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Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Three Salad Variations

Romaine Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and FetaRomaine Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Feta

For a few weeks now I’ve been thinking about what my recipe should be for the Two Year Anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging. Last year when the voting for favorite herb was tied to the recipe, there was no question I’d use cilantro and make My Favorite Herb Salad. But this year when everyone gets to vote in the poll to choose the favorite vegetable and favorite herb, the recipe didn’t have to be tied with my favorites, so I’ve been wondering what would be a vegetable recipe that really reflects Kalyn’s Kitchen.

The truth is, I love nearly every vegetable, and I especially like vegetables with herbs. But look around in the recipe archives, and you’ll notice that by far I have more recipes for salads than anything else on this blog. I’m not that big on sweets, but I’m a complete nut over salads. And when I tried this salad dressing with Kalamata olives, (which has been promoted to “I’ll make this for the rest of my life” status), there was no turning back. It’s appropriate that the recipe came from a special edition of Fine Cooking Magazine, since I’ve been raving about their recipes all this year too. This dressing has been good with every variation of salad greens and cheese I’ve tried so far. Keep reading and I’ll give you the original dressing recipe, some variations of the dressing and three different combinations for salads I’ve made.

The vegetable of course is lettuce, spinach, or arugula, depending on which salad strikes your fancy, but the herb I’m using is thyme. It’s so appropriate that thyme plays a secondary, but very important role in this salad dressing recipe because there are so many recipes where thyme adds a subtle, but important flavor component. There are many types of thyme, but in my garden I have silver thyme, and I even used some of last summer’s frozen thyme in this recipe. Thyme is a perennial, and it’s easy to grow. It’s also one of the few herbs where the dried kind comes close to having the flavor of the fresh or frozen type, so use dried thyme in this recipe if that’s all you have available.

Now, here are two more salad variations I made with this fabulous Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette, and then the recipe, with some dressing variations I’ve tried.

Spinach Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Parmesan

Romaine and Arugula Salad with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Parmesan

Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups, Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Magazine special edition on Side Dishes.)

1 small shallot coarsely chopped (or use 2 T chopped red onion)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or use 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil


In food processor or mini-processor use metal blade and chop shallot and thyme. Add olives, vinegar, and mustard and pulse until pureed. (There can still be some small pieces of olive.) With machine going, slowly add olive oil through tube and continue to process until dressing is well emulsified. This dressing will store in the refrigerator for a week or two, but you will need to let it come to room temperature each time you use it.

Variation #1:
For a slightly milder dressing, use white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. This is my personal favorite, although I like all the versions of this recipe.

Variation #2:
For a much milder dressing with just a hint of Kalamata olive flavor, mix dressing half and half with your favorite purchased vinaigrette. (I discovered this by accident when my dressing was almost gone and I needed a little more, but it’s quite delicious.)

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
All the salad variations mentioned here are perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

My Weekend Herb Blogging Posts with Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula or Thyme:
It’s Time for Thyme, Week #6
Spagetti with Italian Sausage and Arugula, Week #23
Asian Spinach Salad with Chicken, Mushrooms, Peppers, and Almonds, Week #27
Spinach and Sorrell Chopped Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans, Week #46
How to Freeze Fresh Rosemary and Thyme, Week #47
Kalyn’s Herb Blend, Week #63
Southwest Chicken Salad, Week #65
Arugula Salad with Marinated Artichokes and More, Week #71
Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic, Rosemary, and Thyme, Week #89
Roasted Baby Summer Squash with Feta and Thyme, Week #95
Garbanzo Salad with Olives and Herbs, Week #96

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19 comments on “Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette and Three Salad Variations”

  1. An excellent Mediterranean fall salad and I’ve got to try this vinaigrette…thanks!

  2. My friend loves kalamata olives. I will have to make this for her!

  3. Kalyn, did you rinse or boil the olives before using them in the dressing? I often boil, drain, boil, drain the olives to remove some of the brine. They still taste wonderful, but not quite as acidic.

  4. Peter, thanks. I think you will like it!

    Maria, it’s a keeper.

    Lydia, all I did was drain the olives in a colander, but you could rinse them or even boil them if you want a milder olive flavor. I love olives so it wasn’t too strong for me.

  5. I can see why this is in “for the rest of my life category” What I want to know is why it took so long to find me? I love kalamata (and every other olive, the stronger the better. Now if it were only spring… and I had spinach.

  6. Um . . . I know this will be super when you give it the “for the rest of my life category” award but what could be more Mediterranean and what would happen if you added some of the chopped preserved lemon to it . . . um . . . must try.

  7. Perfect Kalkyn! Just perfect. That is such a “Kalyn” dish. It makes my mouth water, thinking about the olive vinaigrette

  8. That is such an easy dressing! And since you mention that it’s pretty adaptable, I’m gonna try it with the green olives stuffed with garlic we get in Costco. Thanks!

  9. Kalyn, your salads are wonderful, you are the queen of salads, sweetie!

  10. I am a real salad nut..so could easily eat all 3 salads at once. Salads are easy on the hips and the vinaigrette dressing sounds excellent!

  11. The dressing sounds pretty tasty.

  12. Katie, I agree, it’s such a brilliant idea. (Trust Fine Cooking to have a couple of brilliant ideas in every magazine!)

    Tanna, yes! Preserved lemon would be great in this. (Truly someday I’ll make some, and also bread!)

    Sher, I was thinking this was a pretty Kalyn dish. Glad to hear it, that was my goal.

    Nabeela, love to hear how it works with the green olives. (I love those green olives too.)

    Patricia, thanks. I love being the queen of salads.

    Valli, my thoughts exactly.

    Kevin, thanks. Loved it!

  13. This looks similar to a fabulous salad I had in Tucson that came with feta, golden raisins, kalamata olives, sundried tomato, peppers and a honey-vinagrette dressing.

  14. Herbs, olive, fine cooking mag… I am in heaven:).

  15. This looks lovely and inviting and it certainly is one I’ll have to try!

  16. Just wanted to stop by and say congrats on your 2 year anniversary for weekend food blogging 🙂

  17. Kelly, that sounds like a salad I’d love!

    Janelle, me too. I love that magazine!

    Anna, I do hope you like it.

    Findingladolcevita, thanks for the good wishes!

  18. I was just about to settle down to some herb blogging but now I want to eat again. These salads look so sensuous, especially the romaine!

  19. I'm so craving for salad right now. This looks delicious!

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