Easy homemade olive tapenade to serve as a party appetizer over bruschetta or with crackers.
This recipe is without anchovies, making it vegan-friendly.
What is a tapenade?
Tapenade is a spread prepared with black or green olives.
It's a condiment from the Provence in South France, where olives and Mediterranean food are a tradition.
Traditionally, olives are ground in a stone mortar and pestle with other ingredients.
- olives - I used green, but black ones are fine too. Try to get Kalamata olives if you can!
- garlic - fresh
- lemon juice - freshly squeezed
- olive oil - extra virgin if possible
- salt and black pepper
- herbes de provence - if you don't have that, you can still make it with thyme but it will taste slightly different.
A french tapenade consists usually also of anchovies and capers.
I skip the anchovies and capers because I like it without and you can cater to more guests that way because it's a vegan condiment.
But you can add to this recipe 1-2 tbsp ground anchovies or 1 tbsp capers if you like.
You could also add sun-dried tomatoes and a few drops of balsamic vinegar to your tapenade to enhance it further.
I think adding fresh cilantro can be also a great choice, if you are into cilantro.
I tried adding some curry powder once to make a curried tapenade. It was mind-blowing!
How to make a tapenade from scratch?
Choose if you want to grind your olives in a stone mortar and pestle or in a food processor.
Here is an overview of how it's done in a mortar and pestle. The complete recipe with a food processor option is located further below. The video is the pop-up.
Crush and grind olives and garlic in your mortar and pestle, coarse or smooth.
Place ground olives and garlic into a mixing bowl and combine with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and herbes de provence.
Cut some freshly baked soft baguette bread into slices and spread the olive tapenade over it. You can see that in my pictures.
You can also serve up tapenade spread over bruschetta or crostini bread. Just like Spanish tapas!
A great addition to that can be goat cheese or cream cheese with the olive tapenade on a pretty looking bread.
Serve these canape amuse bouche bites to entertain your party guests.
New Years', Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Easter are great occasions for small bite-sized appetizers.
For the rest of the year, you can choose to make tapenade nonetheless and stuff your sandwich with it.
Or serve it up as a dip with crackers or chips for a healthier tv snack.
You can easily store your olive tapenade in an airtight container in your fridge. It's good for at least 2 weeks!
In fact, I think it turns out better when left to marinate in the fridge.
You can also help yourself to prep ahead by freezing your tapenade.
In that case, prepare smaller batches and freeze.
Leave to thaw in the fridge over night.
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Olive Tapenade Recipe
- Pit your olives. Some olive varieties are easier to pit than others. Help yourself with a knife. Keep pitted olives together, discard pit.
- Decide if you want to use a mortar and pestle or a food processor. *see Notes
Mortar and Pestle
- Place olives into mortar and pestle with garlic and grind to desired consistency. It's easier to use a stone grinder, a ceramic grinder will result in a coarse tapenade (see pics).
- Place ground olives and garlic into a mixing bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and herbes de provence.
- Mix to a well-combined condiment.
- Serve up or store for later.
- Place all the ingredients together into a food processor. Olives, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and herbes de provence.
- Mix to desired consistency to a well-combined condiment.
- Serve up or store for later.
- mortar and pestle or food processor