Green Olive Tapenade is one of the simplest appetizers to make. It’s also the perfect condiment to have on hand for olive lovers, as it can be added to, or spread on, many dishes for added flavor.
I first fell in love with olive tapenades in Provencial France, and this recipe is included in the series on How to Make an Easy Mediterranean Party Spread, which includes black olive tapenade, artichoke tapenade, and a jammy tomato and red pepper spread.
Ingredients for Green Olive Tapenade
There are so many, many reasons to love olive tapenade, and the list of simple ingredients is among them. With most (maybe all?) already in your pantry, you can whip up a batch whenever the craving strikes, or when you need the perfect last-minute appetizer.
Here are the list of ingredients you’ll need to make this briny olive tapenade:
- Green Olives – you can use your favorite green olives, but I love and recommend using Castelvetrano olives. They’re buttery and a little milder than other green olive varieties, which makes them perfect for the tapenade as they will suit many palates! Castelvetrano olives also give this tapenade their bright green hue; other varieties may have a more muted color. Cerignola olives are another option. Regardless of which olive you choose, remember the salt level will vary so be sure to taste test as I mention below.
- Anchovy Paste* – anchovies are a traditional ingredient when it comes to tapenades, they add a rich brininess that is classic, especially in the provincial region of France. If you are looking for a vegetarian or vegan version, see the notes below.
- Garlic – of course, we have garlic.
- Lemon Juice – as always, I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice! What a fresh brightness it adds to the tapenade!
- Olive Oil – to smooth out the tapenade. I recommend using high-quality olive oil, one that you enjoy the flavor of, since it will shine through in this no-cook recipe.
- Salt and Pepper – to taste!
How to Make Olive Tapenade
It can’t be said enough: you are going to LOVE how easy this 5-minute recipe is.
You will need a food processor for this recipe, or a blender, to combine all of the ingredients and create the tapenade texture, which is a spreadable, semi-coarse texture.
Making tapenade is as easy as placing all of the ingredients into the food processor, except for the olive oil. Then, pulse them until coarse crumb forms.
Once the mixture is started, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the olive mix as the food processor is running. This slightly emulsifies and brings the ingredients together into the spreadable tapenade texture.
Once the olive oil has been added to the tapenade, I recommend taste testing it and adjusting the salt and pepper levels to your desired amount. Of course, the olives and anchovies are salty as is, and you may not need to add any salt at all.
Ways to Use Tapenade
There are about a million and one ways to serve Green Olive Tapenade, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Again, because it’s ready in 5 minutes flat, it’s 100% my go-to appetizer for when friends drop by or when I need just one more thing to add to my cheeseboard.
Here are my favorite ways to serve this tapenade:
- On its own with crostini or sliced baguette
- On a charcuterie board
- At dinner with crusty sourdough bread alongside soup
- At a picnic – just store it in a jar and it’s ready!
- Smeared on sandwiches of roasted veggies or turkey
- On flatbreads or socca along with black olive tapenade, artichoke tapenade, and tomato spread (as we did in France – the best!)
- Tossed in warm pasta with burrata
- Spread over fish for an easy dinner
No matter how you serve it, I recommend bringing the olive tapenade to room temperature before serving to allow all of the flavor to shine through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! To make this recipe vegetarian (or vegan) you can substitute capers in place of the anchovies, or simply omit the anchovies and add additional salt to make up for the saltiness of the anchovies.
Absolutely! Not only is it easy to make last minute, but it’s easy to prepare ahead of time, too! Simply make as is, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. I recommend bringing to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.
Yep! Freeze in an airtight container, then thaw at room temperature or in the fridge when ready to use.
Get the Recipe Green Olive Tapenade
- In a food processor (I love my mini one for this recipe!) add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Pulse until combined in a coarse crumb, then gently drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached. You can make it as smooth as you'd like, however, it's best if not mushy, so leave a little bit of texture.
- Taste for salt level, then stir in additional salt and pepper to taste. You likely won't need much salt since the ingredients are pretty briny and salty themselves.
- Serve with baguette crisps, crackers, or veggies!