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.

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51 thoughts on “Garlic Marinated Broccoli with Olives and Red Pepper”

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  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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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…

      1. 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.

  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?

    1. Asparagus is good prepped this way, but it wouldn’t be as pretty. What if you tossed in cherry tomatoes right before serving?

    2. maybe sundried tomatoes? (& feta?) grated carrot & some red onion? I think the pop of color is part of the appeal…

      1. cool, I just got all the stuff to make & was just gonna add carots & red onion to the mix!

      2. 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.

  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!

  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.

    1. 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.

      1. what a great idea, plus you probably get an instant brown going.

  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!

  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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      2. I never go hungry, just eat as much meat & veg as I need to feel well fed (not “full”).

      3. 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.

  7. 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 🙂

  8. Where’s the meat?! This does look pretty good if you added a steak.

  9. Broccoli and Olives? I’m speechless…and slightly gagging…

  10. 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.

    1. on the grill whilst the salad is marinating…
      (btw, salad would be good with bacon crumbles or pancetta)

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. I made this with lightly steamed broccoli and added a chopped red onion. It was very good, the whole family liked it!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.