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The 9 Best Types of Olives for Salads

A grocery store shelf featuring various types of relish and olives

Did you know there are over 100 types of edible olives out there? This makes it that much harder to narrow down the best kind to add taste and crunch to your favorite salad. So, I decided to put together this list for you.

1. Kalamata Olives

Kalamata olives are one of the best options for you to put in your salads. They originated in Greece, which means it grows in a beautiful, Mediterranean climate. These olives are shaped similarly to almonds, and they have a dark purple, brown color to them. Imagine getting your olives from Greece itself. Those olives have been basking in the sun for hours, and their taste shows it.

When the kalamata olive is first picked from the tree, it is extremely bitter. So, olive processing plants will typically cure the olives before they hit the shelves and get to our mouths. The taste changes from a distinct bitter taste to a meaty, rich taste that sets kalamata olives apart from other olives out there.

Not only does the kalamata olive provide a special, salty taste, but the kalamata olive also has many health benefits that make it perfect for salads. Kalamata olives have great antioxidants, reduce the risk of illnesses, and are packed with amazing nutrients.

Salads are typically made to be healthy and packed with varieties of flavors and nutrients, and kalamata olives complement almost any salad very well. If you want an olive that hits every point in terms of health, taste, looks, and popularity, then the kalamata olive is the olive you need to be adding to your next delicious salad.

Best Salads with Kalamata Olives

The best choice of salad to make with kalamata olives is clearly a Greek salad. Kalamata olives are from Greece, which makes them the best choice for this type of salad. A Greek salad cannot be a true Greek salad without Greek olives like kalamata. The cucumbers, feta cheese, and tomatoes will pair perfectly with the beautiful kalamata olive.

A shelf at the grocery with Kalamata olives

2. Cerignola Olives

Another fantastic option for your salad recipe is a cerignola olive. This olive is an Italian olive that has a taste you won’t forget. It is so special to the Italian culture, that they have to be grown in a certain part of Italy, an Italian region called Puglia. These olives are also cured during processing, which gives the olive a buttery flavor that is quite mild compared to other more sour-tasting olives.

Best Salads with Cerignola Olives

Cerignola Olives are best to use in salads that have a buttery, cheesy taste to them. A butter leaf salad with parmesan cheese and roasted tomato, and your choice of veggies, would be perfect with this type. The contrasting taste of the cheese, butter, and tomatoes will make your palette dance with joy.

Cerignola olives in a bowl

3. Sicilian Olives

The Sicilian olive is also known as the Castelvetrano olive. They originate from Sicily, and just like the kalamata olive, they too grow with the hot sun, which makes their taste unique and one you will never forget. These olives are also cured because their original taste is not the taste they desire. After being cured, the olives are left with a butter flavor with a sweet component. The bitter taste is completely gone.

Best Salads with Sicilian Olives

The best salad you can pair with Sicilian olives is a salad that contains beans, raisins, craisins, arugula, and salads with similar ingredients. These ingredients will pair perfectly with the Sicilian olive, creating the perfect combination of tastes in your mouth.

Sicilian olives are so tasty and are perfect for your next salad recipe. Make sure to add Castelvetrano olives to it.

A shelf at the grocery with Castelvetrano olives

4. Picholine Olives

The Picholine olive is a beautiful, almond-shaped green olive that grows in the trees of Morocco, France, and Italy. This tasty olive is grown in a beautiful climate with the perfect weather that makes it so tasty and ensures the perfect texture. After curing, the Picholine olive is left with a bitter taste that is buttery as well. This olive has a distinct look and taste, which makes it perfect for your salads.

Best Salads with Picholine Olives

Because Picholine olives have a bitter taste but also a buttery, contrasting one as well, it’s best paired with things like fruit, seafood, and cheese. These flavors will pair perfectly with the taste of the Picholine olive. Choose some leafy greens, add some well-paring ingredients, and lastly, top it off with some Picholine olives, and you’ll have the salad of a lifetime.

5. Nicoise Olives

Nicoise olives are an extremely popular choice of olive for your salads. It comes from the regions of the French Riviera, and the taste matches the beautiful growing location. Nicoise olives are popular because of their bitter taste, which has savory nut flavors intermingling with that taste. These beautiful tastes are the perfect contrast for the next salad you are making.

