This Mediterranean Olive Tapenade is a perfect mix of olives, capers, fresh herbs, and sundried tomatoes that will give any dish a delicious Mediterranean flavor. It's a great addition to bowls, salads, pasta, or sandwiches, or it can be served as a dip or a spread with crackers or dip.
Why This Recipe Works
Easy to make - Tapenade is a great condiment to always have on hand and it's super easy to make! All you have to chop everything up and mix it with olive oil and lemon juice. As the tapenade sits, the flavors only get better!
Packed with flavor - Olives and sundried tomatoes give any dish a ton of flavor and they go perfectly well together with the fresh herbs in this tapenade. You don't need much, even a little bit of the tapenade will add a ton of umami and salty flavor to any dish.
It has many uses - Tapenade has a ton of uses! You can add it to avocado toast, to sandwiches, bowls, salads, or pasta. It's also a great topping for meats and vegetables and it makes a delicious dip or spread.
Tapenade is a spread and condiment that's usually either finely chopped or pureed mix of olives, capers, and anchovies. This recipe also calls for sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and garlic. You can add the anchovies but I skipped them to keep this recipe vegan-friendly.
- Olives - The tapenade will only be as good as your olives. This is the star of the show so pick olives you really like! Kalamata are a great option but I like to keep the tapenade more colorful so I also add another variety.
- Sundried tomatoes - You want to use sundried tomatoes in oil here. Bonus points if they're in olive oil! Dry tomatoes can be soaked in hot water and used in a pinch but they won't add the same rich tangy flavor.
- Capers - Another layer of salty, savory, and umami flavor. I highly recommend adding these!
- Fresh herbs - The recipe calls for fresh oregano and parsley. The combination works really well here but you could also add fresh thyme. Dried herbs can be used in a pinch but won't add the same amount of flavor.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Quality olive oil is important here.
- Lemon juice - Always use freshly squeezed, it adds the best flavor! You can also use red wine vinegar if you don't have lemon juice but it won't add the same brightness. I also add lemon zest sometimes.
- Garlic - One grated raw garlic clove is all you need here. Don't worry, it won't be overpowering if you don't add too much but you can also add mashed Roasted Garlic if you prefer.
There are two ways to make the tapenade. You can either chop everything yourself or you can make it in a food processor. If you make it in a food processor, it will be much more blended and smooth. If you chop everything yourself, the tapenade will have more texture.
Chopping everything takes longer than using a food processor but it's my favorite way to make an olive tapenade and I highly recommend it. You get a little bit of everything and you can see all the ingredients in every bite just like in fresh salsa.
Add all the chopped ingredients to a bowl along with grated garlic and mix everything together well. I recommend grating the garlic because it distributes the flavor into the tapenade the best way. You can mince it or use a garlic press if needed but grating it on a microplane yields the best results.
Serving and Storing
How to serve it:
You can add this tapenade to practically anything you'd normally add olives to but below are four of my favorite ways to eat it.
- Bread - try it on avocado toast or in sandwiches
- Salads and bowls - Mix it into the dressing or add on top
- Spaghetti - add it to sauces for extra Mediterranean olive flavor
- Appetizer - serve it as a dip with crackers or bread along with other dips
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 4 days.
Yes! Classic tapenade is made with anchovies but I skipped them here to keep the recipe 100% vegan. You can always add them if you wish!
I don't recommend it. The olives are going to be too mushy once you defrost them. The tapenade is best served fresh.
The condiment originated in the Provence region of Southern France. It comes from the French word "tapenas" which means capers. It's traditionally served on bread as a spread or with fish or vegetables.
If you're looking for more dips that are perfect served as appetizers, check out the four below! The roasted garlic hummus is especially delicious! To see all the latest ones, head over to the Dips, Dressings, and Spreads category.
Mediterranean Olive Tapenade
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: No-cook
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Vegan
This Mediterranean Olive Tapenade is a delicious addition to any dish and is the perfect way to add a Mediterranean flavor to your meal.
- 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 cup green olives, pitted (or mixed olives - whatever you prefer)
- ½ cup tightly packed sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 2 heaping tablespoon capers
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Chop the kalamata olives, green olives, sundried tomatoes, and capers. You can chop them roughly or finely, depending on the texture you prefer. Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor but for more texture, I highly recommend chopping everything yourself.
- Add the chopped olives, sundried tomatoes, and capers to a mixing bowl with chopped fresh parsley and fresh oregano.
- Grate in one clove of garlic using a microplane (or add minced garlic if you don’t have a microplane grater).
- Add olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and black pepper.
- Toss everything together until well combined.
- Serve the tapenade with crackers or toasted bread as an appetizer, and add it to salads, bowls, or as a garnish for dips.
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Keywords: tapenade, mediterranean tapenade
I usually blend my tapenade in a food processor but I loved the texture of this one, it really worked with the sundried tomatoes. A new favorite for sure!