Olive Tapenade: A salty, garlicky, lemony snack, condiment or appetizer. This olive tapenade recipe takes ten minutes to whip up and is make ahead easy! It’s delicious on its own or with Easy Artichoke Hummus or on an Italian Pressed Sandwich. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan + gluten free. [ VIDEO in recipe card below ]
This post was first published in 2015 and was updated December 2021. The recipe remains unchanged.
Everyone Loves Olive Tapenade!
You know those recipes that you make over and over again and can rely on each and every time? This easy Olive Tapenade Recipe is it! From the pickiest of eaters to the vast array of friends and family with varying diets, just about everyone can agree on this recipe. It uses 10 fresh ingredients and takes only 10 minutes to make.
My taste for briny/salty flavors is no secret. Olives tend to sooth salty cravings but add a couple of tablespoons of capers to the mix and and their briny flavor takes this olive tapenade recipe over the top! And did I mention it’s SO easy?
Stock Up on Olives
Olives are a pantry staple. They make a quick snack and add a good bit of briny/salty flavor to any recipe they’re a part of. Olives are especially tasty in Italian recipes like Pasta Puttanesca, and Sourdough Pizza as well as salads like this Spinach Pecan Brown Rice Salad and Farro Kale and Olive Salad.
I’ve also included olives in this completely delicious Olive Artichoke Crostini recipe.
Quick Guide: How to Make Olive Tapenade
I make this olive tapenade recipe without anchovy fillets opting for capers instead. They’re a perfect stand-in for that briny/salty flavor anchovies are known for. Whip this tapenade recipe up in the food processor as a relish, spread or dip. In summary, here’s how to do it (see recipe card for details):
- First: add olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh garlic cloves, oregano, parsley, basil, lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper to a food processor.
- Next: pulse until you get the desired consistency.
- Last: garnish with parsley leaves and drizzle with olive oil.
This tapenade is salty enough due to the capers and olives, however, feel free to add a pinch of salt to taste if needed. Store in an airtight container (I like Mason jars) in the refrigerator for up two weeks (!!).
Make an Olive Spread or Relish
The main difference in consistency between a spread and relish is how long the ingredients spend being processed in the food processor. When making this flavorful condiment or appetizer, pulse the ingredients to reach the desired consistency.
- Chunky: make this tapenade more like a relish, to share alone or with hummus, simply pulse the contents just a few times.
- Spread: make tapenade spreadable for things like sandwiches, pita bread or baguette slices.
You really can’t go wrong either way, this tapenade is delicious and devoured by all!
What Do You Eat with Olive Tapenade?
There are many ways to enjoy olive tapenade. Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Dollop tapenade on Sourdough Pizza or Gluten Free Sourdough Pizza just before baking.
- Share with your favorite cheeses on a cheese board.
- Share it chunky on top of hummus like Easy Artichoke Hummus or Roasted Eggplant Hummus.
- Offer tapenade as a dip with crackers or crostini.
- Stuff it into pita with hummus, cucumbers and tomatoes.
- Enjoy it as a sandwich spread with cream cheese or make an epic Italian Pressed Sandwich.
- Tapenade is super tasty with whipped feta.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Make Ahead? Yes Please! Make up to three days ahead of when needed.
- Relish or Spread? The main difference in consistency between a spread and relish is how long it spends being processed in the food processor. For a relish, pulse only a few times. For a spread, process until almost a paste forms.
- Variation: Olive tapendade tastes best with a mix of olives. I like Kalamata olives, black olives and buttery green olives in this recipe. Castelvetrano olives may be subbed, just be sure to remove the pits.
More Appetizers and Snacks to Love
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Habanero Carrot Salsa
- Mushroom Crostini with Goat Cheese
- Chipotle Black Bean Dip
- Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- Smoky Roasted Eggplant Hummus
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below as it helps others considering making this recipe. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag me @VanillaAndBean #VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in my stories!
Olive Tapenade Recipe
- 2 1/2 cup (345 grams) Mixed Pitted Olives such as Black, Kalamata, Green, drained
- 2 Tablespoons Capers drained
- 2 Tablespoons Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes drained
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano dried
- 4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Leaves chopped, or 1 Tbs dried
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil Leaves chopped, or 1 tsp dried
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice about 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- A few grinds of black pepper
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, add the olives, capers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper.
- For a relish, pulse a few times, then scrape down the bowl. Pulse a few more times, and the relish will be ready.
- For a chunky spread (pictured here), pulse up to 15-17 times, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times.
- For a spreadable tapenade, process until a paste is formed, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times.
- Garnish with parsley leaves and olive oil for drizzling. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up two weeks.