Olive Tomato Salsa | www.kitchenconfidante.com

Olive Salsa Recipe + The Big Traveling Potluck

This olive salsa recipe is full of fresh flavors, and the rough chopping method gives the dish so much versatility in how you’d like to serve it!

Olive Tomato Salsa | www.kitchenconfidante.com
Olive Salsa Recipe + The Big Traveling Potluck
A white bowl piled with roughly chopped Tomato Olive Salsa. The ingredients to this recipe are in the background.

Small Talk

A little part of me falters each time I shake a new hand, as I look into the eyes of another face, and hear their name. For someone who loves meeting new people, I am terrible at it; names slip by me within seconds, and approaching a circle of strangers leaves me with a treble of nervousness.

Can’t we just skip forward to really connecting? When I learn more about you than the weather you left behind in your home state? All this small talk tires me.

I’ve gotten better at this whole networking thing, though. At least it felt that way last weekend, when I flew down to Southern California for a food conference. The Big Traveling Potluck was more of a retreat, it turns out, and it was to great relief, as I have had my share of gigantic conferences where it was easy to be an anonymous fly on the wall, where it was tempting to hide in the shelter of my hotel room rather than enter a ballroom of name tag wearing chatter, glasses of wine clutched preciously at the ready, for momentary swigs of courage. I secretly think I’m not alone when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Image of flowers growing in a barrel, with a field and mountains in the background.
A basket full of freshly picked vegetables.

The Big Traveling Potluck

My trip to Southern California felt closer to a family reunion than big, scary conference, even though I have never attended The Big Traveling Potluck or met many of the attendees. But when you see kind, (familiar) faces, and are welcomed so warmly, the swirls of granache in your wine glass no longer feels like a crutch, but a lovely accessory.

Intimate in every sense, I loved reuniting with old friends, finally meeting friends I have made along the way in this blogging journey, and being introduced to new ones. I loved being able to chat with the speakers, who were not put on pedestals above us, but were approachable and quite real. I loved being able to meet the faces behind brands, some of whom I have worked with, and others, completely new to me. Most of all, I loved seeing everyone be open and giving. I loved that there was kindness.

A rustic tiered tower of fresh peppers, tomatoes, and avacadoes.
Water dispensers infused with herbs.
A photo of a breakfast bar serving savory dishes.
A black serving dish full of granola. A basket of clementines is in the background.
Sweet dishes at The Big Traveling Potluck.
Flower centerpieces at the Big Traveling Potluck 2014.
An image of the attendees eating food along long picnic tables outside.

The integration of a small group of brand sponsors into the experience felt organic and sincere, and truly genuine. I was fortunate to attend the Big Traveling Potluck thanks to my friends at California Ripe Olives. In the true spirit of a potluck, both brands and bloggers brought something to the table, shared from platters of food and ideas, and came away, like I have, with a feeling of excitement for the future.

My plate was filled.

Filled with the realization that I am not alone.

There are others who see the beauty and allure of a simply sliced onion. Others who care more for sharing than the drudgery of SEO. There are others who show their love through food. There are others who wonder how much to share, and how. Others who work to make time for the ones they love. There are others, just like me.

A speaker sharing at Big Traveling Potluck 2014.
A speaker reading from notes at the Big Traveling Potluck 2014.
A woman slicing an orange while photographers take photos.
An image of a wooden cutting board with freshly cut herbs, onion, and avacado. A sharp knife lays on the end, and more fresh ingredients lay on the table.
A white plate on a white cloth napkin. The plate has layers of sliced orange and avacado, sprinkled with diced onion and fresh herb springs.
A metal container holding an arrangement of fresh flowers and vegetables.

The Food

My plate was filled: my creativity was nourished, and so was my belly. Can I just confess something? This was the first conference I have been to where I did not leave hungry, both literally and figuratively. I may have learned a lot, but I ate a lot, too. Everyone worked so hard to make BTP a success. Everyone cooked from the heart, and the delicious ingredients from the BTP sponsors – well, it was all delicious. We ate, and we ate well.

