Upgrade your dip game with this Kalamata Olive Tapenade recipe. This classic olive spread gets a unique twist with a zest of orange and balsamic vinegar.
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My kalamata tapenade uses pantry staples, truly only a handful of ingredients, and does double duty as a dip or a sauce.
And while you can use a mix of other types of olives I love the simplicity of a one-jar dip. Perfect for last-minute gatherings.
Kalamata Olives- Kalamata olives are known for their bold, fruity flavor. Look for jars or cans of pitted olives packed in brine for this recipe. If you can't find Kalamata olives, you can substitute other briny olives like Niçoise.
Fresh Parsley- You can try other herbs like fresh oregano or fresh thyme if you like.
Orange Zest- Lemon is traditional in a tapenade recipe but I love the flavor of orange. It has a bright citrus element.
Balsamic Vinegar- Since we skipped the lemon juice I like to add a little vinegar for acid. Plus it adds just a touch of sweetness for a layered flavor.
Garlic- For a twist try a little oven-roasted garlic.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes- Just a little bit of heat, but you use black pepper if you prefer.
I don't typically add anchovy paste to my tapenade because I don't typically have it on hand. I you want to add anchovy, try ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.
I also don't add capers because I think the flavor gets lost when using entirely kalamata.
⏲️ How to Make Kalamata Olive Tapenade
This recipe is shockingly simple to make, see the recipe card for details.
Add all the ingredients to a food processor. Slightly crush the cloves of garlic.
Pulse a few times for a chunkier texture.
Or puree for a smoother paste-like texture.
You can add extra balsamic vinegar to give it more juice if desired. You can also drizzle in a little olive oil it seems dry.
If serving as a dip, garnish with extra orange zest or a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
🥗How to Serve Olive Tapenade
The most common way to serve olive tapenade is spread on a toasted baguette or as a salty addition to a charcuterie board or mezze platter.
However, there are many options to use tapenades in your everyday cooking. Here are just a few of my favorite ideas:
- Stir ¼ cup in with a can of tuna, Mediterranean tuna salad!
- Over grilled fish or chicken, especially love it on mahi mahi.
- Stir ⅓ cup into your next beef braise (when there is about 20 to 30 minutes left).
- Mix ½ cup in with 1 lb of sautéed green beans.
- Mixed in with hummus.
- Serve over roasted eggplant slices or roasted zucchini.
- As a sandwich spread for your roasted veggie sandwich.
- Mix 1 Tbsp. with ¼ cup mayo for your turkey in lettuce wraps.
- Mix into a basic vinaigrette (if you don’t like chunky dressing try this Cilantro & Olive Vinaigrette which is a close cousin).
- Mix ½ cup in with 1 ½ cups marinara sauce and serve as a unique puttanesca pasta sauce.
- On a crudité platter (a fancy way of saying dip some veggies in it).
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
You can mince the ingredients by hand if you don't have a food processor. I prefer this when serving over grilled meats.
More Appetizer Dip Recipes
Store the tapenade in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The flavors will continue to meld together as it sits. Bring to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.
You can also freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 month.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Don't add any additional salt to the recipe. Select olive that has a lower sodium content based on the jar label. If it is too salty try adding a fresh squeeze of orange juice to balance it out.
Olive lovers rejoice, homemade olive tapenade is gluten free.
Yes, you can. Add to a food processor with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse until you achieve your desired texture.
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Easy Kalamata Olive Tapenade
- Add your olives to a small food procesoor. Pulse until you achieve a fine dice or puree into a paste.1 cup kalamata olives, 1 orange, 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Taste for salt, although it should not need it. Add additional red pepper, if desired.
- Be sure to use pitted olives.
- You can add a mix of green olives if you like.
- Adding 1 to 2 anchovies to the paste is traditional but totally optional.