The 7 Best Castelvetrano Olive Substitutes

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Castelvetrano olives are a strikingly unique tasting olive that is very mild and sweet. They are one of the most popular olives for snacking and charcuterie. But are there any Castelvetrano olive substitutes that accurately match this special olive?

What are Castelvetrano Olives?

Cestelvetrano olives are a type of green olive from Sicily. They are known for their fresh and sweet flavor and bright green color. They have a PDO or Protected Designation of Origin distinction, so they can only be from the Valle del Belice region of southwestern Sicily. These olives are also sometimes called “Nocellara del Belice.”

What makes Castelvetrano olives unique is that they are not fermented when they are cured, but only soaked in fresh water and lye for a two week period. This process makes them have a very fresh and buttery taste.

Best Castelvetrano Olive Substitutes

These substitutes are similar olive varieties to Castelvetrano olives, but truth be told, Castelvetrano olives are pretty unique. Because of their unique processing and PDO designation, they can’t really be copied. The following olives do share some similarities with Castelvetrano olives, though.

Manzanilla Olives

Manzanilla olives are typically available in every grocery store, either canned or in an olive/salad bar. Sometimes called simply “Spanish Olives,” these large olives are meaty and large and are often stuffed. Though they don’t have as delicate or sweet of a taste as Castelvetrano olives, they are a decent substitute when you cannot locate Castelvetrano olives near you.

Frescatrano Olives

The Frescatrano olive is not really a unique kind of olive, it’s just an uncured Greek Halkidiki olive sold exclusively by Divina. These refridgerated olives are cured without fermentation, so the olive tastes fresh, sweet, and buttery. This is a very similar olive to the Catselvetrano, though Frescatrano may not be the easiest to find.

Picholine Olives

These small, crisp green olives originally from France make a great Castelvetrano olive substitute. They have a very similar taste, but they are smaller. This olive is best known as the kind of olive that goes in martinis, but Picholine olives can also be found on a charcuterie board.

Cerignola Olives

Cerignola olives come in black, green and even red, and are very buttery and mild. They have the size and firm meaty-ness as Castelvetrano olives.

Gordal Olives

The name “gordal” means “the fat one” because of how large these olives are. They have a meaty taste and are similar to Manzanilla olives. Again, they don’t have as sweet of a taste as Castelvetrano olives, but they make a decent substitute.

Liguria Olives

These tiny olives, also called Taggiasca olives, vary in color, as they are picked just as they are ripening. They have a sweet but nutty flavor, and firm. These olives are fruity enough to be a good Castelvetrano substitute.


Though not olives at all, capers can make a good olive (of all varieties) substitute, as they are a brined product that give a salty and savory flavor that olives usually have.

Are Castelvetrano olives healthy?

Castelvetrano olives are composed mostly of carbs, fiber, and fat. They have no sugar or protein (Source). They are also rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.

What are Castelvetrano olives good for?

Due to the high antioxidant content of all olives, the health benefits of olives include good memory and cognition. Olives are also a great addition to any charcuterie board and make a healthy snack. Castelvetrano olives are especially easy to eat on their own, as they have a mild, sweet flavor, and are not as bitter or pungent as other olives.

Are Castelvetrano olives the same as Sicilian olives?

Yes, they are sometimes referred to as Silician olives. Castelvetrano olives are also sometimes called “Nocellara de Belice.”

Are olives used in pizza?

Black olives are usually used as a pizza topping, but any pitted olive will work.

Which is healthier: green olives or black olives?

Green and black olives are nearly identical in nutritional content because they are the same olives, just the green ones aren’t ripe. Some nutritional differences, like the sodium content, may arise due to processing (green olives get soaked in a salty brine).

Why are Castelvetrano olives so green?

Castelvetrano olives are actually supposed to be green when ripe, unlike other varieties of olives that turn black when ripe and are just picked when green.

How do I cook Castelvetrano olives?

You probably will want to pit the olives before heating them. Do so by placing them on a cutting board, cutting a slit on the side of each olive, and then gently pressing down on them with the side of a knife. Be careful: you don’t want to mash the olives but just coax out the pit. Once pitted, you can place them in a skillet or warmed oven with lemon zest, chopped garlic, fresh thyme, and extra virgin olive oil. Cook until just warmed through.

How do you eat Castelvetrano olives?

Castelvetrano olives can be eaten plain, warmed, marinated, cooked, seasoned and more. Castelvetrano olives are so flavorful on their own that they don’t need much, but they taste great marinated with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and thyme.

Do olives need to be refrigerated?

Yes, olives should be stored in the fridge, otherwise they will spoil, even if they are cured in brine.

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