A view of an assortment of foods laid out on serving platters along a table, with cards indicating what each dish is.
A basket of vegetables at Big Traveling Potluck 2014
Various people filling plates at an outdoor serving table. Beautiful scenery and hills lay in the background.
A woman making a salad.
A bowl of fresh vegetables and a creamy sauce.
Kitchen Aid mixers in various colors - all having freshly made icecream in various flavors in their bowls.
A photo of an artichoke growing on the vine.
A long table with elegant place settings at the Big Traveling Potluck.
Image of the dinner menu.
Image of the cocktail appetizer featuring black olives.
A flower arrangement.
Women networking in a lovely green garden.
Wooden tables and mismatched chairs arranged on a green lawn.
A nighttime view of the event venue, with ivy growing up the structure, and illuminated with swag lighting.

Tomato Olive Salsa

I may emerge from other conferences feeling overwhelmed, but after Big Traveling Potluck, I returned home inspired. Once I was back in my kitchen, I was excited to make something with California Ripe Olives. I loved seeing olives integrated into so many of the dishes served over the course of the weekend, and so creatively, too. Sometimes, my kids want nothing more than to open the can, drain the liquid, and pop the juicy olives into their mouthes as a snack. But with grilling season here at last, I thought you might like this Tomato Olive Salsa. It’s a great addition to the table, whether you are serving pork chops or chicken, or even a nicely grilled fish.

It could even be just the right dish for a potluck.

A can of the olives used in making Tomato Olive Salsa.
A bowl of Tomato Olive Salsa, with the fresh ingredients sitting in the background.
A bowl of green and black olives used in making Tomato Olive Salsa.
Ingredients used in making Tomato Olive Salsa: olives, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, salt, peppercorns, capers, and onion.
A big bowl of Tomato Olive Salsa.
Disclosure: I am grateful to California Ripe Olives for sponsoring my Big Traveling Potluck experience. I attended with appreciation for their sponsorship; however, as always, all opinions are my own.

Love the Tomato Olive Salsa? Here’s more Potluck Favorites!

Summer Wheat Berry Salad with Stone Fruits and Goat Cheese
Peppadew Pepper Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
Hummus Chicken Salad Sliders
Lemon Raspberry Cake
Pesto Pull-Apart Rolls

Tomato Olive Salsa

This is a salsa that is more of what I consider a side dish – ditch the chips and serve this alongside a roast or grilled chicken, or perhaps some juicy pork chops.
Course Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 59kcal


  • 1 15 oz olives (black or green) chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced
  • 2 jalapeños seeded and finely chopped (use less if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/3 cup capers
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Rough chop your vegetables to your desired size.
  • If you want to use this like a traditional salsa, fine chop or use a food processor.
  • Combine the olives, tomatoes, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, and capers in a bowl.
  • Add the vinegar with a drizzle of olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
  • The salsa can be prepared a day in advance; keep it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.


Adapted from Salsa Playera de Lujo, Saveur, July, 2011.


Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante


Recipe Rating

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  1. Kate @ Diethood

    I love your salsa recipe!! SO flavorful, my mouth watered up. :) 

    And what a wonderful time you all had at the event! I’m jealous!! Now I really WISH I didn’t live in Indiana… :-))

  2. Denise

    Really lovely post, I felt like I was right there with you.  And, I have to agree, with you 100%.  I feel the same way with networking, and really stink at it, which is not great for business or with the blog.  UGH.  

    That being said, I have heard that the BPL picnic is more like family, and it is easier to mingle and meet.  Maybe we will have to go next year!

    • Liren Baker

      Thank you so much, Denise, I’m glad I’m not the only one who dreads networking! But you are right, The Big Potluck is definitely more like a family picnic, and I hope you do go next year!

    • Liren Baker

      Thank you so much, Brenda – I had never tried olives in salsa until now, and I loved how it made the salsa sing!

  3. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    That really is the amazing part about the Potluck… how inspiring it is. Reminds us why we started doing this in the first place.

    Love your recap… and I know how hard it is meeting new people. Like you, I’m terrible at names. And, yes, small talk is exhausting.

    Such a wonderful recipe too. Love the addition of the olives in there!

    • Liren Baker

      Brian, this is a late but sincere thank you for being such a happy sight at BTP – it was so good to see you again! I really had an amazing time, and a big part of it was having the chance to catch up with you! 

  4. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet}

    Liren – what a great recap of this event! Looks like you had a blast and met some wonderful folks. This salsa is right up my alley and will make it to a Friday Night Bite for sure! Hope you are doing well!

