
Love these low carb meals.

Can you tell me if there is place that I can go and find a list of things you need in your pantry?
When returning to the states i will need to get some things for my pantry.
Thanks for great site

I'm a huge fan of olives, the spicier and stonger the better. I can barely eat the canned ones, I favor kalamata over anything else. I'm fortunate to have a small middle eastern store close where I can buy them in big containers.

I love all olives and would rate that a 7 or 8 too!

Have you tried the other flavors of that brand of olives? they have things like "burgandy" and "Ceasar"! I keep cans of the various flavors on hand for impromptu gatherings. Just put them in little dishes with nuts and whatever. They are a good "poorman's olive" when you can't or don't want to visit the olive bar at whole foods!

No olives...OMG! I love them, all kinds. And this sounds fabulous!

Wish you would do a post on peppadews! I love them, but don't remember seeing them til rather recently.

I like the picture of 5 fingers stuck with olives! :D Can I start sewing with that?

This dish reminds me of Yong Tong Foo (stuffed beancurd etc) seen in Singapore and Malaysia.

Jamie, these are so easy to make at home, and you can control the saltiness and can use a mild cheese with a spicy olive, which would be delicious.

Julia, Milton: Good to know I'm not the only one who throws these black olives into everything (except when my friend Bob comes for dinner!).

Jean, capers are delicious in this, either with the olives or instead of them.

Joan, I agree. The piquillos were a revelation when I first tasted them. The ones I prefer are more expensive but so sweet, and always in the perfect little cone shape.

Jeff, I do love my tagine. It's one of several that Bob has made for me.

Sherry, please don't tell anyone, but I do plan to publish the list of what's in my pantry. Next month, right here.

Chiot's Run, I love kalamata olives, and it's great that even the salad bar at our local supermarket has pitted olives.

Carol, I've seen the flavored olives on the supermarket shelf but haven't tried them. Thanks for the recommendation.

Noble Pig, unthinkable indeed!

Mae, I won't do a peppadew post, because I don't keep them in my pantry, though I love cooking with them. I've only seen them in the past couple of years too.

Tigerfish, I think it's okay to play with your food sometimes!

Oh, yum!!!
I ♥ olives.
I ♥ goat cheese.
I ♥ capers.
I ♥ garlic.
I ♥ this recipe!
It's definitely going into my "must make" list!

this sounds so good, especially at 12:17am when I am suppose to be sleeping :D

How odd, I love olives but really don't care for the canned ones. Sure do like the look of the stuffed peppers!!

Lydia, this is something I always have around - Joao loves snacking on olives, he just won't go without them!

Fabulous!!!! I adore olives and I adore goat cheese!!!

I love every kind of olive. I agree, not liking olives is a serious character flaw. Love the sound of this!

Bridget, this recipe has your name written all over it!

Laura, it's really dangerous to read food blogs late at night, or before breakfast. I find that I get the strangest cravings....

MyKitchen, I've made this a few times for people who don't eat olives. Use capers and something lemon-y, like lemon thyme, and lots of parsley. It's a wonderful flavor.

Patricia, I love snacking on olives, too. I think it's the salty quality -- just a few olives really gives me a mid-afternoon boost.

Pam, Kalyn: you will both love this, and it's so easy to make. The same filling works well in cherry tomatoes if you don't have any peppers.

Great filling - I like these versatile recipes. And you totally got me on the black olive cake. That sounds crazy good. How can it be possible that anyone out there doesn't eat olives??? Do I need to have a conversation with Bob?

Those look totally amazing. I wish I could pluck one out of the screen. My favourite olives are Kalamata, yum...

lydia, in the arab/afghan/persian/turkish store they sell olives packed in plastic. sounds yucky, but they are not dripping in brine and have a more concentrated flavour.

the packet lookslike this:

i really love those, though they have to be pitted. i'm sure you will too. this recipe looks fantastic.

I recently discovered there are people out there who hate olives. Who knew? How could they!

I have to agree with your s-i-l about the canned black ones... But I love the canned black, Greek olives... - and every other olive I can find. And I always have canned pimientos in the pantry. And goat cheese in the fridge

TW, Hillary: I absolutely don't understand not loving olives. It takes every ounce of self-control not to force-feed them to my friends who don't like them!

Natashya, I'm partial to kalamatas also. They're really great with cheese.

Bee, I have to look for these on my next visit to the local Middle Eastern market. Fabulous!

Katie, perhaps the black olive thing is from childhood, when those were the olives we had in the house all the time, but I do love them and find them handy and all-purpose when I don't want them to overwhelm other flavors in a dish. And I always have goat cheese, too.

I wouldn't eat canned olives either. The little effort required to smash and remove the pit from any other olive suits me just fine.

I would surely make this appetizer with olives I've pitted.

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