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Olive Tapenade: the effortless recipe for an elegant party appetizer

Total time: 10 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist

Olive tapenade is a tasty Provençal spread that's perfect for parties. This beautiful savory, salty, garlicky dip has a gorgeous, saturated green color thanks to ingredients like green Castelvetrano olives and flat-leaf parsley.

It's a super simple recipe to prepare, which makes it ideal when you need a flavorful last-minute snack to serve guests. Mixed olive tapenade is great for parties or game day, especially with a selection of crackers, crostini, or artisan sourdough bread.

Serve it as part of a setup with hummus, guacamole, seven-layer dip, or hot crab dip. This delicious, healthy, easy-to-make dip is vegan-friendly, so you can serve it for any occasion. It's sure to be a hit!

Mixed Olive Tapenade Ingredients

Homemade olive tapenade only calls for a few ingredients.

You'll need some black Kalamata olives and green Castelvetrano olives, although you can use either one or the other or add in different types of olives if you prefer.

Capers and lemon juice enhance the tanginess of this tasty dip, while garlic adds a delicious flavor.

You'll also need some parsley and high-quality extra virgin olive oil – don't use the cheap stuff.

How to Make Olive Tapenade

Making homemade mixed olive tapenade couldn't be easier. If you haven't purchased olives with the pits removed, your first step will be to pit the olives. Put a small handful of olives onto your cutting board. Place a measuring cup, jar, or the flat edge of a large knife on top of them, then press down firmly. Remove the pits.

Once the pits have been removed, put all of your ingredients into your food processor. Pulse the mixture until it's finely chopped, then scrape the sides down with a spatula. Pulse the tapenade a few more times, until it reaches your preferred consistency, then go ahead and serve, and enjoy!

Olive Spread vs Relish

Tapenade is a type of savory spread made from olives, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, and occasionally, anchovies. It comes from Provence, in the South of France.

Relish is made from cooked and pickled fruits and vegetables that are finely chopped. Tapenade isn't cooked and is often used as a dip or sometimes as a condiment. Relish is mostly used as a condiment for sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs.

What to Serve with Mixed Olive Tapenade

There are loads of great ways to serve homemade olive tapenade. Enjoy it as a dip with crackers, pita bread, crostini or toast, or use it as a spread for sandwiches, wraps, or veggie burgers.


Tips for Homemade Olive Tapenade

If you can't find Kalamata olives, Nicoise olives are an excellent substitute.

For an ultra-savory authentic South of France-style olive tapenade, add an anchovy to the recipe.

Don't have any green olives? No problem. You can make olive tapenade using only Kalamata olives.

If you don't have a food processor, you can chop all the ingredients by hand. It'll take a little more time, but your olive tapenade will be just as tasty!

Your tapenade should be finely chopped, but not pureed. Pulse your food processor bit by bit so you can control how small your chop the ingredients.

How to Store Olive Tapenade

Keep your homemade olive tapenade in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

castelvetrano olives, pitted
1 cup
kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup
fresh flat-leaf parsley, packed lightly 
1/4 cup
capers, drained
1 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup
Garlic, minced
2 medium cloves
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp


Place all of the ingredients into your food processor.

Pulse several times, then scrape the sides of the food processor down with a spatula.

Continue pulsing until the ingredients are finely chopped. Serve.


Make sure to double-check that all of your olives have had the pits removed – you don't want to break a tooth while eating your tapenade.

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