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olive tapenade with capers and parsley

Olive Tapenade with Capers & Parsley


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.


  • 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


  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.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Greek

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