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Olives are ideal for a low carb diet

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Lovely low carb olives

The small, tasty, round fruits of the olive tree are amazing in their variety, uses and health benefits. Here's a roundup of the most popular kinds and their uses in a low carb diet.

Low carb recipes for the holidays and beyond

With their rich green to reddish coloring and versatile flavor, olives make any day feel like a holiday. Here are a few ways to use them at your next gathering.

Provencal Olive Bowl Appetizer

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup Picholine olives
1/2 cup Nicoise olives
1/2 cup black olives

Directions:
Combine olive oil and herbs. Add olives and let sit for at least one hour. Serve in large festive bowl, along with decorative toothpicks for guests' use.

Olivocado Dip

Makes about 3-1/2 cups

Ingredients:
3 mashed avocados
4 ounces sliced black olives
4 ounces medium jalapeno peppers
6 chopped green onions
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons basil

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve with vegetables for dipping.

Chicken, Sausage and Olives

Serves 6

Ingredients:
4 sweet or hot Italian sausages
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 boneless chicken breasts, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 green pepper, sliced in strips
1 red pepper, sliced in strips
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 onion, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
Black pepper and salt to taste

Directions:
Cook sausages in heavy skillet. Remove from heat and cut into 1-inch chunks. In separate pan, saute garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt; add to pan with garlic oil and brown for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and keep warm. Add wine to pan, scraping up remaining bits. Heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, onion, spices, salt and olives. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serves six.

Christmas Eve Calamari

Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds prepared squid
2 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups canned tomatoes
1/2 cup water
12 black olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons pignolas (pine nuts)
Salt and pepper to taste
low carb bread, toasted

Directions:
Cut squid into small pieces and rinse. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until golden. Add squid, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add olives, raisins and pine nuts. Cover and simmer 10 minutes until squid is tender. Place one slice of low carb bread into each of six bowls. Spoon mixture over bread and serve.

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