This easy Mediterranean Olive Tapenade Recipe is the perfect condiment to sandwiches, accompaniment to grilled meats, or dip for raw veggies. It is ready to eat in 2 minutes!
Mediterranean cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and vibrant ingredients, and one iconic dish that captures the essence of this culinary tradition is olive tapenade. With origins rooted in the coastal regions of Greece, Italy, and France, tapenade is a versatile condiment that has become a beloved staple in kitchens around the world. This savory spread showcases the rich and briny flavors of olives blended to a spread or dip that awakens the palate. Whether used as a dip for crusty bread or as a topping for grilled meats or roast vegetables, this offers an explosion of Mediterranean flavors that transports you to sun-kissed shores with every bite.
How often do you see one ingredient recipes floating around the internet? Not too often, in my opinion. Almost anything with just one ingredient is too simple to even bother sharing. But this Mediterranean Olive Tapenade is one of the recipes that folks might overlook and not realize the simplicity in preparation.
This incredibly easy tapenade recipe is low carb, keto, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, whole30, paleo, sugar-free, and Trim Healthy Mama friendly.
Kalamata Olives - Kalamata olives have so much flavor on their own, salty, briny, and tangy, that they don't need anything else added. I offer plenty of ideas and variations below the how-to photos if you want to jazz this up a bit.
How to Make Mediterranean Olive Tapenade
When you can take just one quality ingredient and turn it into something different and delicious I consider that a win.
Step One: Add the pitted olives to a food processor. Pulse until they are chopped.
Extra virgin olive oil - Add a splash for flavor. Extra virgin olive oil is a high-quality, unrefined oil that is extracted from olives. It is known for its distinct flavor and numerous health benefits. Due to its low acidity levels and minimal processing, extra virgin olive oil is considered the purest form of olive oil. It contains beneficial antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation.
Lemon juice - Lemon juice is a tangy and refreshing addition to tapenade. It is widely known for its high acidity and distinctive sour taste. Lemon juice is commonly used as a natural flavoring agent in various culinary dishes and beverages, including cocktails, salad dressings, sauces, and marinades.
Red peppers - Red peppers and garlic add a bold and flavorful kick to any dish. The combination of black pepper and fresh basil leaves adds an aromatic and fragrant element to the mix. And let's not forget the savory addition of black olives, which bring a rich and briny taste to the overall flavor profile. Together, these ingredients create a tantalizing medley that will elevate any culinary creation to new heights.
Garlic - Garlic, a versatile and pungent herb, is widely used in culinary practices worldwide. Known for its strong flavor and distinct aroma, garlic adds depth and complexity to a variety of dishes. Not only does it enhance the taste of food, but garlic also offers numerous health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants that help boost the immune system and combat oxidative stress. Additionally, garlic has been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for fighting infections. Whether roasted, sautéed, or minced, garlic is a staple ingredient that brings both flavor and wellness to any meal.
Black pepper - Black pepper is a commonly used spice that adds flavor and heat to various dishes. It comes from the pepper plant, which is native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia. The small, black peppercorns are actually dried berries that have been harvested when they are still green. They have a pungent aroma and a slightly spicy taste that can enhance the flavor of both savory and sweet dishes. Black pepper is often used in cooking as well as in marinades, rubs, and dressings. Additionally, it has been recognized for its potential health benefits, such as improving digestion and acting as an antioxidant. Overall, black pepper is a versatile spice that adds depth and complexity to a wide range of culinary creations.
Fresh basil leaves - Fresh basil leaves are a staple in many Mediterranean and Italian dishes, known for their distinct aroma and flavor. These vibrant green leaves have a slightly sweet and peppery taste that adds depth to any recipe. Whether used in pasta sauces, pesto or as a garnish on top of pizzas and salads, fresh basil leaves elevate the overall taste profile of the dish. Additionally, they are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin K, manganese, and vitamin A, making them not just delicious but also highly nutritious.
Black olives - If you don't like kalamata olives you can sub in regular black olives or any other pitted olive you enjoy.
If tossing some olives in the food processor and giving them a whirl seems too simple for your tastes you should try my Mediterranean Cheese Spread instead. Or go ahead and make both. That's what I did on one day of recipe testing a couple of months ago. I made this olive tapenade recipe and then made the Mediterranean cheese spread without even cleaning out the food processor.
What is a tapenade?
Tapenade is simply chopped olives with or without other added ingredients.
Tapenade (French pronunciation: [tapəˈnad], Occitan: tapenada[tapeˈnadɔ]) is a Provençal dish consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, and olive oil. Its name comes from the Provençal word for capers, tapenas (pronounced [taˈpenɔs]). It is a popular food in the south of France, where it is generally eaten as an hors d'œuvre spread on bread, but sometimes it is used to stuff poultry for a main course. Source: Wikipedia.
How to serve tapenade?
This olive tapenade recipe is the perfect accompaniment to fresh veggies in the summer or to go on top of grilled fish or Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs. It also pairs extremely well with my Lemon Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe.
If you want a low carb bread option to serve with this try my Keto Focaccia.
- 3 cups kalamata olives
- spices, herbs, olive oil, etc if desired
- Add the olives to a food processor. Pulse until they are chopped.
- Store in the refrigerator.
Originally Published June 12, 2018. Revised and Republished July 24, 2023.
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