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Do You Eat Olives on Mexican Food? {Ask the Readers}

Ask The Readers

As I mentioned last week, I am trying to keep things pretty simple right now. This means I am keeping it easy when it comes to menu planning and meals. Some nights I have been totally changing it up and making something different because it works better with our schedule.

Over the last few months we have had tacos or taco salad at least once a week. It is a good thing that my family loves tacos. I have changed up taco night some by doing regular tacos, oven tacos, taco salad, etc, but since they all use my favorite taco meat that I keep in the freezer, they all make a quick and easy dinners.


The other day when I was putting together the ingredients for taco salad for dinner, I decided to add some olives to the meat, cheese, lettuce, and other ingredients that I planned on serving. Serving olives with taco salad got me thinking though.

You see this is an area that my husband and I disagree on. I love black olives on tacos and taco salad. I grew up eating them that way. My husband did not.

My mom did not always add olives to a Mexican meal because olives can be expensive, but you would often find olives either on a Mexican dish, on tacos, or served on the side at our house.

I will admit though that we are an olive loving family. My dad will eat them on anything. Well, almost anything. I am sure there are a few things that he would not eat olives on. And all my sisters and I love them straight from the can. An open can of olives did not last long at our house.

My husband on the other hand likes olives, but thinks it is strange to serve them with Mexican type food. He has never quite gotten use to the fact that I love them and sometimes serve them on tacos and taco salad.

I am pretty sure that my husband is probably right on this and olives, especially black olives, are not part of authentic Mexican food, but they are delicious. Or at least I think they are delicious.

Now I am curious what do you think? Is my family the only strange one that eats olives on Mexican food?ย 


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I put sliced black olives on just about anything Mexican. I don’t know if they’re authentic or not, but we love them. They just seem to add that little extra something to the dish. I say, if your husband doesn’t want olives in his Mexican food, they’re easy enough to pick out. ๐Ÿ˜€ I also like to add black olives to many of my Italian dishes. Spaghetti sauce, Pepperoni Macaroni, pizza, lasagna, etc.

    • He will eat them if I put them on something like enchiladas, but I usually just serve them with tacos or taco salad and that way he can just leave them off his. And yes I love them on pizza too!

  2. I am so with you on this one, Lynn. I love, love, love sliced ripe olives on taco, taco salad, enchiladas, burritos and most anything Mexican. Unfortunately, hubby does not like ripe olives so I usually defer to him and do not add them to the whole dish, but add them to my portion when I serve them. There are always ripe olives in my fridge. My other “must” for most anything is some diced red peppers.

  3. Growing up when we had ground beef enchiladas we always had sliced black olives in them and we put them in burritos as well. I wonder if it’s a west coast thing because I grew up in California.

    • I had not thought of that. I might be a regional west coast thing. I love them on enchiladas too!

    • I grew up in Minnesota, and my family used to put olives on Mexican food, too.

      • Nicole Cooley says

        I grew up on the East Coast, FL & NC with a Canadian grandmother, grandfather was from Pennsylvania, father from New York and mom from Florida and we all eat our tacos with black olives.

  4. I do like olives on Mexican food even if it’s not authentic, but I hardly ever buy olives because our budget is very limited right now.

  5. I also love olives of any kind and will eat them on just about anything. I love them in salads and I really love the way they go with spicy foods. I have frequently been known to put them on pizza. My husband’s half of the pizza doesn’t have them, but he will never say no the leftovers from my half!

  6. i love olives and include them often in mexican dishes. I did grow up eating them that way as well:)

  7. My kids and I love all kinds of olives! I grew up having olives as a side for many, many meals. My Mom didn’t make many Mexican dishes but I love them on my Mexican dishes now. And I am from Michigan so definitely not a west coast thing!

  8. I believe that olives in Mexican cooking are a regional thing – and I mean in Mexico, not an east coast, west coast thing! I think some regional areas use them and some don’t. My boss makes the best tamales and she always put an olive in them; says it’s authentic. I don’t really know; I just know they are really good! Personally, I’ll eat olives on just about anything and that includes Mexican food.

  9. Lori Buffington says

    You can tell we were raised by the same folks! Yes – olives on everything Mexican!
    Mom hated them (interesting, since your dad loves them), but they were always a part of tacos and mexican casseroles. And one can at family dinners? No way! With four of us, we needed two cans so we could put them on all of our fingers!

    • Dad can easily eat a whole can by himself, so yes several cans is a must if we are all together. That is interesting that your mom doesn’t like them because they are one of dad’s favorite foods. And I am glad to know that we are not the only ones that put olives on Mexican food. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. We greatly dislike olives! It will not be on any food at our home Mexican or not. I have disliked them since childhood and it hasn’t changed. My mother-in-law loves them so when we would be at their house I would offer them to my kids but they didn’t like them either.

