Thanksgiving Relish Tray

The Thanksgiving Relish Tray gets a modern facelift filled with homemade colorful pickles, a flavorful spread, crackers and still the familiar face of black olives with a new twist. 

Thanksgiving Relish Tray from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen | A modern take on the relish tray with homemade pickles, a goat cheese spread and flavor packed black olives.

I am so very excited to kick this weeks recipes off with you today.  I partnered up with my friends over at California Ripe Olives to throw a little Friendsgiving party full of tasty appetizers, salads and sides.  All of course which feature California Ripe Olives in some delicious way or another – after all they go with everything!

What’s that? You’ve never heard of Friendsgiving?  For starters what it isn’t is a day full of watching every Friends Thanksgiving centric episode.  While I do think that would be a lot of fun, the actual term Friendsgiving is a faux Thanksgiving dinner held with your nearest and dearest friends.  It’s generally a potluck with the host cooking up the main protein of the meal and the friends rounding out the rest of the dinner.

Think of it as a pre-game to the big day,  while Thanksgiving itself might be the Superbowl of cooking holidays,  Friendsgiving is the playoffs.  A chance to try out new moves – err I means dishes that may or may not make it the final round.  Plus it’s just a great excuse to gather your friends, eat some delicious food and have a joyous afternoon together.  Can you really pass that up?

Thanksgiving Relish Tray |

Like I said a Friendsgiving party is a great resource for trying out potential new recipes for Thanksgiving.  Take for example the relish tray.

Does your family break it out every holiday?  Mine does, one really isn’t complete without a plate of pickles, olives and sauerkraut on the table. Does it go with turkey? Not really but we are a pickle and olive loving family, so it must be there no matter how dated it might seem.

Today that relish tray is getting a facelift that’s more appropriate to enjoy during cocktail hour before dinner instead of plopped on the table during.  A lot of the steps and ingredients may seem intimating – I know the list is long but for the most part you can make pretty much everything ahead of time.

Thanksgiving Relish Tray |

Those sour and half sour pickles are getting tossed for a bowl of colorful quick pickled vegetables hand picked from your local farmer’s market.  Choose whatever suits your mood or what looks best to you in this case; I went for a colorful bunch of young carrots, yellow cauliflower and fennel.  They can either be quick pickled for an hour if you’re short on time or in advance but either way they won’t need much time for some crunch and pucker.

I wanted to keep one familiar sight and that’s my California Ripe Olives.  However instead of just dropping them into a bowl they get marinated with citrus, rosemary and olive oil for a fruity and herby bite.  You might not be able to pull olive fingers with these but the punch of flavor will turn them into your favorites once again.

Lastly, the spread is simply goat cheese, thyme and roasted garlic whipped together and served on crackers and radishes.

Stay tuned tomorrow where we feature an olive twist to the beet and feta salad!

To learn more about California Ripe Olives visit them on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Thanksgiving Relish Tray
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    For the pickles:
  • • 1 bunch young multi-colored carrots, peeled and halved
  • • 1/2 small cauliflower (yellow or purple recommended), cut into small florets
  • • 1 medium bulb fennel, stalks removed and sliced
  • • 1 1/2 cups water
  • • 1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
  • • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • • 2 teaspoons cane sugar
  • • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • • 3 large garlic cloves
  • For the Rosemary Citrus Marinated Olives:
  • • 1 – 6 ounce can extra large California Ripe Olives, drained and rinsed
  • • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • For the Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese Spread:
  • • 1 head fresh garlic
  • • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • • 4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • • 1 bunch radishes, halved
  • • crackers, for serving


  1. To make the pickles: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the carrots and cauliflower (in separate batches) for 30 second, then scoop out and rinse under cold water to stop the cooling process.
  2. In 3 canning jars (2 quart size, 1 half pint or adjust the size according to the quantity of vegetables you have on hand), divide the vegetables. You’ll want to the keep the colored carrots separate from the cauliflower and fennel as the color will bleed with the pickling liquid). Add a clove of garlic to each jar and an even amount of coriander seeds.
  3. Bring the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a simmer or until the salt has dissolved and remove from the heat.
  4. Carefully pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables, leaving 1/4 inches of headroom in each jar and either let sit for 1 hour for a quick pickle or overnight for a little more pucker.
  5. Additionally you can make these pickles 1-2 weeks in advance if planning ahead. Since they are not canned, they are best if eaten within a month of the initial date of pickling.
  6. To make the marinated olives: In a bowl combine the California Ripe Olives with the lemon and orange zest, chopped rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour or overnight. Before serving, bring to room temperature and give a good stir to mix up the olive oil.
  7. To make the goat cheese spread heat your oven to 325 degrees f and cut the top of your garlic exposing the cloves.
  8. Wrap the head of garlic in a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle in the olive oil. Seal tightly and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the garlic is soft and caramelized.
  9. In a mixing bowl from your stand mixer squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the head and add the goat cheese, leaves from the sprig of thyme, heavy cream and ground black pepper.
  10. Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer and whip until everything is combined. Scoop into a small bowl.
  11. To serve your relish plate, set out a large platter or wood cutting board – arrange the bowl of marinated olives, goat cheese spread, a bowl of radishes, crackers and a bowl with your homemade pickles.
Recipe Type: Appetizer

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This post is sponsored on behalf of California Ripe Olives.  As always all opinions are my own and thank for supporting brands that I work with. 

 Thanksgiving Relish Tray |

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