These stuffed and fried olives have only one problem: if you start eating one, you will finish them all!
This is our best plant-based version of the traditional dish. We have substituted the meat with a mixture of soya and seitan and we have used a chickpea batter instead of the egg. We made sure to preserve the original taste.
In Italy, we traditioannly serve them as an antipasto (starter), but they can also work as a contorno (side dish). We often eat them along with other fried starters e.g. a fried veg mix and, sometimes, we include them in the antipasto misto (mixed appetiser).
Origin and Curiosities
The full Italian name is Olive all’Ascolana, meaning Ascoli Style Olives.
Originally from the city of Ascoli Piceno, they are a traditional dish of Marche region.
In 1800, due to the increase of royalties that farmers had to provide to the aristocracy, the cooks who worked for those royal families had to find a way to use large amounts of different meat varieties at their disposal. For this reason, they came out with this characteristic way to stuff olives.
Vegan Ascolana Olives
- hand blender
- cutting board
- small sharp knife
- 30 big green pickled olives *
- oil for frying
- 30 g carrots (or 1 oz.)
- 15 g celery (or 0.5 oz.)
- 30 g onion (or 1 oz.)
- 20 g textured soy protein (dry weight) (or 0.7 oz.)
- 50 g seitan (or 1.8 oz.)
- 1 Tbsp white wine
- 10 g nutritional yeast (or 0.35 oz.)
- 1 and ½ Tbsp breadcrumbs
- clove powder
- extra virgin olive oil
- 250 ml vegetable broth – optional (or 8.45 fl. oz.)
- 40 g chickpea flour (or 1.4 oz.)
- 80 g water (or 2.8 oz.)
- extra breadcrumbs for coating
Prepare the filling
- Rehydrate the textured soy in hot broth for 10 minutes (alternatively, you can use hot water), then let it drain for 2 minutes (don't squeeze). In the meantime: mince carrots, celery and onion; roughly blend the seitan.
- In the pan, heat up some oil, then add minced vegetables, soy and seitan and leave to take on flavour for 5 minutes. Simmer with the wine until reduced. Transfer everything in the bowl and leave it to cool down. Meanwhile, you can pit the olives (see below).
- When the filling has cooled down, blend it with the hand blender, then add nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt, nutmeg and cloves. The mixture should be consistent and compact.
Prepare the olives
- Pit the olives: using the knife, cut the olive in a spiral way starting from the top, making sure not to break it (method shown in the video below).
- As shown in the video below, stuff the olives with enough filling.
- Prepare a batter with chickpea flour and water. Dip each olive in the batter, then roll it in some breadcrumbs (repeat the dipping and rolling a second time for a thicker and crunchier result).
Deep fry and serve
- Heat up some oil for frying in a small pot and when it's hot, immerse the olives (make sure they are fully immersed, otherwise the bread may split in half). Cook until golden brown.
- Serve them warm (but please, don't burn your mouth). 😉
The authentic recipe uses the Ascolana Tenera variety. But you can just stick with the biggest, greener, sweeter and most tender olives you can find.
If you have little time you can also opt for pitted green olives in a can. Don’t expect the same result, but they will still taste good.