« Long grain white rice (Recipe: shrimp, broccoli and scallion fried rice) | Main | Baking powder (Recipe: lemon tea cake) »

Black olives (Recipe: warm tomato, basil and mozzarella salad) {vegetarian, gluten-free}


One bit of trivia about black olives:

The black olives you find in cans in every grocery store are Mission olives, a variety first planted by Franciscan missionaries in California, and all of the olives grown today derive from a tree at a Franciscan mission in San Diego. Mission olives, while fully ripe, don't have the sharp flavor of Mediterranean olives, in part because they're cured in lye rather than in salt. However, it's their mild flavor that makes them perfect for salads, pizzas, and any dish where you don't want the strong olive taste to overwhelm other ingredients.

Cooking or baking?
Cooking. If you're planning to bake olive bread, use green or Kalamata olives.

Cans will keep in the pantry almost indefinitely. Store leftover olives in a jar or plastic container, covered with water or with the brine from the can.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Black olives (more facts and ingredient photo)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Balsamic vinegar


Warm tomato, basil and mozzarella salad

Take advantage of garden-fresh tomatoes, if you're lucky enough to have them, or look for containers of heirloom varieties of cherry tomatoes available at many supermarkets. With cooler nights here in Rhode Island, it's the basil that needs to come out of my garden now. In this salad, the warmth of the tomatoes brings out the flavor and aroma of the basil, and softens the cheese, too. A wonderful side dish with grilled chicken or fish, this salad serves 2, and easily can be doubled.


4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, a mix of varieties if possible
12 black olives, halved
3-4 large basil leaves, roughly torn
1/4 cup diced fresh mozzarella, at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


In a medium-size nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the tomatoes and cook, shaking the pan occasionally to toss the tomatoes, for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and begun to crack.

Pour the tomatoes and the oil into a mixing bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. Toss gently, and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Goat cheese and olive stuffed peppers
Chicken marbella
Favorite green salad with tomato, cucumber, nectarines and olives
Spaghetti with basil pesto, tomato and olives
Broccoli, basil and pasta salad
Goat cheese-olive empanadas

Other recipes that use black olives:
Cornbread with black olives and jalapeño peppers, from Lisa's Kitchen
Roasted tomato hand pies with black olives and feta, from Ezra Pound Cake
Olive cheese bread, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Cheddar, black olive, curry bites, from Whipped
Mediterranean olive hummus, from Pinch My Salt

Need more creative ideas for using tomatoes all year round? Get 25 Tomatoes, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a fun video tutorial. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious tomato recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Love this idea Lydia!!

what a lovely, vibrant salad! i love warm salads, perfect for Spring in Australia right now.

I really do like the mission olives, and was surprised to have them served when I was in Italy a few years ago - I thought they were an American thing.

Just harvested a few more cherry tomatoes this AM, so I think I have enough for a salad.

I am putting them in my lunch-time salad that I assemble each day! I never met an olive I didn't like!

Okay, I am sold! This one is a home run for me.

Val, thanks. Getting a little bit of warmth on the tomatoes makes them taste like they were just picked off the vine.

LimeCake, lucky you, coming into tomato season! For us, we're just at the end.

Julia, I have tomato envy. I'd love to be able to walk out my kitchen door and pick tomatoes.

Carol, I don't know how. I just knew!

Kalyn, eating these cherry tomatoes was like eating candy.

This looks amazing I am going to make this for dinner tomorrow night! Thank you for the healthy recipe.

Mozzarella cheese and olives are so perfect when they are together. I am looking forward to trying this salad.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.