Make Olive Tapenade for your next apéro when you don't feel like cooking. Easy and versatile, this will become your favorite salty snack. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I get a commission if you take advantage of the offer (thank you!).

Olive Tapenade: An easy, yet elevated, addition to your apéro

I love olives, and I always have them in my fridge. A few olives, maybe some prosciutto and some nuts, and you have a lovely apéro. Marinated Olives are welcome additions, but I also make Olive Tapenade.

This divine Provençal spread traditionally made from niçoise olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, and anchovies using a mortar and pestle. While the mortar and pestle makes a superior tapenade, when I’m feeling tired, the food processor does the job.

And, let’s face it, I’m tired. It was a week. I need easy snacks. So, to the food processor.

Use the olives you have on hand to make Olive Tapenade

As mentioned above, Olive Tapenade is made with niçoise olives, but it is very good with the olives you have on hand (Kalamata olives, which are much easier to find in the US, make an excellent substitute if you want to stick with black olives). You can use green or black olives for this, or a combination. Don’t use canned olives.

Obviously, it’s easier if you have pitted olives on hand, but pitting olives isn’t that hard if you don’t need them to look lovely, which you don’t for this. I primarily use olives in brine, but you could probably use olives packed in olive oil as well, just use less olive oil when you’re finishing your tapenade.

Olive Tapenade Ingredients
Add all this to the food processor, pulse until smooth, and you have your favorite salty snack

Anchovies or no anchovies

If you’re vegetarian, by all means, leave out the anchovies. If you aren’t and feel skeptical, hear me out. You aren’t going to taste anchovies. The little fishes lend something special to Olive Tampenade. If you do leave them out, do make sure to use the Dijon mustard.

Avoiding over saltiness

Reading the ingredients makes it clear that this is a salty snack. To avoid this becoming a salt lick, rinse the capers and make sure that you drain the olives carefully.

Not just for apéro

Olive Tampenade is more than just an addition to your apéro. Use leftovers on sandwiches, top roasted salmon or even eggs. Versatile Olive Tampenade will become a back-pocket recipe. Recipe below.

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Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade

This easy recipe makes for a perfect addition to your next apéro. Olive Tapanade, a traditional Provençal spread, is made with niçoise olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, and anchovies, using a mortar and pestle. This recipe isn't quite traditional, using olives that you have on hand and a food processor.
If you are vegetarian, or I can't convince you that anchovies take this from good to great, you can omit them. Do use the Dijon mustard if you leave them out. To avoid this becoming too salty, rinse the capers and make sure that the olives are drained.
Serve with crackers or bread. You can also use this in sandwiches or topping roasted salmon.
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Servings 1 cup


  • Food Processor makes this easier, but a mortar and pestle is more traditional


  • 1 cup olives, pitted and drained niçoise olives are traditional, but you can use the olives you have on hand. Do not use canned olives
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, finely chopped, optional see note for the Dijon mustard if ommiting
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard if not using the anchovies, do not omit this
  • olive oil as needed to make a paste


  • Add the olives, anchovies, and garlic to the food processor and process until they are very finely chopped. Scape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure even mixing.
  • Add the capers, and pulse again, then add the mustard and continue to process until the mixture becomes more of a paste, adding olive oil as needed to achieve the right consistency. Mixing this is the food processor will still result in a chunkier texture than a mortar and pestle, but try to get this as fine as possible
  • Serve with crackers or bread. Also wonderful in sandwiches and on roasted salmon.
    Olive Tapenade
Keyword olives, tapenade
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

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