Best Salads with Nicoise Olives

The absolute best salad to make if you want Nicoise olives is the original Nicoise salad. It can’t get better than that. With red potatoes, green beans, shallots, mustard, tomatoes, radishes, and other amazing ingredients, you will have an amazing salad that everyone will love.

Healthy Nicoise salad with salmon

Related The 9 Best Substitutes for Nicoise Olives.

6. Beldi Olives

The beautiful Beldi olives are from the trees of Morocco. This delicious olive adds a distinct salty flavor to your salads that everyone at your dinner table will appreciate. This bitter olive will give your salads a kick that you and everyone eating the salad will pleasantly enjoy.

Because this olive grows in Morocco, the warm weather and sun help to give the Beldi olive that amazing taste. Because of its unique taste, the Beldi olive can make any boring salad delicious and memorable.

Best Salads with Beldi Olives

Beldi olives are best paired with fruit, ricotta cheese, and carrots. All you have to do is head to your local grocer, grab these ingredients and a few more, including some leafy green vegetables and a dressing, some Beldi olives, and you have yourself an amazing, delicious salad that you will never forget.

7. Green Olives

When I asked my mom what the best type of olive is for salads, she told me the typical green olive is the best option, and there’s a reason it’s been a favorite for so long.

The green olive is a classic staple to salads that people have been using for centuries. Green olives originate from locations like Spain, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and more. These countries help to create the best type of taste for the green olive. The unique flavor of bitterness and tang that is created after curing adds a special zing to your salad that will be so good you will want to make this salad every day.

Another great thing about this specific type of olive is that it is a much more well-known olive, so it’s going to be more available to purchase and easier to find on your local grocery store shelves. Because this olive is easier for markets to get access to, they tend to be less expensive than other olives on this list. This means that you will be saving money while still adding an extra zing and unique texture to your salad.

Best Salads with Green Olives

Because green olives are very bitter and tangy, you have to be careful and pair the perfect ingredients with your green olives. Great ingredients like lemon, garlic, grains, and tomatoes will all pair perfectly with your green olives, making a salad that you will make over and over again.

A shelf at the grocery with green and kalamata olives

8. Black Olives

A fan favorite, and my personal choice, is the black olive. Black olives are probably one of the most typically used and favorite olives for chefs to put on their salads. Black olives are typically grown in the state of California. The hot climate of the state creates a more bitter taste of the black olives resulting in the olive needing to be cured.

After the curing process, the black olive is left with a meaty, earthy flavor that everyone loves. The black olive is a favorite because of how cheap it is, how easily accessible it is, how versatile it is, and how delicious it is too!

The black olive is used in many different types of food like dips, pizzas, nachos, salsas, and of course, salads. If you want to have a salad that is simple and easy yet tasty and textured, then you’ll want to make a salad with black olives.

Best Salads with Black Olives

My favorite salad made with black olives is the Olive Garden salad. This simple salad has lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, onions, parmesan cheese, and black olives. This yummy salad is super easy to make and a great and delicious choice for your next salad recipe.

9. Spanish Queen Olives

A shelf at the grocery with Spanish olives

If you love olives to be big, briny, and delicious, then the Spanish queen olive is the perfect olive to add to your salads. This large olive grows in some of the most beautiful regions of Spain. The various weather conditions of this country create the perfect growing climate for the Spanish queen olive.

This olive, after the harvesting process, is left with a delicious briny taste that is quite bitter. This olive is also typically stuffed with a pimiento filling, which adds a tangy, creamy flavor to the bitter olive.

Salads typically have smaller ingredients that are a bit size and easy to eat, but the queen olive gives a variety to your salads that will be refreshing and much appreciated to your palette. For an easier-to-eat salad, you can chop the olives into bite-sized pieces and add them to your salad.

Best Salads with Spanish Queen Olives

Because these large Spanish queen olives are so briny in taste, you have to pair the olive with very specific salad ingredients. Ingredients like feta cheese, blue cheese, and gouda will pair very well with the Spanish queen olive because they balance out the zing of the Spanish queen olive.

Other ingredients like spinach, vinegar, and lemon juice will all help to make your Spanish queen olive salad stand out. This olive may be unique and bigger than the rest, but bigger is better right?

If you want to have a salad you will never forget, make a salad with Spanish queen olives. It’s sure to become a favorite and memorable salad.

I hope this list has been helpful.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

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