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Homemade Olive Tapenade (Vegan-Friendly Version)

Written By: Byron | December 5, 2023
A small bowl of olive tapenade sits beside some sliced bread.

Making olive tapenade is so satisfying because you can play around with the ingredients to suit your taste. If you buy olive tapenade from a store in a jar it can literally consist of just olives, salt, and olive oil — and that’s fine but there’s so much more you can do with this classic recipe!

This recipe is an adaptation of the black olive paste found in 1000 Spanish Recipes on page 88. The book is by Penelope Casas who’s a genius at combining ingredients to get the maximum effect and flavor sensation out of a dish.

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Serving:

Tapas for 4-6

Ready in:

2 minutes

Skill level:

Very easy

Serve with:

Bread or crackers

A bowl of olives sits next to some olive oil, capers, lemon, and fresh parsley.

How to Make Vegan-Friendly Olive Tapenade

  • Prep time. 2 mins
  • Cook time: None
  • Ready in: 2 minutes

Ingredients

(makes enough for a tapas for 4 with bread)

  • 5 oz/140g of black olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Handful of fresh parsley (leaves)
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil 

For serving

  • Slices of baguette or crackers

Equipment needed

  • Food processor
  • Small bowl (for serving)

Method

  1. Add the olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp of olive oil to the food processor. 
  2. Pulse until the ingredients are just mixed together. If it looks too thick, add another tbsp of olive oil. 
  3. Add the parsley and pulse again until spread throughout the mixture. 
  4. Serve over sliced fresh bread or with crackers. 

Cooking Notes: The tapenade should be thick and coarse. If you like yours smoother, you can add more olive oil and pulse in the food processor for longer.

Dinner Party Recipe

This is a great dinner party recipe since you can make it in two minutes, then you can serve it straight away or pop it in the fridge until you need it. You can serve it on slices of baguette or crackers, or to the side and let your friends help themselves.

It goes well alongside other appetizers or canapes and this version is vegan, so caters to all. We also like to use it as a spread to jazz up other nibbles like pintxos (pinchos).

And if you’re looking to make a variety of easy but delicious canapes for a crowd, try blue cheese and sherry spread, anchovy and red pepper spread (another Penelope Casas adaptation), Mediterranean-style hummus, and spiced cheese pâté (almogrote)

What Olives to Use

Typically, black olives are used and you just want the plain pitted olives in brine (salt and water). No added flavors are necessary since you’ll be dressing it up yourself. 

Having said that, you can also use a blend of black and green olives. Again, make sure the green olives are plain (e.g. without red pepper) and try a half-half combination. 

We usually use cacereña olives since they’re plentiful in Spain and easy to find in any supermarket. You can use any black olive that is native to where you live or that’s easy to find. As long as they’re in brine, they’ll give you that salty, punchy quality you’re looking for.

Which Olive Oil to Use

Extra virgin olive oil is the most nutritious and healthy, and the tastiest. Use the best quality you have or want to invest in. A top extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is perfect in recipes like this and salad dressings, etc. Since it’s used quite sparingly in this manner (vs cooking with it) a bottle can last a long time. 

Here are some more recipes that benefit from a top-notch EVOO where you will really notice the difference: pan con tomate (bread with tomato), 1-minute Mediterranean salad dressing, basil and garlic dressing, 5-minute tomato salad, and no-mayo Spanish potato salad

Ingredient substitutions

So, even though we said at a basic level an olive tapenade can consist of just olives, olive oil, and salt, many recipes include anchovies. We’re big fans of anchovies and use them in our cooking a lot but we left them off this particular recipe to keep it vegan and vegetarian-friendly. 

We added extra capers instead, which also give a strong, sharp, salty quality. If you want to add anchovies, add one or two fillets from a tin or jar. 

Here are some other ingredients you can play around with:

  • Herbs – You can use oregano, thyme, or basil instead of parsley or on top of it. 
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – These can give the tapenade a lovely sweet/savory contrast. Just don’t use too many because a tapenade is supposed to taste salty and you’re looking for a strong flavor.
  • Nuts – For some mild crunch in your tapenade, try adding some pine nuts or your favorite nut and lightly pulse in the food processor.
A bowl of Olive tapenade sits beside some crackers.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 6

Amount per serving

 

Calories

69

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 7.2g

9%

Saturated Fat 1g

5%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 289mg

13%

Total Carbohydrate 1.9g

1%

Dietary Fiber 0.9g

3%

Total Sugars 0g

 

Protein 0.3g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 23mg

2%

Iron 1mg

5%

Potassium 7mg

0%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A small bowl of olive tapenade sits beside some sliced bread.

Homemade Olive Tapenade (Vegan-Friendly Version)

Byron
This vegan-friendly olive tapenade recipe takes two minutes to whip up and is so tasty. It's great for dinner parties or when you're hosting, since it's vegan-friendly and suitable for many diets.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Course appertizer, dip, party food, Snack, tapas
Cuisine American, Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 6 tapas
Calories 69 kcal

Equipment

  • food processor
  • 1 small bowl for serving

Ingredients

  • 5 oz/140g of black olives pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Handful of fresh parsley leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Baguette for serving

Instructions
 

  • Add the olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp of olive oil to the food processor.
  • Pulse until the ingredients are just mixed together. If it looks too thick, add another tbsp of olive oil.
  • Add the parsley and pulse again until spread throughout the mixture. Serve on some fresh bread or crackers.

Notes

Cooking Notes: The tapenade should be thick and coarse. If you like yours smoother, you can add more olive oil and pulse in the food processor for longer.

Nutrition

Serving: 30gCalories: 69kcalCarbohydrates: 1.9gProtein: 0.3gFat: 7.2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 289mgPotassium: 7mgFiber: 0.9gCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Keyword 5-minute recipe, Dinner party, Dips, Olive Oil, Olive tapenade, olives, party food, Tapenade
Some olive tapenade is served onto a slice of bread.

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