Zeytoon Parvardeh is our favourite easy marinated Persian olives recipe.
The traditional side dish from Iran features plump green olives that are soaked in ground walnut paste, mint, tangy pomegranate molasses, minced garlic and topped with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Marinated Persian olives will be your new favourite finger food recipe to serve at dinner parties. It’s a healthy appetizer that is gluten free as well as vegetarian and vegan friendly.
We love serving Zeytoon Parvardeh year round but especially during the holidays thanks to the dishes red and green colour, which is wonderfully festive.
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What Is Zeytoon Parvardeh?
Marinated olives Persian style!
Zeytoon Parvardeh is a popular appetizer from Iran featuring large green olives that marinate in a mixture of ground walnuts, minced garlic, dried or fresh mint, pomegranate molasses and fresh pomegranate seeds.
Persian cooks love making this dish a few days ahead to allow the olives to soak up the flavours of the marinade. Once you bite into these Persian olives you’ll see how they burst with incredible flavour!
Traditional Zeytoon Parvardeh originate from Northern Iran, especially the Guilan province near the Caspian Sea. They’re usually made with chuchagh, a local herb that’s indigenous to the region. In Canada and America a close cousin is mint, which you can easily substitute.
This healthy Iranian side dish offers a perfect harmony of sweet, sour and fruity. Juicy pomegranate seeds glitter over massive olives that are mixed with a delicious sauce that is both nutty and herbaceous.
Travel to the Middle East by Making Persian Olives at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over a decade, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Persian Olives recipe via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East feature pretty bowls of Zeytoon Parvardeh plump marinated Persian olives.
I ate marinated Persian Olives with flatbread at a traditional Moroccan riad, as a side dish with Turkish kebab in Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by kofta on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night vegetarian snack in Amman, mid-afternoon bite at bustling markets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and a massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
Where To Eat Authentic Zeytoon Parvardeh
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Middle Eastern or Persian restaurant that serves authentic Zeytoon Parvardeh.
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East or Iran before? It may be helpful to first sample Persian Olives at a local restaurant to better understand how the appetizer is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired size of olives and the amount of marinade to leave in the bowl when serving guests. You’ll also find inspiration on what to pair with marinated olives such as such as fresh salads, flatbread, tahdig and kuku sabzi.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern & Persian restaurants that may serve a healthy vegetarian and vegan Zeytoon Parvardeh recipe include Ali Baba’s, Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen, Paramount Fine Foods, Banu and Darvish.
Persian Olives Health Benefits
Our homemade Zeytoon Parvardeh recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Olives are ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Fresh mint is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can have a calming effect on the digestive system. It is also a good source of folate, which supports blood health.
Walnuts offer heart-friendly fats, immune-boosting copper, and manganese, which helps keep your brain and nerves healthy.
Pomegranate has anti-oxidant, and anti-viral properties and is said to be a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as folic acid.
Zeytoon Parvardeh Recipe Tips
These healthy Persian Olives are quick and easy to make at home.
- We suggest using a food processor to easily blend the walnuts into a fine paste.
- This recipe calls for large green olives. We’ve used olives with pits inside as they hold their structure longer when marinated. You can also use pitted green olives if that’s what you prefer.
- Traditional recipes feature ground walnuts but you could also roughly chop walnuts for a different consistency. You could also try substituting walnuts for pecans.
- The longer you leave the olives marinating in the fridge the tastier they get. If you are hosting a dinner party we suggest preparing the recipe at least 3 days in advance for maximum flavour.
- If you are a fan of garlic feel free to add up to 5 minced garlic cloves.
- To add additional olive flavour add a few glugs of your favourite premium extra virgin olive oil.
- We’ve used dried mint but you could substitute for fresh mint.
- To jazz up the dish with a burst of citrus flavour feel free to add a few slices of finely minced lemon or orange rind.
What To Serve with Zeytoon Parvardeh
We love Zeytoon Parvardeh so much that it’s our go-to preparation method when craving marinated olives. We always have a tub marinating in the fridge to enjoy as a snack or light lunch with soups, salads and sandwiches.
If you’re hosting a large Middle Eastern or Persian-themed dinner party we suggest serving marinated Persian olives as a finger food at cocktail hour before sitting down for a feast. We also love serving a bowl of these Persian Olives to accompany a cheese and charcuterie board.
We love serving these Persian Olives with Baked Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, Chicken Cracklings, Adas Bil Hamod, Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad with Beetroot, Roasted Vegetable Couscous and Shish Barak.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.
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Best Zeytoon Parvardeh Persian Olives Recipe
Zeytoon Parvardeh Persian Olives
- mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 1 cup Pitted Green Olives
- 1/2 cup Walnuts ground into a paste
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate Molasses
- 1 1/2 tsp Dried Mint
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
- Place olives in a bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the pomegranate seeds. Stir well to combine.
- Cover and marinate in the fridge for 1-3 days. The flavours improve the longer they marinate.
- Bring marinated olives to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.
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