Enjoy this green olive tapenade made with savory sun-dried tomatoes, buttery toasted pine nuts, and garden fresh herbs finished off with a squeeze of lemon juice. The briny flavor is intensified with capers rather than anchovies.
Olive tapenade is incredibly easy to make at home and yields a much larger amount than the tiny jars available at supermarket. It's perfect for parties served as a dip, or on crusty bread as a bruschetta. Any leftovers make a great sandwich spread or pasta topper.
- Sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- Fresh basil
- Fresh Italian parsley
- Green olives
- Toasted pine nuts
- Fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil
Sun-dried tomatoes in oil really bring 2 ingredients to the party. The best part about using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes is the infused olive oil that comes in the jar. It adds an extra burst of tomato flavor and makes a great addition to pasta dishes, salad dressing, and dips like this tapenade.
If you can only find dry sun-dried tomatoes in a packet, you can still use them, but be sure to reconstitute them first so they are tender, not dry and chewy. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in hot, almost boiling water until they plump up, then dry them off and drizzle with olive oil before using.
Any type of green olive will work well for this recipe. I used Spanish Manzanilla olives, which are the olives you'll most commonly find on grocery store shelves. I recommend using pitted olives so you don't have to pit 100+ olives. Maybe set a few olives aside to whip up a dirty gin martini!
The type of green olive you use will also affect the color of the tapenade. The pimiento in the olives will add a red hue to the tapenade, along with the sun-dried tomatoes.
Capers are preserved flower buds from a perennial plant called the Capparis spinosa (or Flinders rose). They have an intense briny flavor with more bitterness than olives. Used in very small quantities, they help meld all the flavors in a recipe and add depth.
Capers are often used in place of anchovies in vegan cooking (like in Caesar salad dressing) or for those who can't or prefer not to eat fish. They add a similar flavor note with much less oil.
Toasted Pine Nuts
Pine nuts, also called pignoli in Italian cooking, are seeds found in pine cones. They have the zippy flavor of pine and a high fat content, making them almost buttery. They add a decadence to any dish and come with the price tag to match—luckily a small amount will do the trick!
Toasting pine nuts really brings out the flavor. To toast your pine nuts, heat up a skillet on the stove to medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and fragrant. Immediately remove them from the heat to avoid burning.
Place the sun-dried tomatoes, oil, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse to chop.Add the fresh herbs and pulse to chop.Add the green olives, capers, and pine nuts and pulse to chop.Add the lemon juice and black pepper and continue pulsing until desired texture is achieved.
Place the sun-dried tomatoes, oil, and garlic in a food processor.
Pulse to chop.
Add the fresh herbs and pulse to chop.
Add the lemon juice and black pepper.
Add the green olives, capers, and pine nuts and pulse to chop.
Continue pulsing until desired texture is achieved.
Hint: Using a food processor gives you control over how finely chopped or thick and chunky you'd like your tapenade (btw, this Cuisinart food processor is my fave!). I would not recommend using a blender—it will turn your tapenade to mush.
This tapenade recipe is incredibly versatile. Switch up the type of olives and seasonings for a variety of flavors.
- Spicy - add 1-2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes with the black pepper
- Kalamata- replace half of the green olives with kalamata olives
- Salad dressing - add 1 tablespoon to an oil and vinegar dressing for a boost of flavor in your salad
Aside from a basic chef's knife and cutting board to cut the lemon, a food processor is the only tool you'll need to make this recipe. I have an older version of this Cuisinart food processor, which has served me well for many years.
If you don't have a food processor, I would recommend chopping and mixing the ingredients by hand. A blender will chop the ingredients unevenly and make the tapenade mushy.
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks. The salt in the olives and capers will help preserve the tapenade, but the fresh herbs will go off if left too long.
- Avoid using a blender to prepare the tapenade, which will make it mushy. A food processor is best for this recipe.
- Serve the tapenade on toast triangles alongside other dips such as Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip.
Olive tapenade is excellent as a dip, on bruschetta or crackers, as a pasta topper, on pizza, or as a sandwich spread. Use it anywhere you'd enjoy olives!
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil plus 1 tablespoon of the oil
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ½ cup Italian parsley
- 1 ½ cups green olives
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the sun-dried tomatoes, oil, and garlic in a food processor, then pulse to chop.
- Add the fresh herbs and pulse to chop.
- Add the green olives, capers, and pine nuts and pulse to chop.
- Add the lemon juice and black pepper.
- Continue pulsing until desired texture is achieved.
- Serve the tapenade on toast triangles alongside other dips such as Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Spinach Artichoke Dip.
- Make sure to use a food processor to retain a chunky texture. Avoid using a blender, which will make the tapenade mushy.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks. The salt in the olives and capers will help preserve the tapenade.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons chili flakes along with the pepper for some kick.
- Replace half the green olives with kalamata olives for a different flavor.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 346mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on seitanbeatsyourmeat.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.