Kalamata Olive Dip (True Food copycat dish)

+ weekend adventures!

Kalamata olive dip

Hi friends 🙂 How was your weekend? Hope you enjoyed some relaxation and fun. We had a blast meeting up with friends, enjoying dinner with the cousins, watching the Olympics, and catching up on the usual weekend to-dos. It was perfect. I caught an Orangetheory class (power day- my fave!) and we had Jess and her family over for dinner Saturday night.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking for food inspiration, so I called my brother Kyle to see what he’d suggest for a casual family-style dinner. He mentioned eggplant parmesan and I was sold. You can make it entirely in advance, and it’s such a vibrant, satisfying summer meal.

Eggplant parm was one of the first meals the Pilot and I would make together. When we first started dating, we often cooked dinner together, not only to save money but because we enjoyed spending time preparing casual dishes together. (Our staple was tuna steak marinated in TJ’s soy-ginger dressing with asparagus.)

Eggplant parm was one of the few things I could cook in the early days. 😉 During one of the times we made eggplant together, a group of my cousins “stopped by” to meet him (aka check him out My Big Fat Mexican Wedding-style).

Marinara sauce

I used madre’s recipe, which never fails me. 🙂


Before going into the oven:


I served it with artichokes, and to prepare them, I tried something a little different: cooking the artichokes in the slow cooker. I was trying to brainstorm a way to cook them without overheating the entire house, and googled to see if it would work to cook them in the slow cooker. It totally did, and I’ll be doing it this way from now on. I just cleaned the ‘chokes, added slices of lemon, bay leaves, salt, pepper and enough water to go halfway up the sides.

Artichokes in slow cooker

They cooked for 4 hours on high, and were super soft.

We also enjoyed this beautiful salad that Jess brought, 

Jess salad

some cheese, 

champagne and wine (YESSSS)
and some crudités with homemade hummus and this recipe that I made the replicate my favorite dip from True Food Kitchen.

Kalamata olive dip

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try!

Kalamata olive dip

Kalamata Olive Dip
Serves 12
This savory party appetizer is perfect with crudités or crackers. It tastes JUST like the kalamata olive dip at True Food Kitchen.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. -12 oz pitted kalamata olives (80% drained; use the rest of the liquid)
  2. -1/4 cup Ranch dressing
  3. -1 tablespoon dried dill
  4. -8 oz feta, crumbled
  5. -a drizzle of olive oil
  6. -pepper to taste
  1. 1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender, until blended but with a bit of texture.
  2. 2. Garnish with crumbled feta, a few whole olives, and chopped herbs.
  3. 3. Serve with crudités, crackers, or warm pita.
  1. This can be made 3-4 days in advance! Just store covered in the fridge.
The Fitnessista http://fitnessista.com/
While all of the food and drinks were delicious, the best part was the company. We love our family dinners with Jess, her little girl (who is one of Liv’s best friends) and her husband. We’re going to miss them so much after we move, but I have a feeling we’ll still get to see them. <3

Some more pics from the weekend:

We met up with our cousins for dinner at Tajima Ramen Bar in Hillcrest:

(this picture is a little blah, which makes me sad because it was so delicious)

Rameb bar

(chicken ramen with gf noodles)

and then wandered down to Babycakes for dessert. 


(Liv’s cowgirl boots are my fave ever.)

Babycakes is one of the many tucked-away hidden Hillcrest treasures. (PS it has a bar attached to it.) We all had a hard time deciding, but ordered a variety to share.

Babycakes dessert

A much-needed haircut:

Brown hair with long layers

(San Diego friends, go see Shaylin at Jol Salon; she is AMAZING)

Return of the breakfast cookie:

Bfast cookie

and being silly with Miss P.

Sunday w p

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too!



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  1. Now I’m craving True Foods! I really wish it was closer to my house. But this dip, I have to try! I love getting the crudités with a trio of dips when I go there. We usually get two dishes so we have one to take home. I’m so trying this!

