Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Jul

Garlic Marinated Broccoli with Olives and Red Pepper

Nutritionally it’s sound (it made Mark’s “Top 10 Foods I Couldn’t Live Without” list) but broccoli can be pretty one-dimensional on the plate. The intense crunchiness of this cruciferous is why we love it so much, but some days, we wish there was a little more complex flavor along with that crunch. That’s why we’ve taken to dousing it with vinegar and garlic-infused oil, which not only ups the flavor a notch but also gently marinates and softens the broccoli a bit. The vinegar gives the broccoli a tangy, fresh flavor and a bright, bold green hue while the olive oil is being soaked up by each floret like a sponge, giving the broccoli more richness. Red pepper adds color and kalamata olives bring salty acidity to each bite.  This is raw broccoli, but with a little attitude.

Adding the spicy kick of garlic is our favorite part, and varies in intensity depending on our mood. Some days, two cloves seems like enough and other days we toss in an amount so obscene that it guarantees we’ll be breathing fire. If you want to make things even more interesting, toss in a handful of red pepper flakes or diced hot pepper, too.

And when you’re cutting that head of broccoli up into smaller florets, don’t forget about the thick stems. Trim the outer layer of tough peel and what lies beneath is a tender, juicy, entirely edible and delicious inner core.


  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 or more garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cups pitted kalamata olives


In a bowl, sprinkle the vinegar and salt over the broccoli and red pepper and use your hands to toss the vegetables.

In a skillet, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and saute no more than one minute, until the garlic is fragrant and only slightly browned. Pour over the broccoli and red pepper. Add kalamatas. Use your hands to massage the oil into the broccoli. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature then either serve immediately, or chill and then serve.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. “Trim the outer layer of tough peel and what lies beneath is a tender, juicy, entirely edible and delicious inner core.”

    NOOOOOOOO! Eat the whole thing!

    Primal Toad wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • Oh and this looks awesome. I have all ingredients except red wine vinegar… damnit. I am going to have to buy some – I love it for salad dressings.

      Broccoli, olives and red bell pepper are staple foods here!

      Primal Toad wrote on July 23rd, 2011
      • Olives AND olive oil! 😀 How can you lose?

        Jade wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • Well, my corgi will fight you for the stalks. He sits & waits in the kitchen for his share. You’d think he was getting a nice big raw bone. He’ll waddle off to the other room with his prize to shread it into bits & then eat them :)
      Got my CSA box yesterday with broc in it. Off to get olives…

      peggy wrote on July 23rd, 2011
      • That’s so funny! My little chihuahua/papillon LOVES the apple core from the apple I add to my morning smoothie. She waits for the sound of the knife on the cutting board, and Whoosh! she’s sitting at my feet patiently waiting.

        Lauren wrote on August 21st, 2011
  2. Looks great, except I totally dislike peppers. It’s a total curse since they are so good for you and they are in everything…..great recipe to share with my weight loss clients though, thanks.

    Anyone have any ideas what I could substitute for peppers?

    Primal Recipe wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • Asparagus is good prepped this way, but it wouldn’t be as pretty. What if you tossed in cherry tomatoes right before serving?

      Anne wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • maybe sundried tomatoes? (& feta?) grated carrot & some red onion? I think the pop of color is part of the appeal…

      peggy wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • julienned carrots. i added some to mine WITH the peppers.

      Rachel wrote on July 23rd, 2011
      • cool, I just got all the stuff to make & was just gonna add carots & red onion to the mix!

        peggy wrote on July 25th, 2011
      • ok I did like you by adding julienned carrots & I also added red onion. YUM! gonna be my lunch today alongside of some bison strip steak.

        peggy wrote on July 26th, 2011
    • I put in sun dried tomatoes and chick peas…

      Matt wrote on August 2nd, 2011
  3. And I’ve been steaming my broccoli on the stove in this heat!

    This looks so good, and perfect for the hot weather we’ve been having. We’ll have this tonight!

    Anne wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  4. Another quick way to get flavor out of broccoli is to toss it with olive oil and roast it until it starts to brown at a high temp, say 450 F. Then squeeze some lemon juice on it and salt it.

    Ella wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • Totally agree with the oven roasting. We preheat the oven, put our sheet pan in the oven (to preheat), and meanwhile toss broccoli with a ton of garlic and olive oil (and olives if we’re feeling it!). The cool thing is that by preheating the sheet pan you are then gifted with the immediate smell of garlic once you place on the sheet pan.

      Paleo Comfort Foods wrote on July 24th, 2011
      • what a great idea, plus you probably get an instant brown going.

        bayvu15 wrote on June 20th, 2016
  5. This looks really great and so simple! Thanks! I actually have never thought to marinate the broccoli!!! Will try this soon!!

    Happy Weekend Everyone!

    The Real Food Mama wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  6. Since going primal 7 weeks ago, I am rarely “hungry,” don’t have cravings, and really just view food as fuel, which takes the focus off it. Most of my meals are prepared in minutes and eaten standing up. Just get it in and down. (This coming from someone who loves to cook and eat).

    Having said that, this does look good.

    One thing I’ve started doing which has removed some monotony is to lightly some slices of beef (London Broil/Top Round) and add a variety of veggies: red/green pepper, a sliced tomato, some broccoli, sliced zucchini, a handful of spinach…whatever, really. Sautee just till softened a bit, then top with some grated parmesan.

    Kind of like a BAS but with a flavorful “cooked” element to it, and the flavors are amazing.

    242 to 218 in 7 weeks primal…18 left to go (and adding muscle). All with “less” cardio. Amazing!

