I’ll bet you didn’t know that Olive Tapenade, which is full of chopped briny mixed olives, capers, and anchovies, is listed as one of the world’s healthiest foods! Not only that, but you can easily whip up a batch in ten minutes flat. Besides being a flavorful dip or spread, it also makes a terrific holiday or hostess gift.
Just tie a ribbon around the jar and add a box of crackers or a baguette, put in a pretty basket or gift bag, and you have a perfect gift. So don’t stress out trying to come up with gift ideas for your family and friends; make a batch of this delicious delicacy today!
Here’s what you will need:
You only need a few ingredients: pitted mixed olives, anchovy paste or anchovies, garlic, capers, basil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. And, it’s optional, but if you have preserved lemons, add a few slices.
Here’s how to make it:
Gather your ingredients and rinse the olives well in a colander under cold running water.
Place all ingredients in your food processor.
Pulse to combine and continue pulsing until the tapenade is a consistency you like. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. I like to leave mine fairly chunky.
How to use it:
Not only can you use tapenade as a delicious briny appetizer topping for crackers or toasted baguette slices, but you can also use it as a topping for your fish or chicken dishes or as a super flavorful addition to salads or salad dressings.
Add tapenade to mayonnaise, and you have a yummy tapenade aioli, or add a little to olive oil, and you have a great dip for crusty bread. I’ve even topped a pizza with it.
Tapenade keeps well in your refrigerator, and it’s the appetizer that keeps on giving. Try adding it to deviled eggs, hummus, soups, or stews. The list goes on and on.
Anchovies – yes or no?
I know some of you are a little hesitant about adding anchovies to this dish. But, fear not, these tiny salt-cured fish add a wonderful umami depth of flavor to the tapenade. If you are dead set against it, leave it out, and we can still be friends, but I do hope you will trust me on this one.
I like to use anchovy paste in a tube, which can be found right next to the canned anchovies in the grocery store. The taste is the same, you don’t have any waste, and it’s easy to store in your refrigerator.
Once it’s made, transfer the mixture to gift jars or a bowl and keep it covered in the refrigerator. As long as you keep it covered and refrigerated, your tapenade should last about as long as the “best used by date” on the olives you purchased.
If making tapenade as a spread, finely chop everything in your food processor. If you like a chunkier consistency, more like a relish, pulse it a few times.
I used mixed olives in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever kind of olives you like. You can use kalamata olives, black olives, or green olives to make your tapenade.
Most grocery stores have olive bars now, and if your’s does, I recommend using it and buying whatever kind you prefer. It’s much easier and less wasteful than having to buy several jars of olives.
If you like olives as we do, I think you might also enjoy these popular recipes:
- Bruschetta with Citrus Roasted Olives and Burrata
- Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta, Olives and Pine Nuts
- How to Make a Relish Tray
- Cast Iron Breakfast Skillet
- Slow Cooker Mediterranean Beef Roast
- Mediterranean Grouper
- Mardi Gras Hot Muffaletta Dip
- Skillet Mediterranean Chicken Bake
- Easy Mediterranean Fettuccini
If you need more menu ideas or recipes for appetizers, you can see all of my recipes here, or check out these roundup posts: 47 Fun & Festive Christmas Holiday Party Appetizers and 41 Quick and Easy Game Day Snacks and Appetizers.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Olive Tapenade Recipe
- 1 pound mixed pitted olives
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste or 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup capers drained
- 4 fresh basil leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Optional: preserved lemon peel finely minced
- Rinse the olives well in a colander under cold running water.
- Place all ingredients in your food processor. Pulse to combine and continue pulsing until the tapenade is a consistency you like. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. I like to leave mine fairly chunky.
- Transfer to gift jars or a bowl and keep covered in the refrigerator. As long as you keep it covered and refrigerated, your tapenade should last about as long as the "best used by date" on the olives you purchased.