This Mediterranean olive tapenade without anchovies is a 5 minute dip with just three ingredients! My favorite way to eat black olive tapenade is with homemade fried za'atar pita chips.
My friend, Farida, was kind enough to share with me this easy black olive tapenade recipe after I ate the whole bowl at her home. Mediterranean cuisine is no stranger to olives (and olive oil).
What You'll Love
Make this easy olive tapenade recipe with THREE ingredients: olives, olive oil, and garlic cloves. The beauty of this simple appetizer is how quick it is to make.
This easy appetizer is great for family gatherings, holidays, or weekend entertaining. Serve with crusty bread, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh herbs, and white wine.
What is Tapenade?
Tapenades originated in the south of France but can be found all along the Mediterranean. Tapenade is a thick paste made traditionally from black olives, however more contemporary tapenade recipes use green olives instead. A tapenade is salty and can be made with a variety of ingredients, including anchovies, anchovy paste, or capers.
We've compiled a complete guide to black and green olives if you want to know a little more about the different types of olives and olive origins.
- Black sliced olives: The easiest way to prepare this homemade olive tapenade is by using pre-pitted olives. I found a jar of sliced and pitted black olives, so I'm using that. The sliced olives look similar to pizza black olives, so you can't miss them at the grocery store. I've also made black olive tapenade using canned whole pitted black olives, which turned out equally great.
- Garlic: Use one clove of fresh garlic.
- Some EVOO: You need just a little bit of high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt: Just a pinch of salt to tie everything together.
How To Make Mediterranean Olive Tapenade
Rinse the olives after you drain them from the can/jar. Chop the fresh garlic a little bit prior to adding it to the food processor (to reduce the chances of a single chunk of garlic landing in your mouth).
Add the olives, chopped garlic, and olive oil to the food processor.
Blend, then stop and scrape the sides of the food processor a few times (to ensure you get everything pulsed evenly).
Do not add any liquid or water to the tapenade. The food processor should give an olive tapenade consistency like the above. Serve with fresh bread.
Tips and Tricks
- If your black olives are not salted, add salt to taste after pulsing the olive tapenade.
- Use pitted olives to save time and sanity!
- If using whole pitted olives in lieu of sliced olives, measure about 25% more into the food processor. So if using 2 cups of sliced olives, use 2.5 cups of whole pitted olives.
Change the olives. Make kalamata olive tapenade using kalamata olives. Try castelvetrano olives or nicoise olives. Use any pitted olive you have available.
Some traditional olive tapenades use some form of anchovy (either paste or whole anchovies). The anchovies add a complex flavor to the tapenade. I prefer no anchovies, but it's up to you!
What To Serve With Olive Tapenade
Serve olive tapenade as a dip. Here are some options to eat it with:
- Chips: fried pita chips, baked pita chips, or tortilla chips
- Bread: Homemade french bread, whole wheat toast, toasted croissants, pita bread, Algerian Kesra flatbread, the list is endless
- As part of a mezze platter: serve this Mediterranean spread alongside eggplant dip, a charcuterie board, baguette slices, roasted garlic, fresh vegetables, and fresh tomatoes.
Store the black olive spread tapenade in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not recommend storing tapenade in the freezer or leaving it at room temperature.
More Dip Recipes
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Easy Mediterranean Olive Tapenade (Vegan - No Anchovies)
- 2 cups sliced black olives or 2½ cups of whole pitted olives**
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- Drain sliced black olives. Rinse with water using a strainer.
- Peel and chop the garlic.
- Add the chopped garlic, sliced black olives, olive oil, and salt to a food processor. Blend on high.
- Stop the blender and scrape the sides. Blend on high.
- Store the black olive spread tapenade in an airtight container or enjoy right away!
- The olive spread can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- I purchase 2 cans of whole pitted black olives (about 6 ounces in size). The olives were the perfect amount for this recipe.