Olive Tapenade

Heather says:

Olive tapenade is a condiment from the Mediterranean region, some would say it is specifically from the Provençal area of France and others argue it’s from Spain. Who cares as long as it tastes good, right? If you hate olives of any sort, this tapenade is not for you, just keep browsing. If you want something salty, piquant -ooh vocabulary word- and a little different from the usual fare, give it a try. I don’t do a lot of fancy food here at Home Ec 101, but once in a while, it’s nice to have something in the arsenal for special occasions.

Additionally, olive tapenade is a great appetizer or small plate to set out to keep guests from going nuts waiting on the main dish. Low blood sugar is no one’s friend.

What I’m giving here is a bare bones, but still delicious version of olive tapenade. If you enjoy anchovies or roasted red peppers or hate capers add or subtract ingredients until you find the perfect tapenade for you. Just remember if you’re going for an olive tapenade you want the olives to remain the focus, everything else is just a flavor accent, try not to get to carried away with your additions. When I worked for a Spanish restaurant the tapenade was one or most popular tapas. We served it with thinly sliced, toasted baguette. It’s also delicious on fancy crackers as an appetizer or spooned over fish or chicken as part of a main course. Later today I’ll be publishing a recipe for baked cod in which olive tapenade is a star ingredient.

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Olive Tapenade Recipe

Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade Ingredients

Olive Tapenade Ingredients

  • 10 – 14oz (1 jar) pitted kalamata olives -always check the olives for pits regardless, sometimes they sneak back in-
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small handful flat leaf parsley -roughly chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste

Now pay attention, this gets tricky. Place all of your ingredients into a food processor and pulse until as fine as you like it. Some people like a paste, others -like myself- prefer it to still have some texture.

That’s it. Easy peasy, unless you got picky and started processing it with a chef knife. We’ll just be over here enjoying our tapenade until you are through.



  1. Jonny B. on October 3, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I’m not at all a “picky perfectionist.” However, I don’t own a food processor. So I will be attempting this the hard way. A knife, a cutting board, and a whole bunch of time.
    Never had tapenade. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Heather Solos on October 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I’d like this comment if I could. I hope you enjoy it and find it worth the effort.

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  4. Sarahsw on September 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Do you think it would work to preserve this in jars?

    • HeatherSolos on September 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      I know it's possible to refrigerate it for a long time if you pour 1/8 – 1/4" of olive oil on the top of the jar, this creates a seal, as the olive oil will solidify. How long will it keep? I'm not 100% on that. With the ingredients being mostly pickled, it ought to keep for a while due to the salt content and acidity.

  5. Malia on September 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Yum, yum, yum!!! Love tapenade, it's been awhile since I've had any. I'm thinking I should give the recipe a try very soon!

  6. CJ McD on September 6, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    That's a great tapenade recipe Heather. I love tapenades, their versatility and the flavor punch it brings to the party.
    Best part is you can whip it together wiht a few pantry staples.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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