Olive Tapenade (Mediterranean Olive Spread)

Get excited to try your hand at my recipe for olive tapenade! This classic Mediterranean dish combines briny olives, salty capers, savory anchovies, and pungent garlic into one absolutely divine dip. Vibrant lemon juice and fresh parsley are also added, brightening the olive spread even further.

Olive Tapenade in a bowl with pita chips

Mediterranean cuisine is one of my favorites along the Silk Road. This region of the world offers undeniably amazing food, and today’s recipe for olive tapenade is a prime example of this fact. 

This traditional condiment is deeply flavorful and surprisingly easy to make. Every single ingredient, from the olives to the anchovies, offer a uniquely powerful punch. You end up with an olive spread that is brimming over with earthy, briny, bright, and umami tones. 

Whether you are looking for a fresh, easy appetizer idea or in search of a new go-to condiment to have on hand, this tapenade is the winning ticket. If it’s more mouthwatering dips and spreads you want, try out this White Bean Hummus, Skordalia Recipe (Potato and Garlic Dip), or Authentic Tzatziki Recipe (Gyro Sauce).

dipping bread into Olive Tapenade

INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS 

  • Olives – This recipe calls for both standard black pitted olives and your choice of green or black brine-cured olives. I like to opt for Manzanilla, mission, or kalamata.  
  • Anchovies – Super salty, flavorful little fish. Either anchovy paste or anchovy filets will do the trick and can be found by the tuna in the grocery store. 
  • Capers – These little briney berries add a bright, lemony pop.
  • Parsley – Offers beautiful color and a fresh, vegetal flavor.
  • Garlic – Adds a pungent, spicy kick. 
  • Lemon Juice – Contributes bright, vibrant tanginess and acidity. 
  • Black Pepper – Freshly ground peppercorns add deep, smoky, earthy tones.
  • Oil – Olive oil enhances the flavor and helps to incorporate other flavors. 
  • Baguette Slices – I like to start with a sourdough baguette, but feel free to use your favorite variety of bread. 
  • Pita Chips – For serving, choose traditional pita chips or your favorite variety of dipping chips or crackers.
ingredients to make Olive Tapenade

HOW TO MAKE OLIVE TAPENADE

1. Prepare Olives. Ensure that all the olives have been thoroughly pitted and drained. All together, you should have 1.5 cups of olives. Put the olives in the food processor. 

2. Combine Ingredients. Place the olives in the food processor, along with the anchovy paste (or filets), capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and black pepper. Pulse everything together several times until coarsely chopped.  

3. Blend in the Oil. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides before adding in the oil. Pulse several more times to form a chunky paste, scraping down the sides as you go. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the tapenade at room temperature for serving.

platter filled with bread chips and Olive Tapenade

4. Prepare Baguette Slices. Set the oven to broil and prepare a small baking tray. Slice your baguette into desired thickness, sprinkle with olive oil and salt, and place in the oven for several minutes or until golden brown. 

5. Serve. Allow the baguette slices to cool slightly before enjoying with the olive spread and pita chips.

side view of Olive Tapenade on a plate

What Is Olive Tapenade Good On?

This savory spread is delicious as is on some toasted baguette slices, crusty bread, pita chips, crackers, or fresh vegetable slices. I also recommend trying it alongside other classic Mediterranean dips like Creamy Chickpea Dip, Melitzanosalata (Creamy Eggplant Dip), or Homemade Tahini Dip

Don’t feel like you have to stop there — this tasty olive spread is way more versatile than you may realize! Branch out and try this mouthwatering condiment in your favorite dishes. It’s truly impossible to go wrong.

Tapenade is dynamite when used for a focaccia or pizza topping or as a flavorful filler for stuffed mushrooms. Mix some into your next batch of pasta sauce, polenta, gnocchi or rice dish for a fun flavorful twist. Sometimes, I add some to my sandwiches and wraps for a serious flavor boost. 

Where Did Olive Tapenade Originate?

This delicious blend of olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spices has its origins in the Southern part of France, particularly the region of Provence. The word tapenade actually comes from the Provencal term for capers, tapenas.

How Do I Store Leftover Tapenade?

This recipe is so delicious, we rarely have leftovers. However, in the event that you have some olive spread to save, simply store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will stay good for up to 2 weeks. 

You can also freeze extra tapenade for up to 3 months. Once ready to enjoy again, be sure to mix well after defrosting. 

adding Olive Tapenade to bread
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Olive Tapenade (Mediterranean Olive Spread)

Olive tapenade is a rich, savory Mediterranean condiment, spread or dip made with diced brined olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, and herbs. Make your own in just 10 minutes!
Servings: 12
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Serve

  • Toasted baguette slices
  • pita chips

Instructions 

  • Make sure both olives are drained and pitted. You should have 1.5 cups total. Transfer to a food processor with anchovy paste (filets), capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and black pepper. Pulse several times until coarsely chopped.
  • Scrape sides with spatula and add olive oil. Pulse several more times until a chunky paste forms, scraping sides as needed. Season to taste with salt and serve at room temperature.
  • To make baguette slices. Slice (sourdough) baguette and place on baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning salt. Place under broiler and toast until golden brown (several minutes). Let cool and serve with tapenade.

Notes

  1. Any green or black cured, brined olives work here. I prefer to use Manzanillo, mission, and/or kalamata olives.

Nutrition

Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 173IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: appetizers
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
ready to serve Olive Tapenade in a bowl

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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