Olive Tapenade is an easy accompaniment that works well as an appetizer or cheese board component, or as a side to main entree meats like roast chicken.

Tapenade is so, so under appreciated, if you ask me.

Tapenade - In a Brown Bowl with Bread Slices and Olives

Not only is tapenade really flavorful and delicious, but it takes just 5-10 minutes to prepare, keeps well, and is very flexible in accommodating different types of olives and ingredients as you like.

Truthfully, much of the time I use it as a “dinner cheat” on tired nights, when I’ll make a simple roasted chicken and a simple side, and mix together this punchy tapenade as a way to give everything lots of flavor.

It never gets old for us.

No joke, sometimes my husband eats this tapenade with a spoon because he loves it so much, proclaiming each time “that’s so good.”

Tapenade Recipe - Presented Spread on Baguette Slice on Board

How to Make Tapenade:

Tapenade is simple, and its deliciousness depends quite a bit on the quality of the ingredients you use, so keep that in mind.

This is not the time where I use the cheap olives that come in a can.

For this recipe, you need quality olives, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes:

Olive Tapenade Recipe Ingredients on a Cutting Board with Olive Oil, Garlic, Pepper Flakes, Olives, and Parsley

You may use whatever type of quality olive you prefer, but I do recommend using at least some Castelvetrano Olives, which I have recently become obsessed with.

They used to be hard to find in the US, but now I see a couple of different brands carrying them at the grocery.

I like to pair them with some lecino olives as well, but I’ve done castelvetrano-only versions of tapenade and it’s fantastic.

Other olives I enjoy are kalamatas and Nicoise, but it can be fun to take a trip to the olive bar, try a bunch, and see what your personal favorites are.

How to Pit Olives for Tapenade: A lot of olives aren’t available pitted (including castelvetranos), but olives are easy to pit yourself.

I previously used this cherry and olive pitter tool (affiliate), but never found it easy to use.

What I like to do instead is give each olive a whack with a meat hammer (affiliate), and the pits come right out.

Pitting Green Olives by Smashing with meat Mallet

Place all the ingredients into a food processor, making sure to chop the garlic first:

Adding Olive Oil to Mini Food Processor Bowl with Olives, Parsley, Garlic, and Pepper Flakes

This gives the garlic a head start in breaking down.

You only want to pulse and chop a few times, until the olive pieces are small, but not completely pureed:

Olive Tapenade Recipe - In a Mini Food Processor Bowl

It ultimately is personal preference, but I love having a coarser texture.

The tapenade is now ready to enjoy, and there are quite a few ways to use it.

Olive Tapenade - In a Brown Bowl with Baguette Slices in Background

Tapenade Uses:

Other olive dishes on my site are Chicken CacciatoreMediterranean Quinoa Salad, and Greek Zucchini Salad. Enjoy!

Tapenade In a Brown Bowl with Bread Slices and Olives


This flavorful tapenade is easy to make, and works well as an appetizer or accompaniment for roasted meats.

Leave a Review »


  • 1 cup castelvetrano olives pitted
  • 1/2 cup lecino olives pitted
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (high-quality)
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Feel free to use other types of high-quality olives in this recipe. You can use any mix of olives totaling 1.5 cups.


Calories: 56kcal, Fat: 6g, Sodium: 264mg, Potassium: 11mg, Vitamin A: 195IU, Vitamin C: 1.7mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.