Easy Pepper & Olive Pasta Toss

July 5, 2012

I absolutely love olives ... and this super-easy Pepper & Olive Pasta Toss is one of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy them.  In fact, it's one of my go-to meals when I want something quick and easy, and totally flavorful.  (And it's totally colorful, too!)  Seriously, if you can chop and boil water, you can make this dish.

So when I was given the opportunity to help get the word out about Penna Gourmet Food's olives, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the olive dish I was going to make.
Penna Gourmet Foods is a grower, packer and processor of gourmet olives.  They offer both ready-to-eat olives and fresh olives to cure at home for people who enjoy the art of home processing and canning ... weather permitting, their fresh olives are available for order around the middle of September.  Click the link if you'd like to check 'em out:
Fresh and gourmet cured olives, gift baskets, olive oil and more.

Okay ... so, having grown up in Vermont and now living in North Carolina, I had never seen olives growing until my Mom and I took a trip to Northern California wine country.  While roaming out-and-about visiting Sonoma wineries, we drove by acres upon acres of olive trees growing ... just like you'd see peach or apple trees growing in orchards here in the southeast.  We'd never seen olives growing, and we were in awe!

Well ... being the 'curious'-type that we are, we decided to pull the car over and grab a few olives to try help the fine olive growers out by giving their product a taste test. So out of the car my Mom scurried to reach up and pick two olives for us to sample. 

Well, did you know that olives have to be curred before you eat them?

We didn't.

But now  we sure do.

We learned the hard way. 

Well, I guess actually, my Mom learned the hard way.

See, when she got in the car she handed me my olive ... but I proceeded to drop it on the floor.  In the five seconds or so I was fumbling around the floorboard trying to find my olive, my Mom popped hers in her mouth.  Those precious five seconds of fumbling saved me ... saved me from a horrible olive experience.

Though I can't say from personal experience ... since the sound coming out of my Mom's mouth caused me to not  pop my olive in my mouth ... apparently, uncurred olives straight off the tree taste awful.  As for what exactly they taste like? ... You'll have to ask my Mom.

So, the moral of the story is ... eat your olives curred by a professional.  Or, follow the fine folks' at Penna Gourmet Foods recipes for curing your own.  Let's just trust my Mom on that, okay?

And back to one of the best ways to enjoy {curred} olives ... this Pepper & Olive Pasta Toss.  Now, remember I said that if you can chop and boil water, you can make this dish?  I'm totally serious.  The only thing you have to cook to make this is the pasta.

To get started, you first go ahead and get your salted water going for cooking your pasta.  Cook the pasta as directed on the package, and while that's cooking ... cut some sweet bell peppers in strips and place them in the bottom of the colander you'll use to drain your cooked pasta.

Yes, you read that right.  Place the pepper strips in your colander, like this:

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it right over the peppers in your colander ... like this:

The boiling water from cooking the pasta will 'cook' the peppers just a little bit ... basically blanching them so they soften a teeny bit, but keep some crispness and their vibrant color.  That's all the cooking required for this dish.  Seriously.

The rest of the prep is simple chopping.

Toss the pasta and peppers with some sliced olives, halved grape tomatoes, a bunch of chopped fresh parsley, feta cheese crumbles, and some extra virgin olive oil.

And there you have super colorful, super flavorful, and super easy Pepper & Olive Pasta Toss!  With really yummy cured olives.

Bell Pepper & Olive Pasta Toss
Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light magazine
(Printable recipe)
About 10 oz. penne or other pasta
2 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
1 1/4 c. halved grape or cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
3/4 c. sliced olives (green Manzanilla, kalamata, or a mix)
About 3/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 (4 oz.) package feta cheese crumbles with basil & sun dried tomatoes
About 3 T. extra virgin olive oil

1.  Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.

2.  Cut bell peppers into thin strips.  Place the pepper strips in a colander; drain the pasta over the pepper to just cook it slightly with the pasta water.

3.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently.  Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired.


Disclaimer:  This sponsorship is brought to you by Penna Gourmet Foods who we have partnered with for this promotion.


  1. This looks delicious! I love any sort of pasta salads that don't use mayonnaise! Thanks for the post!

  2. This recipe looks great! I'm new to your site-just became a follower and love it! I'd love if you would check out my site as well and become a follower :)


  3. I am so glad that I saw this on the six Sisters blog hop. I am looking forward to trying this out.

  4. Sounds like something I'd love! Got a chuckle out of your olive story:@)

  5. This is beautiful... so colorful! Sounds like your mom took one for the team! What a cute story!
    Thank you so much for joining ON THE MENU MONDAY with this delicious recipe and cute story!

  6. Hopping on over from Foodie Friday. Your pasta salad is gorgeous!! I would have never, ever, ever in a million years, thought about upcycling the pasta water to cook the peppers - brilliant technique and I can't wait to try it.... and um, this recipe will be gone about 5 minutes after I take my own picture. Pinning this now.

    Also, I'd like to introduce myself; I'm Erin, used to blog at EKat's Kitchen, but just launched my brand new blog - SalmonAtSeven.com and am celebrating with a launch giveaway. I'd love if you stopped by.

    I also love that you gave me the opportunity to use the word "upcycling."

  7. This dish includes my favorite items. Great summer salad idea; Thanks!

  8. Gorgeous photos! The colors are so vibrant.

  9. Hi Tracey,
    This is a great salad, just perfect for a refreshing summertime evening. Hope you are having a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  10. Saw this on Gooseberry Patch and wanted to stop by and let you know how light and delicious it looks! I've bookmarked. Love that it's adapted from cooking light!


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