Sundried Tomato, Kalamata Olive, & Basil Pesto Focaccia

Now could not be a better time to take the ‘Tasty and Healthy New Year Challenge’ with Virtual Potluck, and reevaluate the brands you are using in your kitchen. California Olive Ranch (COR) and Bob’s Red Mill (BRM) have teamed up with Virtual Potluck in January, to bring you the healthiest and most delicious recipes possible, along with fabulous giveaways! Our plan is to help you incorporate better foods into your diet such as olive oil and whole grains. This weeks challenge is appetizers!

Each week all twelve of the Virtual Potluck bloggers will introduce a new recipe using one product from Bob’s Red Mill and one from California Olive Ranch. That is twelve chances to win spectacular products! This week I decided to make Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia. If you would like to know more about Focaccia, click here. I have chosen to work with Arbequina Olive Oil which is fresh, fruity and has a flavor profile of tropical fruit and fresh artichoke. It is best used on salad greens and in garden pestos. I have also chosen Organic 100% Stone Ground Hard White Whole Wheat Flour to work with from Bob’s Red Mill. It contains all of the healthy ingredients from the wheat-berry, including the germ, bran, and fiber from the endosperm.


Since 1978 when their doors opened, Bobs Red Mill has used traditional time-honored techniques in milling, and their stone grinding mills are much like the ones used during early Roman times. Their quartz millstones produce a finer product unlike high-speed steel rollers, and their stone mills ensure the most nutritious parts of the whole grain remain, so the all-natural goodness is packed right into your bag. If you want to see the mill in action, click here.

California Olive Ranch has a legacy that spans 300 years when the Spanish brought the olive trees to California. They grow and harvest all of their own olives and cold press within hours of picking to bring you the freshest product possible. Every 100% recyclable bottle displays the harvest date and is in specified green glass to protect the olive oil from light keeping it fresher longer. I especially love the olive shaped finger grips on the side of the bottle to ensure the perfect pour. If you want to read more articles on COR’s award winning olive oil, click here.

Making the dough…

When trying olive oil, remember the four S’s; swirl, smell, slurp and swallow. Head Miller for California Olive Ranch, Bob Singletary,  has conducted thousands of tastings throughout his career. Click here for his tips on properly tasting olive oil, and here to learn more about the people that bring you this wonderful product.

When making the healthy decision to invest in yourself by purchasing quality products such as California Olive Ranch Olive Oils, there are a few tips you should know. Check the date on the olive oil in your pantry. It needs to be consumed when young, and discarded within a year of bottling, as it can become rancid. I prefer to purchase smaller bottles, and avoid the super-sized to ensure freshness. You will want to store your bottles in a cool, dark location, in an airtight container, away from sunlight and heat from the oven or stove.

When deciding on my recipe this week I had help from my husband, and my daughter who is home for the holidays from college. She is studying nursing, and just finished a class in nutrition. My degree is in health and my husband is a surgeon, so it was fun being able to discuss the ‘Healthy New Year Challenge’ with them. Since my daughter is a huge fan of pesto, and we all adore kalamata olives, we came up with our Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia. Though it was to be an appetizer, I paired it with a beautiful salad of local greens from my Seaside Farmer’s Market. I  also used the Arbequina drizzled on top as a dressing. This was a delightful challenge, aside from a few technical difficulties with my computer, and the recipe is easy to prepare. After rolling out the dough, I coated it with the Arbequina Olive Oil, then spread the pesto on top. I added the julienned sun-dried tomatoes, cut the kalamata olives in pieces with kitchen shears, and sprinkled shaved parmesan cheese and sea salt on top. It was irresistible!

Couldn't resist…

Sundried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia:


  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups BRM whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons COR Arbequina Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
  5. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet or stone. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt.
  6. Top focaccia with desired ingredients if any. ( sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, pesto and parmesan)
  7. Bake focaccia in 425 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you’ll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes. I like it crispy!

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup Arbequina Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese


  1. Combine all ingredients but oil in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add in the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with ground salt and pepper.
Where's Mine?

Are you ready to get in on the Action like Oliver the Pug?  Then you must visit either Bob’s Red Mill or California Olive Ranch on Facebook to retrieve this weeks Virtual Potluck code word! Each week will be different as we giveaway new and good for you products!

Next, come back here to to and use that code word in a sentence! That’s it, and you are entered!

If you want to visit the twelve other bloggers in Virtual Potluck for twelve more chances to win, go to our host blog by clicking  here now! By following all twelve each week, you not only get 48 super new healthy recipes, you have 48 chances to win! I know I would!

For even More entries, Follow 30A EATS, Bobs Red Mill, California Olive Ranch and Virtual Potluck on Twitter!Tweet a link to the contest by using the hashtag #virtualpotluck! Make sure you come back here to and leave a comment to let me know you tweeted!

A gift for you! California Olive Ranch is offering you a 10% discount by entering ‘BLOGFRIENDS’ upon check-out online!

This contest will end on Sunday, January 8 at midnight, and is open to US residents only. The winner will selected by Good Luck!

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27 thoughts on “Sun-dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia

  1. Great blog! Sorry to change the subject, but, since Nashville is a big up and coming city, I’d like to find a great sushi restaurant or Japanese restaurant in Nashville TN. Have you heard of any good ones? There’s a new one called Nomzilla Sushi Et Cetera, but very few reviews. Here’s the address of this new Nashville Sushi Restaurant, 1201 Villa Place #101 Nashville, TN 37212 – (615) 268-1424. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks!

  2. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  3. Love that Miller’s Blend … Especially at high altitude! #VirtualPotluck @ThymeForTwo

  4. Linda S is the winner of last weeks promotion, which was announced yesterday on the website in a different post about ‘Build A Better Me’! Congratulations!
    #2 Ann., Yes! The hard white whole wheat flour from Bob’s Red Mill is gluten-Free, as are many of the products. Click their link in the above post, where you will find many GF recipes, and some similar to mine! Thank you all for taking the time to comment, and the shouts to my sweet Oliver!

  5. I need to get a bottle of ARBEQUINA olive oil and an excuse to make these appetizers. Sunday afternoon sounds like a good reason :)

  6. I haven’t made focaccia in years; this post makes me want to try making it with Arbequina olive oil next time.

  7. This is the most informative post I’ve seen on olive oil in general, and arbequina olive oil in particular; thanks.

  8. Wow, Susan, this looks so tasty. Love Oliver! We have a miniature dachshund that has that same look when we’re eating or cooking – we call it pathet-a-pup.

  9. Loaded with flavors! a great treat for our football game parties! thanks, I love both products.

  10. Thanks for the responses! It REALLY is the best Olive Oil I have tasted and I am loving this promo! :)

  11. I would love to use arbequina oil on some freshly baked bread

  12. I can’t wait to use Arbequina olive oil to make this delicious looking foccacia. It can’t be anything but good with this delicious California olive oil and all the other ingredients which blend so perfectly.

  13. Thanks for explaining what the arbequina olive oil flavor is like and for all the other info about olive oil.

  14. I would love to try making my first foccacia bread with the arbequina olive oil pesto!

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