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.


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

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

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.

Green Olive Tapenade

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

What is Tapenade

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:

How to Make Tapenade

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

Tapenade Uses:

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


This flavorful tapenade is easy to make, and works well as an appetizer or accompaniment for roasted meats.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Keyword olive tapenade, tapenade
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 (makes about 1.25 cups)
Calories 56kcal
Author Joanne Ozug fifteenspatulas.com


  • 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: 3.9% | Vitamin C: 2.1% | Calcium: 1.1% | Iron: 1%