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Castelvetrano Olives Substitute

Like most olives, the Castelvetrano olives are traditionally used to make olive oil. Still, they have gradually found their way to dinner tables as table olives, and this is because of their unique taste.The ubiquitous creamy olives are suitable as a garnishment for martinis or can be served alongside feta and bread for a yummy appetizer. But if you can’t get your hands on Castelvetrano olives, or maybe you stumble on some dyed version of the snack, don’t consider buying them; some dye-free natural alternatives can be easily swapped for the real thing.

What are Castelvetrano Olives?

Castelvetrano olives or Nocellara del Belice is a popular variety of olives from Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy. It has a bright green appearance and a meaty but crispy texture, and it is also buttery with a subtle salty and sweet flavor.

It is cultivated for olive oil and the table, making it a dual-purpose olive. It is harvested by hand during the fall. To retain maximum quality, it is processed and stored immediately after being harvested.

It originated in the southwest of Sicily, Italy, but it is also cultivated in Pakistan, South Africa, and India.

Uses of Castelvetrano Olives in Recipes

Castelvetrano olives can be used in a wide range of recipes; they can also be eaten as a snack. Unlike other olives, Castelvetrano olives are milder and sweeter, plus they are not mushy like other olives. Pitted Castelvetrano olives carry a richer flavor, and the meaty and crispy texture makes it ideal to be used as a garnishment for dishes like martinis.

Castelvetrano olives can last for some weeks when opened to be used multiple times. If unopened, the shelf life of these olives can be as long as two years.

Here are some recipes that include Castelvetrano olives;

  • Roasted Castelvetrano olives and Greek salad
  • Castelvetrano olives Tapenade
  • Castelvetrano olive pasta with toasted lemon breadcrumbs
  • Castelvetrano olive tomato sauce
  • Fried stuffed Castelvetrano olives
  • Meyer lemon chicken with baby potatoes and Castelvetrano olives
  • Marinated Castelvetrano olives
  • Watermelon, orange, and cucumber salad with Castelvetrano olives vinaigrette
  • Castelvetrano olive and orange shortbread
  • Bean salad with Castelvetrano olives and herb
  • Castelvetrano olive, lemon and parmesan Capellini
  • Fresh linguine and roasted fennel with lemon ricotta Salata, Castelvetrano olives, and breadcrumbs
  • Castelvetrano olive, tomato, and noodle salad
  • Castelvetrano olives with Orange zest
  • Roasted Castelvetrano olives and plum tomatoes

Substitute for Castelvetrano Olives

The Nocellara del Belice is a staple in Italy. It’s is also very popular outside Italy, and it is sought for in the USA. There have been various imitations of the buttery olive, and many go as far as applying dye in the curing process to achieve that bright green hue. But, of course, this doesn’t affect the taste of the olives, but be sure to search for an all-natural olive when shopping. Many people have also been looking for a natural substitute for the Castelvetrano olives because you never know when you may run out.

I’ve listed a few suitable substitutes for the Castelvetrano Olive.

Picholine Olives

Picholine Olives


The picholine olives originated from France, where it is widely available and is currently grown worldwide. If you can’t get your hands on Castelvetrano olives, but you happen to find some picholine olives, no need to worry because it can be used as a replacement.

Picholine olives have that crispy texture of Castelvetrano olives; they also have a mild fruity flavor, accompanied by a salty flavor. They have a slightly nutty and buttery taste, unlike the Castelvetrano olive.

Substitute just about the same amount where the recipe calls for Castelvetrano olives.

Manzanilla Olives


Initially cultivated in Spain, the Manzanilla or Spanish olives can now be found in stores worldwide. It is another fantastic substitute for the Castelvetrano olive because of the texture, and it also retains that crispy feel of the Castelvetrano olive.

The Spanish olives have a salty, bitter, and mildly nutty flavor while retaining that meaty, firm texture associated with Castelvetrano olives. Manzanilla olives are bitter when compared with Castelvetrano olives, so to solve this problem, they are stuffed with pimentos to restrain that bitter taste.

Use a reduced measurement when substituting because it is more bitter when compared with Castelvetrano olives.

Gaeta Olives

Gaeta Olives


These Italian olives are darker than Castelvetrano olives, but they possess almost the same characteristics. The obvious differences have to be the color and taste. The Gaeta Olives are cured for longer, giving them a salty flavor and a purplish hue.

They have the same meaty texture and a tartness that is not present in Castelvetrano olives. Gaeta olives are also called the “Queen of Olives.” They are commonly used as toppings, appetizers, and as an ingredient in salads.

Finding a perfect substitute for Castelvetrano olives is almost unfeasible. Still, but the Gaeta olives can be used as a suitable substitute.




It may not be classified as an olive, but capers can be a good replacement for olives, including Castelvetrano olives. This popular Mediterranean ingredient can give your dish that explosion of flavors with its iconic olivey, lemony, and salty tastes. However, if you’re on a low sodium diet, you may want to consider pickled capers.

Capers are usually bitter when harvested, but when pickled, the brine curbs the earthy flavor, and they can be later rinsed off and used as garnishment for your dishes.

Use a lower quantity of when substituting for Castelvetrano olives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Castelvetrano olives healthy?

Castelvetrano olives do not contain carbohydrates or proteins. Fifty calories and 5g of fat can be found in 10 olives.

What are Castelvetrano olives good for?

Health benefits of olives include good memory and cognition. They are also rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.

Are olives used in pizza?

Black olives are stuffed with pimentos or sliced and used as toppings for pizzas, sandwiches, or pasta.


The bright green Castelvetrano olives are like no other olives. They are sweeter than most olives and firmer, so finding a perfect substitute for them may be difficult. Still, you can use any of the above as substitutes when you don’t have any Castelvetrano olives instead of abandoning the cooking process.