This black olive tapenade recipe is so darn easy and so tasty. What’s more? The food processor does 95% of the work. 🎉🎉🎉

A jar of homemade black olive tapenade.

I made this black olive tapenade to serve as an appetizer for a smaller gathering earlier this year, and I’ve since made it for a number of occasions since because it’s so darn easy and good. The food processor does 95% of the work: after 30 or so quick pulses, the recipe is nearly complete.

But the key, I think, to making a really good tapenade, lies in the care you take while completing the last 5% of the job: chopping a heap of parsley by hand.

Why is this important? If you rely on the food processor to chop all of the parsley, your finished tapenade will still taste delicious, but it will lack variety in color, and I find those pops of green punctuating the dark purée to be so visually appealing and, in turn, appetizing.

Stirring in the olive oil by hand, moreover, as opposed to while the food processor blade is whirring, also prevents the texture from turning to mush.

What to serve with olive tapenade?

Serve this tapenade with bread, of course, for a simple appetizer. It’s also nice with lamb.

Recently, I’ve been making slab sandwiches with the overnight focaccia, this tapenade, roasted red peppers, greens, and whipped honey goat cheese.

Or, you can serve it as part of an array of dips and spreads:

More Dips and Spreads

Can green olives be used in place of black olives?

Yes, absolutely! I typically use Kalamata olives here, but you can absolutely use green olives, such as Castelvetrano, in their place. Buy pitted olives to save yourself the trouble of having to pit the olives.

How do you store olive tapenade? And for how long?

Store olive tapenade in the refrigerator for 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving. If the parsley looks dull after the tapenade has spent a few days in the fridge, spruce it up by adding freshly chopped parsley.

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients:

An overhead shot of the ingredients to make black olive tapenade.

Place everything into the food processor with the exception of half of the parsley and the olive oil.

An overhead shot of a food processor holding the ingredients to make black olive tapenade.

Pulse until finely chopped but don’t let it turn to mush.

A food processor holding black olive tapenade.

Transfer to a bowl. Chop the remaining parsley by hand.

A bowl of black olive tapenade aside a chopping board with chopped parsley and a chef's knife.

Add the parsley and the olive oil, and stir to combine.

A bowl of black olive tapenade topped with a heap of freshly chopped parsley.

Serve or transfer to the fridge. Store for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

A bowl of black olive tapenade.

Slab sandwich: Roasted Red Peppers, whipped honey goat cheese, tapenade and greens:

A stack of sandwiches with black olive tapenade, roasted red peppers, whipped honey goat cheese, and lettuce.
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olive tapenade with capers and parsley

Olive Tapenade with Capers & Parsley


Description

A favorite spread to put out for guests, to smear over sandwich bread, and to eat straight up with a spoon, this tapenade is loaded with parsley, lemon and olive oil. You can tailor the heat to your liking by increasing or decreasing the pepper flakes as you please.

Olives: I typically use Kalamata olives here, but you can absolutely use green olives, such as Castelvetrano, in their place.

Roasted red peppers pair nicely with this tapenade as does whipped honey goat cheese. Serve with toasty bread or make a sandwich. Irresistible.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted black olives, such as Kalamata, see notes above
  • grated zest and juice of ½ to 1 lemon
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups (about) parsley, divided roughly into two 1-cup portions
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Pulse the olives, zest, juice of half a lemon, pepper flakes, garlic, capers, vinegar, and half of the parsley in the food processor until a coarse paste is formed—be sure to pulse to avoid turning the purée into complete mush. It may take 20 to 30 quick pulses.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Finely chop the remaining parsley, and stir it in. Stir in the olive oil. Taste; then adjust seasoning as necessary with more lemon, pepper flakes, or olive oil. I almost always end up using the remaining half lemon, and I always stir in more olive oil by the tablespoon until the mixture both looks and tastes right.
  3. Store olive tapenade in the refrigerator for 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving. If the parsley looks dull after the tapenade has spent a few days in the fridge, spruce it up by adding freshly chopped parsley.

  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: olive, tapenade, easy, spread, food, processor