Here we go! Black Olive Tapenade is kicking us off in the How to Make an Easy Mediterranean Party Spread! Or appetizer spread! Or snack spread! Or…you get the idea.

nicoise olive tapenade on tray with baguette

First things first: Black Olive Tapenade. Should we discuss the blaring question?

What is Tapenade?

It’s a Provencal word basically meaning of a mix of olives, capers, and olive oil as the main ingredients. And it’s super delicious spread on little baguette toast* cracker thingies or homemade crostini.

nicoise olive tapenade up close in bowl

As we made our way into Provence during our time in France, we were met with more and more tapenades as we sat down at tables to dine. It started out with just a black olive tapenade, then the addition of green olives…

Regardless of which kind we were served, they were full of flavor, but not overly pungent or as briny, as some I’d had back in the states.

It was Provence, after all, so of course, the tapenades would be top-notch.

nicoise olive tapenade on tray with crostini

Eventually, we had not only the traditional olive tapenades but later on, an artichoke tapenade and a lovely tomato and red pepper spread too. More on those later!

Traditional Black Olive Tapenade

Between the black and green tapenades, the black definitely felt like the more traditional of the two. Served before many meals while we were in Nice, it was such a delightful surprise!

Made with Niçoise olives, it was less pungent and briny than if it had been made with Kalamata olives. A much-preferred tapenade for my taste buds!

I suppose Niçoise olives (the color of Kalamata olives) isn’t the same as black olives per se, however, they’re definitely what’s used in Provencial France and the only way to go in my book.

tapenade with nicoise olives ingredients

Tapenades also traditionally have the addition of anchovies. They add a perfect amount of umami and salt. I use anchovy paste* for convenience sake; you could use anchovy filets OR if you’re looking for a vegan option, leave them out (but maybe add a few more capers in its place).

Everything is put together in a food processor, blended up, and ready to go! I have an inkling that you’re going to have a lot of tapenades in your future too…

Up Next: Green Olive Tapenade!

black olive tapenade with baguette crisps on tray
nicoise olive tapenade on tray with baguette
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Get the Recipe Black Olive Tapenade

Black Olive Tapenade is an easy-to-make spread that is a simple appetizer in itself or a briny addition to a cheese plate!



  • In a food processor (love a mini food processor for this!) add the olives, anchovy paste, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and pepper. Pulse until combined, slowly adding a bit of olive oil. Depending on how liquidy your olives are, you may want more or less olive oil.
  • Adjust for taste – it is briny. Do not add salt (unless of course, you like really extra briny/salty things). 
  • Serve with crackers, bread, or veggies!


Vegan: to make without anchovy paste, substitue in 1/4 tsp (~7-8) capers, rinsed. You can omit completely and just use the olives, too, but it will be less umami/briny then.
A great place to find Niçoise olives in in the olive bar at your local grocer; you can find them in the jarred section. Since Niçoise olives are less pungent than Kalamta, you don’t want to use them as a replacement (unless of course you want the extra pungent flavor).
Calories: 157kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 803mg, Potassium: 56mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 371IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg
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plate of mediterranean spreads with spoons and bruschetta toasts