  11. Black olives are always in our pantry but not always in our Mexican dishes. I love to use them in the dishes just don’t always think to do so. I grew up eating black olives on my fingers as well, holidays is when we seen them on the table. I can open a can and eat most of it by myself. I don’t recall if we had black olives on our Mexican dishes growing up.
    My husband loves a black olive and mushroom pizza!

  12. Sheila Torres says

    I don’t know how authentic it is but I put black olives in all my Mexican dishes. I always pop a few in my mouth too! Love them!

  13. kay childs says

    Absolutely olives on Mexican food! Our house is like yours, eat the olives right out of the can and rarely makes it to the table.

  14. I love black olives on anything Mexican, but only half my family feels the same way about them as I do. There are so many ways to use black olives besides Mexican dishes…for instance tuna salad, adding a little bit of the olive juice from the can with the mayo…yum!

  15. I put sliced black olives on all Mexican recipes from tacos, to taco salads to enchiladas and also sliced green onions. Where I go to eat Mexican out they also give a side dish of black olives for tacos, but put it on the salad itself. I’m guessing not everyone loves them but I have since I was 3 years old, my grandparents used to buy me a slim jar of pimento stuff green olives in lieu of candy because I preferred them. I sometimes put both green and black olives on my dishes, depends on them being on sale and me stocking up.

  16. We eat olives on everything we can. Our girls love them. I buy the bag of sliced at Costco for under $4 for a huge bag. It saves quite a bit of money. We don’t always have them but we all like them & usually we add them in. We also like them on taco salad as well as Italian salad with pepperoni, cheese, tomato… Mmmm

  17. My husband and I love olives but the kids don’t, so I don’t add them to things like I used to. I grew up with olives on Mexican food too. But I rarely see them used in Mexican restaurants out here except maybe an occasional green olive in a tamale filling.

    I also love olives in spaghetti sauce as well as pizza.

  18. I also grew up eating olives on tacos. And, an open can didn’t last long at our house either.
    My husband does not like olives, so I serve them on the side. (Except pizza. He can just pick those off.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I LOVE olives! Of any type, really! But yes, once in a while, if I’m not being lazy, I’ll add black olives to Mexican food. Taco salad, taco dip (mmmm), tacos (not as often, but sometimes), and taco pizza. Now I really want some Mexican food…

    My favorite way to eat olives though, is to smear some cream cheese on a Triscuit and top with a slice of a green olive. Pepper jelly does in a pinch for that, but that is so awesome and tasty. Can you tell I’m a little hungry? haha.

  20. I have always liked black olives in Mexican food. Even though there are only two of us we have been know to go through an entire can in one meal on taco salads, between eating them while cutting them up, topping our salads with them, and then of course nibbling on whatever is left while cleaning up the kitchen. We also love them in sub sandwiches, pizza, pasta salad, lettuce salad, and lots of other things.

  21. I believe the use of black olives on Mexican food is a Tex-Mex invention, much like lettuce. Authentic Mexican food generally uses cabbage. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy lettuce & olives in my taco salad.

  22. I want to know where you find the bag of sliced olives at Sam’s! I have never seen them there. Where are they located?

    • At the Sam’s Club I go to they are usually on the same aisle as the pickles or the mayo and mustard. Next to where the cans of olives are. I really like buying them that way.

  23. I say olives in Mexican food for the win. The flavours combine exquisitely.

  24. Jack Smoley says

    Olives on Mexican food is just plane wrong. What’s next, black olives in a bowl of chili? Stop it. Just stop it! And as far as black olives being Tex-Mex… I grew up in Texas during the 50s and 60s and I never saw black olives on an enchilada, taco, tostada, chalupa, or anything else. It’s not a Tex-Mex thing. It likely came from black olive lovers that put their favorite garnish on everything they eat.

  25. What about green olives. We used to get a great goat dish in Nashville called Birria con arroz. Which was stewed goat chunks over rice with sliced green olives. Absolutely delicious. Might be more Central American than mexican, but wait staff swore it was authentic. Given we were some of the few customers who didn’t speak Spanish, I have no reason to doubt it’s origins.

  26. Olives are not a New World food, they are Mediterranean, introduced to Spain at the time of Muslim conquest and under their rule. A few olive trees were planted at different missions by conquistadors to the new world. The small section known as Baja especially. It is not a part of any regional authentic food in the Mexican states bordering Texas, nor is it all common in Texas. I’d say it is fusion food originating with people who enjoy olives. Personally, I find the taste repellent and very strong. I would cry if anybody tried to feed me Mexican cuisine with olives anywhere in the vicinity and question their knowledge of the culture.

  27. Tashina Alvarado says

    My family eats olives on enchiladas and iitalian food and we are Chicano , Mexican and Native American olives r the best

  28. Tim Alonzo says

    I’m also Mexican American and olives were never a part of our meals. I’m from Texas. Olives are wonderful but I don’t think are part of authentic mexican cuisine.

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