A Guide to Moroccan Olives (With Tajine Recipe)

Updated on January 23, 2020
AHG maghribia profile image

Sampling olives and collecting olive recipes is a big part of my life in Morocco. After three years, I have learned quite a bit.

Olives in a Moroccan shop.
Olives in a Moroccan shop.

The Wide Variety of Olives in Morocco

The olive options in Morocco are endless. They range from spicy to sour. Never eaten plain, they are always cooked with tajine or chucked into a broth. Shopkeepers proudly display their products in enormous tubs and eagerly offer samples to those who ask.

Types of Olives

Lemon-cured olives
Lemon juice is used to brine the olives and give them a citrus taste.
Green olives
Basic, mild green olives.
Harissa olives
Olives are mixed with harissa and fresh herbs. Pickled carrots and turnip are placed on top.
Black olives
Basic, mild black olives.
In Azrou, a small town south of Fez, a shopkeeper shows an impressive display of olives. Preserved lemons in jars are placed around the olive basins.
In Azrou, a small town south of Fez, a shopkeeper shows an impressive display of olives. Preserved lemons in jars are placed around the olive basins.
Lemon-cured olives.
Lemon-cured olives.

Harissa and Preserved Lemons

Two of the olive types mentioned in the table above are made with ingredients that may be unfamiliar to some in the West.

  • Harissa: Harissa is a paste made from paprika, garlic, olive oil, and smoked chili peppers. The condiment is used in Northern African cuisine. There are variations according to each country. Tunisian harissa contains dried onion and caraway. Other recipes include cumin and turmeric. You can scoop some harissa onto your schwarma or tacos. I like adding it to chilies and stews. Lentils and white beans also pair well with the spicy condiment. Give your hummus a touch of heat with a dab of harissa. The health benefits are vast. Harissa is full of vitamins C, E, B6, and K.
  • Preserved Lemons: Lemons that have been sitting in salt water for at least a month. Another staple in Moroccan cooking, preserved lemons add a pleasant tang to any dish. You can throw them into a chicken tajine. Lentils are delicious with some preserved lemon pulp.

A Simple Moroccan Recipe With Olives

Lamb goes well with basic green olives. This tajine recipe incorporates fluffy potatoes and slightly sweet carrots into a satisfying traditional Moroccan dish.

Lamb and Vegetable Tajine

What is a tajine? A tajine is a ceramic or metal dish. The bottom is shaped like a plate, and the top is a cone. When you cook with a tajine, the top stays on and traps the steam in. This keeps the meat tender and the vegetables moist.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep work. 1 1/2 hours cook time.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Makes: Enough for 3 people


  • 4 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 potatoes
  • handful of green olives
  • 4 pieces of medium-sized lamb
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • olive oil


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into rounds. Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks.
  2. Chop an onion and the garlic. Saute with turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  3. When the onions are translucent, add the meat and brown it.
  4. Remove the meat and place sliced onions on top of the chopped onions. You want the onions to be in rounds.
  5. Put the meat in the center of the tajine.
  6. Place the carrots and potatoes around the meat. Create a tepee formation.
  7. Add the olives.
  8. Cover and let the tajine simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Check it after 45 minutes. If you need to add more liquid, pour in some water or olive oil. Be sure to taste as you go. Add more spices if you think the tajine needs more flavor.

Where Can I Find Olives?

Search in the Moroccan market for olives. There are shops that specialize in only olives. They carry harissa, preserved lemons, mini pickles, and all the olive varieties you could want. Living outside of Morocco? Head to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Preserved lemons from Tunisia can be found on the shelves.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)