Published April 12, 2016 - Last Updated September 8, 2021
This recipe started with a container of leftover ripe green olives in the fridge. The thought of marinating those salty olives with chicken sounded enticing. I began throwing together all kinds of complimentary flavors– lime juice for a mild tartness, honey for sweetness, garlic and oregano, plus red pepper flakes for a kick. The result is my Mediterranean Olive Chicken– now a favorite recipe on my site, which is cooked in home kitchens all around the world. Who knew those leftover green olives would lead to something so popular and enduring?
I grew up eating a lot of chicken and a lot of fish. My mom and stepdad stuck to a heart-healthy diet, which meant that we rarely ate red meat. I used to complain about this when I was 6 or 7 years old… in fact, I had a little saying, which I liked to proclaim in sing-song fashion:
Chicken or fish, chicken or fish, all we ever eat is chicken or fish.
My mother, bless her heart, refrained from scolding me. She’d just smile, hand me my plate, and cheerfully announce that I was on dish duty. I quickly learned that I’d better stop complaining and eat up, or I’d be stuck doing dishes until I went to college.
Looking back, I find it funny that I was bummed about the lack of red meat in my childhood diet. Nowadays, I don’t eat much meat at all– in fact, I would say we’re about 80% vegetarian. We eat Mediterranean-style most of the time, which means we enjoy lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains and olive oil, and very little red meat. We prefer vegetarian entrees, but when we do choose to eat meat, it’s usually chicken or fish… more often chicken.
Because of our Mediterranean inclinations, I’m always coming up with new and creative ways to prepare chicken. I developed this recipe back in 2013 to use up those leftover olives in the refrigerator. After marinating and roasting, the chicken turned out just lovely… aromatic, herby, juicy and full of flavor. The marinade created delectable olive-laden pan drippings, so I skimmed the fat, added white wine, and whipped up a delicious sauce. It would make a great weeknight recipe, and it’s even special enough for a holiday meal. Try it and let me know what you think!
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Food Photography Beauty Shots & Styling by Louise Mellor
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Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...