    Peter wrote on July 23rd, 2011
    • I wish I could say I am not hungry – but I am all the time. I am on the 30 day challenge at day 22 or so, and am constantly hungry – so are my daughters who are 1 and 3 years old. I must be doing something wrong. I am fighting autoimmune problems so am going without fruit, nuts, nightshades, eggs, etc. and focusing only on meat and veggies to beat this. I am 5’6″ 110 lbs. Here is a sample menu from today – some advice would be great.

      Breakfast – tuna fish, onion, cucumbers, olive oil in lettuce wraps

      lunch – 1/4 lb turkey burger in lettuce wrap with onion, 1/4 lb hamburger in lettuce wrap with onion, big green salad with olive oil dressing and zucchini

      dinner – zucchini sauteed in olive oil w/onion, 1/2 carrot cut up with onion in homemade chicken stock, spaghetti squash with herbs and olive oil, 6 asparagus spears, 3.5 oz hallibut.

      Any thoughts on what to add/change to make us all less hungry all the time and give us more energy? Is avocado acceptable on the whole30 even though autoimmune problems and no fruit?

      Thank you!

      Jill wrote on July 23rd, 2011
      • Jill, it seems you should eat more fat. Can you eat coconut oil? And maybe double the serving sizes – if you cant eat it at one sitting, then have another meal when you get hungry again.
        For your children, up the protein and fat, for sure, and focus less on veggies, maybe? Good luck.

        Hopeless Dreamer wrote on July 23rd, 2011
        • Thanks – I was thinking I need to up the fat just not sure how… Can’t have coconut is the problem. I guess I am worried we aren’t getting enough carbs too.

          Jill wrote on July 23rd, 2011
        • I wouldn’t worry about getting “enough” carbs. Your body makes enough so long as you feed it enough good protein. Up the fat. Use fattier meats & add olive oil since you can’t do coconut. Can you tolerate dairy fat? Ditch the ground turkey for ground chuck. Don’t skim the fat off your homemade stock, etc.

          Jenn wrote on July 25th, 2011
      • I never go hungry, just eat as much meat & veg as I need to feel well fed (not “full”).

        Alvaro Coronel wrote on July 28th, 2011
      • I don’t know if YOU can’t have coconut oil, but you certainly can on the Whole30. And you can have fruit.

        It’s hard to tell what you’re avoiding because of your illness & your misunderstanding of the diet. Altho I have to say, I’m doing the Whole30 right now, and I am hungry a lot too, but mainly because I’m at work, and didn’t bring the right things with me to eat. Almonds & pistachios are a great snack to keep me going.

        bayvu15 wrote on June 20th, 2016
  7. yummy! …but we need to add 6 cloves of garlic.

    Dasbutch wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  8. Uh oh. Primal vegan recipe?! 😉

    Adam wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  9. Lurker from ireland posting for the first time. Had this tonight with some Dover sole. Utterly delicious. We don’t like olives unfortunately so added avocado. Next time I’m going to add more garlic and add the avocado at the end rather than pre-marinade. Love this, and usually avoid raw broccoli salads as I find them generally bitter. Very moreish. Anyone know how it does stored in the fridge for a day or two with the dressing on? Can’t test this time as we left nothing in the bowl :)

    Liz wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  10. Where’s the meat?! This does look pretty good if you added a steak.

    Warwick wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  11. Broccoli and Olives? I’m speechless…and slightly gagging…

    Primal Palate wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  12. Try that today!

    Richard wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  13. I’m making this tonight to accompany some braised, grass-fed short ribs.

    I started off just making the short ribs, but then decided I wanted something “bright” to go with it and I had broccoli and a red pepper in the fridge. So I grabbed some olives and now I’m good to go.

    Primal Traveler wrote on July 24th, 2011
  14. I second the thought….”Where’s the Beef”

    Thrive Lancaster wrote on July 25th, 2011
    • on the grill whilst the salad is marinating…
      (btw, salad would be good with bacon crumbles or pancetta)

      peggy wrote on July 25th, 2011
  15. I did this salad lastnight, it was yummy, but I modified it a little bit:

    Tesen wrote on July 26th, 2011
  16. I modified this a tad:

    – Used 7 cloves of garlic
    – Microplaned them instead of chopping them.

    Yes, I love garlic. This is a wonderful ‘salad’ recipe for a hot day, after making it in the AM and then letting it get familiar in the fridge all day.

    You should put at the end of this recipe: Just Add Steak!

    Kristina wrote on July 26th, 2011
  17. This looks good enough to eat. What I love about a good paleo diet, is the wide range of beautiful vegetable dishes. This is one of them and I am going to try it.

    Blanche wrote on July 26th, 2011
  18. This dish was excellent and it would be so easy to make for a potluck or family gathering given the “marinating” time. However, by the next day it was a bit too soggy for my liking so it was definitely best eaten within a few hours I think.

    Dawn wrote on July 28th, 2011
  19. I made this with lightly steamed broccoli and added a chopped red onion. It was very good, the whole family liked it!

    Reader wrote on July 29th, 2011
  20. This salad was great. I’m always looking for interesting salad recipes that are something besides lettuce. And it keeps very well. Had the last of it today for lunch two days after I made it.

    Island Girl wrote on July 29th, 2011
  21. Looks fantastic to me!! Im going to hit the shop and get the supplies to try this one!
    thanks 😀

    Michael wrote on September 5th, 2011
  22. Wow…this looks like a nice change to the way I make my broccoli now. Similar, but different.

    I currently steam my broccoli, then add olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. Tastes great. Even my young children eat up their broccoli, without any fuss.

    Natasha wrote on January 14th, 2012

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!