« Recipe for slow cooker chai-spiced pear sauce {vegan} | Main | The Pantry Quiz #23 »

Black olives (Recipe: vegan vinegar veggies) {gluten-free}

First published in July 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. I've been making these veggies for more than twenty years, and I've never tired of the fresh flavor and crunch of lightly-cooked vegetables in a pan vinaigrette. All of the ingredients are available year-round, so you can bring color to the table even in mid-winter.

Vinegar veggies, a simple yet dramatically beautiful side dish.

Kalamata, picholine, frantoio, arbequina, souri ... I've never met an olive I didn't want to take home, but good old black olives in a can are the only ones that merit 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, now a major producer of olives.


Olives aren't a low-calorie food, but they are high in monounsaturated fat (the "good" fat). The mild flavor of ripe black olives perks up, but doesn't overwhelm, my famous summer salad, made with chunks of crispy green lettuce, tomato, nectarine, cucumber, and Great Hill blue cheese (sounds weird, I know, but try it).

I love black olive tapenade, which combines canned black olives with tart green ones, but most often I use black olives in a large batch of these vinegar vegetables, a favorite vegan and gluten-free accompaniment to grilled fish, chicken or beef. It's a dish that works hot or cold, really a salad with a warm vinaigrette made right in the pan.

Vinegar veggies, lightly sautéed with a warm pan vinaigrette.

Vegan vinegar veggies

From the pantry, you'll need: extra virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, onion, garlic, thyme or oregano, agave nectar or honey.

Serves 6 as a side dish. You can make this a day ahead and let it mellow in the refrigerator.


3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced on an angle
1 large clove garlic, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced on an angle
1 yellow squash, sliced on an angle
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
10 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 can small pitted black olives
1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme or oregano
Black pepper to taste
Rice vinegar, 1/4 cup or more
A drop or two of agave nectar or honey (optional)


In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add onion and saute briefly. Add garlic, celery, zucchini and peppers, and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and cook until all vegetables are just tender.

You might want to add more rice vinegar to taste — basically, you're making a cooked vinaigrette dressing.

Serve at room temperature, or warm, or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Kale salad with mushrooms and mustard vinaigrette
Cucumber ribbon salad
Pear, fennel and olive salad

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
7-layer dip, from Cooking On the Side
Olive cheese bread, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Tomato, olive and fresh mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Egg white omelet with fresh herbs, black olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, from The Hungry Mouse
Angel hair with red onion and black olives, from Eat at Home

A year-round veggie side dish, from The Perfect Pantry. #vegan #glutenfree

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.


"serve at room temperature, or warm, or cold"


That's what I first thought when I saw this dish. The leftovers from the first serving would make a great pizza, with some feta, maybe on a roasted garlic dough . . .

I am not a fan of black olives though--would substituting green radically alter the dish in a negative way?

Thanks, Lydia!

Yes I must agree with you Kristen, that dish does look like a tasty pizza in the making with that roasted garlic dough, yum!

LOVE the sound of this. What a great thing to have in the fridge.

Kirsten, seriously, that is a great idea! I wouldn't substitute green olives for black, though. I might just leave them out, because you don't want strong olives to overpower the light flavor of the veggies.

Kathy, roasted garlic dough? Perfect!

Kalyn, whenever I make these, I make a huge batch, and I love to eat them cold right from the fridge. It's such a healthy snack.

Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe...It really seems very delicious...

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.