Easy Green Olive Tapenade Paleo And Vegan

This green olive tapenade recipe is bright, bold, briny, tangy, and zesty with umami flavor. Discover how easy it is to whip up this delight in your kitchen and use it for meets, pasta, and spreads. 

This olive-based spread, awash with vibrant flavors, has become a staple in my array of appetizer ideas. Its simplicity and flavor depth echo French food culture’s rustic charm and culinary sophistication. 

What is Tapenade?

If you haven’t heard about tapenade, a traditional tapenade is a provençal dish from the Mediterranean region, particularly in Provence, in southern France. It is a savory spread or condiment made primarily from olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil, herbs, and spices. The ingredients are typically crushed or blended to create a thick, flavorful paste or sauce.

While green olive tapenade is one of the most common varieties, It can also be made with black olives or a combination of green and black olives. Adding anchovies (optional) provides a salty richness to the Tapenade, while capers contribute a tangy flavor.

Tapenade is incredibly versatile and can be used in various ways in cooking. It can be spread on bread or crackers as an appetizer, used as a topping for grilled meats or fish, stirred into pasta dishes, or incorporated into salad dressings and marinades.

Health Benefits of Olives

Enthusiasts of the Mediterranean diet often tout green olives for their health benefits, and rightfully so. Embracing these savory delights is more than a matter of taste; it’s a wise decision for well-being. Green olives are packed with oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat linked to heart health. This beneficial fat contributes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and supports cardiovascular function.

Rich in antioxidants, green olives can combat oxidative stress and may help fend off chronic diseases. One of the antioxidants found abundantly in olives is vitamin E, known for its role in skin health and immune function. Fiber also appears in green olives, aiding digestive health and potentially helping with weight management by fostering feelings of fullness.

Minerals such as iron and copper also play a role. Iron is crucial for creating hemoglobin in red blood cells, and copper works in tandem with iron to ensure proper enzymatic functions and energy production. Another key component of green olives is their anti-inflammatory properties, attributed to compounds like oleocanthal, which may reduce pain and inflammation like ibuprofen.

Incorporating this culinary staple of the Mediterranean diet into daily meals contributes to a balanced and healthful eating pattern, paving the way for a vibrant lifestyle. Their richness in crucial nutrients makes green olives a great addition to any diet focused on longevity and vitality.

List of Ingredients for Traditional Olive Tapenades

In this recipe, I used a combination of olives.

  • Green Olives: For the base, select pitted, high-quality green olives with a firm texture and vibrant taste.
  • Kalamata olives: I added them because I like them a lot. But you can skip them if you want.
  • Capers: Integrate capers for their sharp, briny flavor that contrasts the olives.
  • Garlic: Include fresh garlic cloves to add a pungent depth of flavor. Adjust the amount to taste.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Use a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil for a smooth spread and authentic taste.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Squeeze in fresh lemon juice to brighten the dish and balance the richness of the olives and oil.
  • Lemon Zest: Fore additional flavor.
  • Anchovy Paste of Fillets: Anchovy fillets are often blended in for those who favor traditional recipes. Vegans may omit this.
  • Fresh Herbs: Blend in herbs like fresh basil or fresh parsley. These deliver freshness and complement the Mediterranean profile.
  • Ground Black Pepper: A pinch of black pepper for a subtle heat.

How to Make Easy Geen Olive Tapenade

  1. Combine the Ingredients: Add the olives, capers, garlic, and basil to a food processor. Pulse a few times until coarsely combined. 
  2. Season and Refine: Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil, then pulse again to mix. Season with salt and black pepper. Taste as you go and adjust accordingly.
  3. Achieve the Ideal Texture: If the mixture is too chunky, add a bit more olive oil and pulse briefly. Aim for a spreadable consistency without turning it into a puree.
  4. Final Taste Test: Give one more taste check and tweak your seasoning if needed. The balance between salty, tangy, and herby notes is what makes the tapenade shine.

This simple recipe of the perfect green olive tapenade balances salty, savory, and slightly acidic notes, delivering a robust Mediterranean flair. Texturally, it should be finely chopped but not pureed, offering a spreadable consistency that still retains some bite. For a silkier texture, blend the ingredients longer. 

Variations Of Tapanades

  1. Black Olive Tapenade: Black olives can be used instead of or in addition to green olives to create a tapenade with a darker color and slightly different flavor profile. Black olive tapenade tends to have a richer, earthier taste than its green olive counterpart.
  2. Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade: Sun-dried tomatoes can be substituted for or added to olives to create a tangy and slightly sweet variation of Tapenade. This is particularly delicious when paired with Italian herbs such as basil and oregano.
  3. Artichoke Tapenade: Artichoke hearts add a creamy texture and subtle flavor to Tapenade. Combine them with olives, capers, and garlic for a unique twist on the traditional recipe. This variation is especially delightful when spread on crostini or as a vegetable dip.
  4. Almond Tapenade: Toasting almonds adds a nutty crunch and extra depth of flavor to tapenade. Simply blend almonds with olives, capers, and other ingredients until smooth or chunky, depending on preference.
  5. Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade: Roasted red peppers bring sweetness and smokiness to Tapenade, complementing the briny flavor of olives and capers. Combine roasted red peppers with garlic, olive oil, and herbs for a vibrant and flavorful spread.
  6. Mediterranean Tapenade: Incorporate additional Mediterranean ingredients such as roasted garlic, feta cheese, and pine nuts for a Mediterranean-inspired tapenade bursting with flavor. Serve it alongside crusty bread or as a topping for grilled vegetables.
  7. Spicy Tapenade: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add crushed red pepper flakes, diced jalapeños, or a splash of hot sauce to the tapenade mixture. This variation adds a fiery kick to the spread, perfect for spice lovers.

Pairing Tapenade with Other Foods

  • Crostini: Slather the Tapenade on slices of toasted bread for a classic Italian antipasto.
  • Vegetable Dip: Use it as a dip for fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, or cucumber sticks for a healthy snack.
  • Sandwich Spread: Elevate sandwiches or paninis by incorporating Tapenade into the mix for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Salad Dressing: Whisk Tapenade with olive oil and a splash of lemon juice to create a unique salad dressing.
  • Stuffed Poultry: Stuffed chicken breasts with Tapenade and a slice of mozzarella for a Mediterranean-inspired dish.
  • Pasta Toss: Mix it into pasta with fresh herbs for a simple yet tantalizing weeknight meal.
  • Charcuterie Boards: Feature Tapenade alongside cheeses, cured meats, and fruits to complement a range of textures and tastes.

Storing Your Green Olive Tapenade

To store this easy Tapenade, transfer it into an airtight container and refrigerate. Properly stored, Tapenade can last up to one week, maintaining its flavor and freshness. Before serving, allow it to come to room temperature for optimal taste and texture.

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Easy Green Olive Tapenade Paleo And Vegan

Easy Green Olive Tapenade Paleo And Vegan

This green olive tapenade recipe is bright, bold, briny, tangy, and zesty with umami flavor. Discover how easy it is to whip up this delight in your kitchen and use it for meets, pasta, and spreads. 
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Course: Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine: French, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: Green oilve tapenade, Green olive recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 6 oz Green olives
  • 3 oz Kalamaa olives
  • 2 oz Capers
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 oz Basil Fresh
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • Black pepper To taste


  • Place all of the ingredients for tapenade in the food processor and process to a coarse paste, without letting it get mushy. (You can store the tapenade in the fridge for up to three days.)

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