Easy Olive Tapenade


olive tapenade

Easy Olive Tapenade

Olive tapenade is something I don’t make very often. I’m not sure why because every time I do it gets used very quickly. While you can save time using pitted olives, I find they’re never as nice as olives with the stones still in.

takes: 15 minutes
makes: about 1 cup

2 handfuls olives
1 small clove garlic, optional
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice, to taste

1. Remove pits from olives and chop the flesh coarsely.

2. Transfer the chopped flesh to a bowl and stir in the garlic (if using), olive oil and about 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

3. Taste and add extra lemon if needed. Use straight away or store in a clean airtight jar in the fridge.


optional extras – add any or all of the following: 1 tablespoon capers, 1/4 small red onion finely chopped, 2-3 finely chopped anchovies.

tuna tapenade – toss in a small drained can of tuna in oil.

different olives – I’ve used large green sicilian olives in the picture but any olive will work. Again, the flavour and texture is better if you pit the olives yourself.

herby – a little thyme or oregano can add lovely freshness.

sun dried tomato tapenade – replace olives with sun or semi dried tomatoes.

smooth tapenade / short on time – whizz everything together in the food processor.

Usage Suggestions

with fish – surprisingly lovely with pan fried fish like this recipe.

as a dip – serve with crusty bread for a lovely starter.

as a sauce – lovely with pan fried or grilled lamb cutlets, steak, chicken breast or pork chops. For vegetarians try it with roast eggplant or mushrooms.

for breakfast – dollop on your favourite fried eggs.

Prepare Ahead?

Absolutely. Takes about 15 minutes.

Storage Best Practices

Store in a glass jar. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

olives, garlic, oil – pantry.

lemon – keeps in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.

Problem Solving Guide

too salty – extra oil can help.

bland – a little more lemon can help as can adding the optional extras suggested in the variations. Next time use olives from a different deli.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jules July 1, 2020

Made this with black Kalamata Olives (120g) and a small
Handful finely chopped parsley for extra freshness. Gorgeous big bold flavours that went perfectly with a BBQ steak and salad.

Was thinking I would want to add capers or anchovy but happy with the simple recipe as written.

Keen to make again with Ruba’s walnut suggestion


Ruba Homaidi August 1, 2014

I add walnuts and some chilli sauce to mine and omit the garlic, will try this next time


jules August 8, 2014

I like the idea to add nuts Ruba…
It’s funny I wouldn’t have thought of that.
Thanks for sharing!


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