Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Since it’s spring and everything is turning green (and yellow and pink), it’s time to take advantage and turn from heavy food to something lighter and fresher. Spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko hits all those buttons. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s a bit of a flavor bomb that will wake up your taste buds.

It’s got zesty garlic, and earthy fresh spinach, paired with tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a bit of crunch.

In fact, I shared it with some friends and one of them said, “Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”

I hate that the internet doesn’t include a “push here for spaghetti option”!

I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, but I changed it a bit.  First, it had anchovies. Nope! Nope!  Second, I swapped the original parsley for some spinach instead. One, I had lots of spinach. And two, I don’t like parsley all that much, so there’s no point in buying a whole bunch of it. The spinach I will use for other meals.

One more small thing. The recipe said to cut some of the olives in half and then chop up the rest. It may have said to chop up the capers too (the instructions were a bit unclear). I started to chop the olives and then decided it was silly, so I stopped.

It also occurred to me after I made it that I could prepare the pasta first, then keep it warm while I cooked the panko and mixed everything else together.  Just drain and wipe the saucepan, add the oil and panko, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. That way it’s only one pot!

I used ordinary green olives (because they were handy). I think I will try it next time with castelvetrano olives instead, since they are my favorite olive (and taste great with pasta).

Oh dear, I’m revising and internet commenting my own recipe! Ha!




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko Substitutions and Variations

  • like anchovies and parsley? Go for it!
  • use castelvetrano olives instead, they are firmer and more buttery
  • top the whole thing with some red pepper flakes
  • add more garlic
  • use the sauce over cooked fish (such as cod or tilapia)

More Spaghetti Recipes

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

A bit of basil, a handful of spinach, and some cream (or diluted plain Greek yogurt), and cooked pasta. You’ve got dinner (only two pots).  A healthy, green way to say hello to spring.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Fancy fresh pasta, or standard dried, this meal works either way. And it makes me smile every time.

 

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Nobody knows exactly how this dish got its name. But, the punchy capers, sweet tomatoes, and briny olives pack a lot of flavor into a few ingredients. It’s fast, and delicious too.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

Green, earthy, garlicky, and made with pistachios rather than the usual pine nuts (who can pay for those nowadays anyway?).  This recipe came from an unusual source: a book. And, it wasn’t a cookbook either.

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers Puttanesca

In a hurry for dinner?  Pasta is your friend.  This pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and capers (or pasta puttanesca) has a slightly racy name.  Nobody really knows why.  One theory says the dish was popular with the ladies of the evening because it was easy to cook and the ingredients were cheap.  Another says that the sauce’s aroma helped lure in customers.

Whatever the reason, it certainly is budget friendly and you can make it in about 20 minutes.

Whoever is responsible created a dish that’s packed with flavor.  There’s pungent little bits of garlic, slightly briny capers, and nutty Niçoise olives. 

Capers, in case you don’t know, are the buds of a Mediterranean plant that are picked and then pickled (try to say that three times fast).  I always thought Niçoise  olives were a variety, but I found out today that they’re really called Le Calletier.  Niçoise is just the method of curing them.

I adapted this recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. They suggested using whole canned tomatoes, and then squeezing them out and chopping them up.  That’s too messy for me. You can use crushed tomatoes, purée, or even tomato sauce in a pinch.

Traditionally, this recipe also includes anchovies.  However, I am a fish wimp. The strongest fish flavor I like is salmon.  Also, anchovies were $32 a pound.  Nope. Not happening. Nuh uh.

The other great thing about pasta puttanesca is that you can use canned tomatoes, jarred capers, dry pasta, and spices you probably already have sitting on your shelf.

Save the rest of the tomatoes for pasta alla norma.

The remaining capers will keep indefinitely in the fridge once opened.  They’re great with smoked salmon, lemon, and dill for a weekend brunch.




