Amazingly delicious green olive pasta recipe! Easy yet luxurious vegetarian pasta with green olives, lemon, and breadcrumbs.
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Hello, Rhubarbarians! Are you ready for this amazing vegetarian pasta with green olives?
This pasta is briny, buttery, lemony, and fresh yet luxurious at the same time. I love making this for a weeknight pasta dish for the family!
I use my green olive pasta sauce for this but add butter, olives, shallots, lemon, and breadcrumbs to make a fabulously delicious pasta.
Why you'll love this
If you're a green olive lover and a pasta lover, this one is definitely for you! But, even if you are skeptical about green olives, I still think you will love this pasta.
Castelvetrano olives are full of mellow, buttery flavor that makes them perfect for pasta.
Green olive spaghetti is great for a family weeknight meal, but special enough for a delicious date night pasta. YES!
Vegetarian dinner recipes you'll love:
Ingredients and equipment
Here is everything you need to make perfect green olive pasta at home! Full ingredients are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this article
- Pasta. I like spaghetti noodles.
- Water. For cooking the pasta.
- Pitted, unstuffed green olives along with the brine. I recommend castelvetrano.
- Fresh herbs. parsley, dill, and basil.
- Olive oil
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Lemon zest
- Salt and black pepper
- Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- Large pot for cooking the pasta
- Stove top or cook top
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Food processor or blender
- Large non-stick skillet
- Stirring utensil. Spoonula
- Microplaner or zester
- Tongs or noodle spoon
Step by step instructions
Here's a visual step by step guide to making pasta with green olives at home. Full instructions with ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this article
- First, cook your pasta according to package directions.
- Before straining, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
- Set aside.
- Reserve 6 Tablespoons of the olive brine from your cans or jars.
- Set aside.
- Halve one cup of the olives.
- Set aside.
- Make your green olive pasta sauce by combining the 2 cups of whole olives, olive brine, herbs, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper each.
- Process until smooth.
- Set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until they are lightly browned and fragrant.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Place that same skillet back on the burner and reduce the heat to medium low.
- Melt the butter in the pan.
- Add the shallot and the 1 cup of halved olives.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot has browned.
- Add the lemon zest and cook until fragrant, only about 30 seconds.
- Add your green olive sauce along with the reserved pasta liquid.
- Stir together.
- Add your cooked noodles to the pan.
- Toss everything together in the pan until the pasta is well coated and warmed through.
- Taste the pasta and season to your liking with salt and pepper.
- Serve the pasta topped with the toasted breadcrumbs and shaved or grated parmesan cheese.
I love this pasta because it can be made as a meatless weeknight meal or made as a special date night dinner. It's versatile enough for both!
To make this for a weeknight meal, I recommend making the green olive sauce and toasting the breadcrumbs ahead of time to make your busy night a little easier. Serve with something simple like a side salad!
To make this for a date night meal, I recommend serving a fun appetizer like classic bruschetta beforehand. Then, try a roasted vegetable alongside your pasta with a bottle of your favorite wine to share.
Recipes to serve with green olive pasta:
- Sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and lemon
- Olive rosemary focaccia bread
- Golden beet salad with arugula and goat cheese
Recipe tips and substitutions
- If you can't find castelvetrano olives, go ahead and swap for your favorite pitted and unstuffed green olive. Or try kalamata olives!
- Make sure that the olives are unstuffed and pitted.
- Keep the heat to medium low when cooking the olives and shallot in the butter so it doesn't burn.
- Try adding toasted pine nuts or walnuts to the breadcrumb mixture!
- I like spaghetti noodles for olive pasta, but any pasta you choose will work.
- Add a protein of your choice to make it more filling!
Storing and freezing
Storing: store any leftover pasta in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat the pasta in the microwave or on the stove top until heated through. Adding a little olive oil to the pasta will keep it from being dry when reheating.
Freezing: I don't recommend freezing this as a completed dish. You can freeze the green olive pasta sauce on it's own and add it to freshly cooked pasta.
Pro tip: To make busy weeknights easier, make the olive sauce and toast the breadcrumbs ahead of time!
Castelvetrano olives are available at most grocery stores along with the other jarred and canned olives. I mostly see Mezzetta brand.
Swap the butter for vegan butter or olive oil. Omit the parmesan cheese or use vegan parmesan.
Swap the pasta for your favorite gluten free pasta and the breadcrumbs for gluten free breadcrumbs. Or try toasting finely chopped walnuts or pine nuts instead!
More vegetarian pasta recipes to try:
Did you make this recipe? Leave us a review and star rating in the comments below! We read every single review and appreciate your feedback.
Green olive pasta with lemon and breadcrumbs
- 16 ounces dry pasta noodles (I like spaghetti noodles)
- 3 cups pitted whole castelvetrano olives with brine, divided
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2-3 medium garlic cloves
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- salt and pepper
- parmesan cheese for serving
- Cook the pasta noodles according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before straining. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, reserve 6 Tablespoons of the green olive brine. Halve one cup of the olives.
- While the pasta is still cooking, make your green olive sauce. Combine the 2 cups of whole olives, olive brine, parsley, dill, basil, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth like a pesto. Set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet, toast your breadcrumbs. Heat the breadcrumbs in the skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Place the skillet back on your burner and reduce the heat to medium low. Melt the butter in the pan and then add the shallot and the 1 cup of halved green olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot has browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon zest and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the green olive sauce along with the reserved pasta water to the pan. Stir together, then toss in the cooked pasta noodles and heat until warmed through.
- Taste the pasta and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Serve the pasta topped with toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
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