Tapenade (1)
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  • Food: SaltyTapenade
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Tapenade is for olive lovers! Tapenade is a French olive spread or dip that originated in the Provence region. It’s robust, zesty, briny, and salty, though we’ll limit the salt to a minimum.

Tapenade is a delicious appetizer with drinks when served with crostini or crackers. When served with creamy dips like hummus or spinach artichoke dip, it adds a nice contrast.

You can also use it to make sandwiches, salads, and other dishes. Tapenade will stay in the fridge for a week or two, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to utilize it.

Tapenade is derived from the Provençal word tapenas, which means capers. Olives have become the main component over time, while capers were employed as a delicate accent.

Tapenade is a natural pairing with your favorite Mediterranean dishes because similar olive spreads have been served throughout the Mediterranean for centuries.

Anchovies are used in traditional tapenade, but I didn’t use them because I’m a vegetarian. Regardless, this dip is full of nuanced flavor and safe for vegans and anyone with shellfish sensitivities.

You’ll only need a few basic ingredients and a food processor to make this simple tapenade.

It takes around 10 minutes to make and uses largely cupboard goods! Olives from Castelvetrano and Kalamata, fresh parsley, capers, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice are all required. Let’s get started on some right now.

Finest Olives For Tapenade

Tapenades are produced completely of black olives (usually Niçoise olives), green olives, or a blend of the two in France. While it’s a personal preference, a mix of green (particularly, Castelvetrano) and black (Niçoise or Kalamata, not the squeaky canned sort) olives is highly recommended. Both of these kinds can be found in well-stocked American supermarkets.

As many olives can be, Castelvetrano olives are rich, buttery, meaty, and not overly salty. Because kalamata olives have a more saline flavor, we’ll use half as many black as green olives.

Then we’ll add a spoonful of capers that have been drained. The secret to making a truly delightful, savory dip is to keep the salt level in check.

The Easiest Method for Pitting Olives

Tapenade yum (1)
Food: Tapenade (Source: Cookie And Kate)

After some trial and error, I’m happy to say that I’ve discovered a simple way to pit olives. Hooray!

Here’s how to do it: On a chopping board, place a small handful of olives. Find a wide-base liquid measuring cup or jar that is durable (I imagine a skillet would work, too).

Press down on the olives with the jar’s base until they split apart (see photo above). You can now easily remove the pits.

Note on Pitted Olives:

Even if you’re using pre-pitted olives, double-check that each one has been pitted. It’s not uncommon to come across several olive pits on the route.

It’s preferable to find the pits and split them up before putting them in the food processor. The pits are quite rough and have the potential to break a tooth!

Tapenade can be served in a variety of ways.

Tapenade pairs well with a glass of wine (particularly a crisp rosé or sauvignon blanc) or a stiff gin or vodka-based cocktail as a starter (think gin and tonic or martini).

Tapenade, on the other hand, offers a wide range of applications. Here are some ideas for serving:

  • Tapenade can be used in place of whole olives on cheese plates (or in addition to them if you’re serving olive fans).
  • Salads: Toss a dab of tapenade into a vinaigrette or drizzle it over a tomato salad gently.
  • Tapenade makes a terrific sandwich spread, especially when combined with avocado, creamy cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
  • Savory breakfasts: Tapenade with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh parsley or basil, and creamy cheese, such as goat cheese or feta, would be delicious on scrambled or fried eggs.
  • Alternatively, simply serve with crostini, crackers, or crusty bread.


Time to cook: 10 minutes

Total: 10 minutes

This tapenade recipe is very easy to make and tastes so good! With crackers, crostini, cheese plates, or sandwiches, serve this French olive spread. 1 1/2 cup tapenade is made using this recipe.


Tapenade Homemade (1)
Food: Tapenade (Source: Cookie And Kate)
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted*
  • ½ cup Niçoise or Kalamata olives, pitted*
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley (thin stems are ok)
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor (pitted olives, parsley, capers, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice). Pulse for about 10 seconds, then scrape down the jar’s sides.
  2. Pulse 5 to 10 times more until well chopped but not pureed, or until desired texture is achieved. As desired, serve. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


  • HOW TO PIT OLIVES/SAFETY NOTE: Even if you buy pitted olives, double-check that each one has been properly pitted (sometimes they sneak through). Place several olives on a cutting board, then press a robust, large liquid measuring cup or jar down over them to easily pit them. The olives will split apart, making the pits simple to extract.
  • ARE THERE NO FOOD PROCESSORS? By hand, finely chop the solid components, then combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.