 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Sweet Ialian-style chicken sausage, crisp bell peppers, and meaty mushrooms, all swirled together. It’s a fast and easy dinner.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

A recipe inspired by a murder mystery (of all things). This is a twist on the usual pesto.  Because what would a mystery be without a twist?  No pine nuts and there’s broccoli instead of basil. The basil is just a garnish.

penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olivesPenne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Sweet tomatoes balanced by salty feta and tender pasta, combine for a delightful summer meal.  Drying the tomatoes intensifies their flavor.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A velvety smooth sauce, with just a hint of cream.  The smoky, salty salmon complements the sweet tomatoes.  Check your grocer for salmon ends.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce with Penne

Sweet butternut squash, savory/sweet roasted garlic, and creamy parmesan added just at the end. Feels far more indulgent than it actually is.

 




Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

The source of this recipe for chicken with olives and tomatoes will probably surprise you. It’s a North African recipe from a Jewish cookbook.  You probably think of lox and bagels and matzo balls when you think of Jewish cuisine, but it’s really far more varied than that. This is just one example.  My recipe for Moroccan chicken and bean soup was adapted from the same cookbook.

This recipe looks a bit complicated, but it really isn’t.  The flavors of the chicken, olives, garlic, and a bit of ginger make it rich and delicious (with a hint of spiciness).  It’s not a super quick meal though, so save it for when you have more time (or on a weekend).

Castelvetrano olives, by the way, are far different from the sad specimens you get in a can. They’re firm, bright green, sweet, and buttery, almost like a fruit.  I thought I hated olives, until I happened to try these (they were an amuse bouche at a restaurant).  The restaurant is now gone, but the olives are still here!  If you can’t find those, try cerignola olives. They are large, salty/sweet, bright green, and great for snacking or cooking.




Tools and Ingredients for Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes


Spanish Saffron

Soak a tiny pinch of this in hot water before you use it. Saffron adds a flavor that’s hard to describe, as well as beautiful reddish-yellow color. Use it for Moroccan dishes (like this one), or for Indian food.
Divina Castelvetrano Olives 10.2 oz jar

Divina Castelvetrano Olives 10.2 oz jar

Use the olives for this chicken dish, or the pasta recipe below.  They’re also great with an antipasto platter. Or, add some olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, and marinate them. Serve that with a cheese platter.

The Book of Jewish Food

This is part cookbook and part travel diary. The author includes brief histories of the communities that created the dishes, and how they adapted local cuisine to suit religious restrictions.

There’s recipes for the expected kugel, split pea soup, and chopped liver. But then it goes off to Spain, Baghdad, and India. From there you get leek meatballs, eggplant fritters, chicken with rice croquettes, borekas, lamb with raisins and almonds, and pumpkin kofta curry.

More Recipes with Olives or Chicken

penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olivesPenne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Easy and pantry-friendly too. Sun-drying intensifies and sweetens the tomatoes, which make a delicious contrast to the salty olives and cheese.

 

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSummer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

A delight in a bowl, with crispy golden-brown lemon panko, dill, and a burst of citrus. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s an ideal wake-me-up for your taste buds.

 

chili citrus chicken thighChili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Turn an ordinary piece of chicken into something special with a quick chili citrusy marinade tempered with honey.  Then let it sit, and bake.

 

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

You’ve heard of brining turkeys? This is a twist on that old favorite. Here, the brining is not with salt, but with feta cheese. The brine keeps the chicken moist and flavorful, and the whole thing only requires a few simple ingredients.




Penne with Feta Cheese Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

This penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives recipe is fairly hands-off, simple, and delicious. And, of course, it’s just one serving!

It also allowed me to make some progress using the enormous jar of sun-dried tomatoes that’s been in the back of my fridge forever! Add some pasta, a bit of feta cheese, olives, and a few leaves of fresh basil, and you get a tasty lunch with only a few minutes of real work. (I have a basil plant growing in my window, so that basil was really fresh).

The feta was leftover from making a feta and spinach omelette, so it also helps toward my goal of not wasting anything. I just hate having a couple of tablespoons of sauce, or a few random bits of fruit or vegetables turning into a science experiment.

Now, on to more tasty mental pictures.

Since the tomatoes are dried, you’ll have to start by heating them and softening them up a bit.  You can do this overnight (if you’re organized), or just start them a few minutes before you start boiling the water for the pasta.