  2. Yummm! Will you share madre’s eggplant parm recipe? Can’t wait to try the dip! 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      i posted a quick run down in a comment below!! it’s not super precise but hopefully that helps
      please let me know if you try the dip!

  3. *Liv’s cowboy boots ~ too cute!

    *P’s smile.

    *Your hair looks great.

    *Those cupcakes!! 😮

  4. Such a fun weekend! Loved following all of your adventures on snapchat, too.

    I was just talking with a girlfriend around here about how much I love True Food! I seriously try to plan every blog lunch meeting there. Their new seasonal teas and juices are amazing, too.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to try it out at home!

    XO, Jessica

  5. Yay for a fun night with Jess and the littles. 🙂

    And I just heard a True Foods Kitchen is coming to my area in a few weeks. Woohoo!

    Happy Monday, Gina!

  6. That looks amazing! Will you be sharing the eggplant parmesean recipe? 🙂

  7. The Kalamata olive dip looks delicious! I’m going to have to try it this week.

  8. Can you give us a quick run down of your mom’s eggplant parm recipe? it looks SO good!

    • Fitnessista says:

      use homemade or store-bought sauce
      slice the eggplant and salt the rounds
      make an egg dip and bread crumb dip (i used panko seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano)
      dip each eggplant round in the egg, and then the panko before pan-frying in olive oil until golden brown on each side
      place sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish, breaded eggplant rounds on top, shredded mozzarella and parmegianno reggiano, sauce, more cheese, go crazy with fresh herbs
      baked for about 30-40 min at 350 until bubbly and cooked through

  9. Thank you for the hair pic! I love the long but not choppy layers- I’m showing g this pic to my hairdresser! Thanks again Gina! Also, my hubby and Dad have picked eggplants from the garden- could you share the recipe? It looks Divine! And I gotta cook these eggplants, lol.:)

    • Fitnessista says:

      yay, perfect! i’m trying to think of a way to share the recipe because it isn’t exact measurements of anything

      • Ok, lol…that’s hilarious to me!- because my Dad and his parents are from Palermo ,Italy and my grandmother or Dad NEVER HAVE A RECIPE FOR ANYTHING! Lol, I was wondering if it taste like my grandmother’s. Little flour, egg, seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, in a little olive oil.

  10. I would love to see your mom’s eggplant parm recipe! Seeing it on snapchat and pictured above has really given me a craving for it!

  11. I’ve been meaning to find a hair stylist in SD! She’s a little out of my price range, but I might go to her if I’m getting highlights. That’s worth the splurge in my opinion. Thank you for sharing!

  12. I heart kalamata olives so hard, which means this dip is going on the menu for this week/forever haha.

    Also, I’m going to be visiting my brother in SD the weekend of 8/20. If you’re teaching any barre classes, I’d love to drop in! 🙂

  13. I loved this post! I love seeing ideas for meals to make when having friends over- especially friends who appreciate good food (healthy food!) and wine : ) I can always think of 1 dish, but not a entire meal. Thanks for the great ideas… can’t wait to give that dip a try! PS. Since I don’t eat any red meat or pork, I loveeee eggplant and eat it pretty frequently. I’m glad to know I’ve been making my eggplant the same way as your madre. Sometimes I salt and rinse the eggplant slices first to get the tang out, too : )

  14. Dishes that can be made ahead for guests are the best. The artichokes look so good. Love the hair and Liv’s cowgirl boots.

  15. Ahh you got the haircut! 🙂

    My weekend consisted of working with some awesome private yoga clients and spending some quality time with my hubby…we went to a sweet mexican place in our city and celebrated his raise…

    Also, I love olive dips but have never made one myself! xo

  16. The eggplant parm looks so great! Been looking for a dish to make when others come over for a dinner party. Thanks!

  17. All the food in this post looks yummy! My mom and I love olive dips so I will definitely have to try this the next time we get together and need a snack!

  18. Soup just never looks as good as it tastes! Loooooove Livi’s cowboy boots, adorable. And I’m so jealous that you got your haircut. I need to chop some layers into my hair stat!

  19. Your hair is awesome!

  20. Made the kalamata dip tonight. So good <3

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