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Moroccan Marinated Olives with Preserved Lemons and Harissa

September 02, 2022

These delicious marinated olives, called zitoun mchermel in Arabic, are much loved in Morocco by Jews and Arabs alike. Traditionally, they are marinated for two or three days before using, but if you are in a hurry, you can leave them in the marinade for a few hours, then serve.

Featured in: Small Wonder


  • 2cups (about 3/4 lb) green, purple, or black olives, or a mix, well drained
  • 2or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • the rind of 1 preserved lemon, cut into small dice, or more to taste
  • 1or 2 bay leaves
  • 3tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp harissa, or to taste
  • 6tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to cover
  • 1 or 2tbsp lemon juice, to taste
Yield: 6 servings


  • Step 1

    Place the olives in a bowl with the garlic, preserved lemon, bay leaves, parsley, spices, harissa, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and lemon juice and toss lightly. Spoon into a jar or container, cover with a layer of olive oil, and close tightly. Store in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days before serving. Will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

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