Once the tomatoes are soaked and the pasta is cooked, the rest of the recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare.  Just cook the garlic, toss the remaining ingredients in the saucepan you used to cook the penne and heat them up with the pasta.

Since the entire meal only uses one pot, it’s also easy to clean up afterwards. I don’t have a dishwasher, so easy cleanup is good!




 

Substitutions and Variations for Penne with Feta Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Olives

  • add a handful of fresh spinach (maybe half a cup of torn leaves) at the end, after you drain the pasta; cooking it just a minute or two until it wilts
  • put in some leftover cooked chicken, this makes it more substantial and suitable for dinner
  • add some cooked mushrooms (if you have dried mushrooms, throw them in the hot water when you’re rehydrating the sun-dried tomatoes)

Ingredients and Tools for This Recipe

Roland Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The nice thing about sun-dried tomatoes is that they do last a long time (if you happen to have bought a giant jar because the price was great).  In addition to pasta, you can toss them on pizza, mix them in with eggs, add them to pesto, or put them in meatloaf.

 

Divina Castelvetrano Olives 10.2 oz jar
Divina Castelvetrano Olives 10.2 oz jar

My mom only eats black olives and my dad only likes green ones. I never really liked olives of any kind that much until I tried these. They were set out as a bar snack (of all things). They are bright green, mild, and don’t taste sour or briny like most olives do. They’re great with this pasta dish, and also marinated in olive oil with slivers of garlic and rosemary (which is how the bar served them). Delicious and great for a wine and cheese cocktail hour (either just for you or for company).

More Single Serving Feta Cheese Recipes

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Perfect for long, hot summer days, this recipe requires no actual cooking. Crisp, refreshing, salty, and sweet, all at once.

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

Easy enough for a weekend, fancy enough for company. The feta brine helps keep the chicken moist and adds flavor too.

 

summer pasta olives and fetaSummer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Sweet, juicy tomatoes, plus salty olives and feta, equals an easy summer meal. The feta cheese and olives are slightly salty, while the tomatoes add sweetness. Works either hot as dinner, or cool as a pasta salad.

 

spinach and feta cheese omeletteSpinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Spinach and feta pie flavors, with a lot less effort. Make this for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

 

 

 




Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

After a rather chilly spring, summer is suddenly here in full force. It’s hot, it’s sticky and I do not want to stand over a hot stove for one second longer than I have to. That means it’s time for salads, pasta, eggs, and other quick meals that require as little cooking time as possible.  So, with that in mind, today’s dish is a simple, but delicious summer pasta with green olives and feta cheese.

The feta cheese and olives are slightly salty, while the tomatoes add sweetness.  And really, fresh summery tomatoes (and strawberries) are the best!

I ate my pasta hot, because I was hungry and didn’t want to wait for it to cool, but I suspect it would work just as well as a cold pasta salad. It would probably be great for a picnic. Since there’s no mayonnaise it will travel well to a park or the beach.

It’s easy to make too. Just boil the water, cook the pasta, and chop up a few ingredients. Perfect when you don’t want to cook, but you still have to eat. And it’s a lot easier and cheaper than going out or ordering in to get something.

I kept it simple with just the olives and tomatoes, but you can change that if you want. Don’t fuss too much about measuring the vegetables. It’s hard to mess this up!

 




Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Substitutions and Variations

  • Add extra vegetables like spinach, bell pepper, or mushrooms
  • Try goat cheese instead of the feta (plain or herbed)
  • Use Boursin cheese instead of the feta

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers Puttanesca

Spicy sauce, briny olives, and sweet tomatoes, a classic combination that’s flavorful and ready quickly too.

 

quick and easy summer pastaQuick and Easy Summer Pasta

Summer in a bowl, with fresh veggies, tomatoes, and pasta. This works hot or cold too.

 

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

A dish packed with zesty garlic, earthy fresh spinach, tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a finishing touch.

Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

A fresh change from the usual tomato sauce, this dish has marinated artichokes, a generous helping of oregano, and red pepper flakes. Spicy, fresh, and delicious.