  5. cristina

    I know exactly what you mean about conferences and the networking scene. It’s a difficult situation for me and I always feel like a fish out of water. I’m much more comfortable around fewer people, people I can connect with or already know than the walking up to a group and trying to fit in/converse. :) Your images are just beautiful, Liren. These photographs can be the official images for the event and absolutely publication/mag worthy!

    • Liren Baker

      Cristina, that means so much, I’m so glad you liked the photographs. There was so much beauty that weekend, i could have been happy to hide behind my camera all day. But, thankfully, everyone was so nice, and I was grateful that BTP is a smaller event. It made it more meaningful. You should join next year, it’s not too far from your neck of the woods :)

  6. Simone

    I’m with you when it comes to conferences and the size of them… I’m not really good in big groups. I like smaller groups where it is easier to connect and really talk to people. In Europe there are not a lot (that I know of) other than foodblogger connect, which I will sadly miss this year but your potluck looks amazing. That location alone would be worth traveling there! Beautiful shots!

    • Liren Baker

      Oh, Simone, it would be amazing if you could fly out here next year and experience BTP for yourself. It really is worth it, for both the small group camaraderie, and the photogenic surroundings. You would love it!

  7. marcie

    What a wonderful time you must’ve had…it was just beautiful there! This Olive Tomato Salsa sounds so fresh and delicious!

  8. Monet

    Gorgeous. What a beautiful event. From start to finish. I only wish I could have been there! I’m such an introvert that a conference would be hard for me…and yet after seeing these pictures and hearing your words, I wish I could have gone.

    • Liren Baker

      Oh Monet, you would be in good company, if you decided to go. I think as bloggers, we are all a bit introverted in a way! I know I would have loved your company. Perhaps one day you can join us!

  9. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    Thank you for sharing about this event with all the photos and your very honest feelings. I am glad it turned out to be such a positive event for your. Your reasons were solid as to why you felt that way. This is a waaay different salsa than I think I have ever eaten. We or I anyway get so locked in on This Is The Way It’s Done. It’s one of the reasons I am soooo enjoying reading food blogs. I love new and creative ideas in any form, but food is extra wonderful.

    • Liren Baker

      Carol, I’m so glad you understood my feelings about conferences through this post – I love meeting new people, but conferences can be so intimidating! One things is for sure, it was wonderful to be around similar minded people, who embrace creativity and good food!

  10. Letty Flatt

    now I see that you merely suggested either green or black. I am going to use half and half when I make the salsa!

  11. Letty Flatt

    Love your recap. All very much my experience as well. So happy to have met you.
    And the salsa–gorgeous and I especially like that you used 2 kinds of olives, green and black.

    • Liren Baker

      Letty, meeting you was such a pleasure! So glad we had a chance to get to know one another better on those bus rides! Hope you are well :)

  12. Jane, The Heritage Cook

    What a lovely recap Liren. I too was touched and walked away happy to know that others share my vision. It was wonderful to finally meet you in person and I can’t wait to spend more time – now that we know we live so close to each other! It only took a flight to SoCal to discover that coincidence, LOL!

    • Liren Baker

      Jane, a very belated but sincere thank you for this comment! I can’t tell you how happy I was to learn that we are neighbors! Let’s reconnect soon!

  13. Cheryl

    Liren, your recap is such a visual feast. I’m so glad we got some good one-on-one time.

    I also wanted to let you know that after you left on Sunday, someone brought out the rest of your caramel corn and I, well, I pretty much ate the entire thing. (Yes, I’m aware that there were two varieties. This just meant there was more for me to hoard.) Is that recipe up on your site? I kind of need it.

    • Liren Baker

      Cheryl, I’m so glad we were able to have some quality time together at BTP, too! I always find you inspiring, whether it is one on one, or when you present. Your words are still with me :)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the caramel corn! I confess that I can eat a whole trayful all by myself, and yes, of course the recipe is here. You can find it here: Baked Caramel Corn. Come to think of it, I kind of need it, too. Time to make another batch :)

  14. Five O'clock Shallots

    This post really touched my heart. Your candid writing and the beautiful pictures form a little masterpiece. Thank you for a really nice ending to my day.

  15. Raquel

    What an amazing trip the photos and whole experience sound awesome. And olive tomato salsa, even better. My fiance hates olives so I will have to make this for myself or maybe a party (although I secretly don’t want to share).

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