Green Olive Tapenade

BY : PUBLISHED : December 10th, 2021 UPDATED: January 11th, 2022

This Vegan Green Olive Tapenade recipe is a powerhouse of flavors from the combination of capers, raw garlic, and olives from our friends at California Ripe Olives! It adds a rich, salty punch with a touch of spice and zest to any dish. This 5-minute French specialty makes the perfect spread for crusty bread and crisp crostini and gives pasta, salads, soups, and entrees an instant unique flavor boost.

Green Olive Tapenade in a white bowl with a cracker being dipped in the bowl and ingredients in the white background

We love homemade dips, spreads, and sauces! Aside from being assured of the quality and freshness, it also allows you to make them the way you like them. Some of my tried and tested favorites are Creamy Tomatillo Avocado Salsa Verde, Mushroom Pâté, Classic Hummus, and Green Pistachio Hummus. If you have tried those and liked them, then you will absolutely adore this vegan version of Tapenade Olive Verte!

What is a Tapenade?

Traditional Tapenade is a simple spread recipe from France made with olives, capers, and anchovies. They are either chopped finely resembling a relish, blended into a puree, or pounded to a paste-like consistency. The word Tapenade is derived from the Provencal term for capers ‘tapenas’. This recipe omits the anchovies and calls for other plant ingredients to achieve the robust and zippy flavors of the traditional version.

What can I use it for?

This zesty green olive tapenade recipe packs an explosion of flavors that will have you seeking new ways to enjoy it.  It goes well with a wide range of dishes and snacks. From using it as a dip for veggies or chips, adding it to salad dressings, to using it as a marinade. You can also spread them over toasted baguette slices or crackers for a classic party hors d’œuvre. It is versatile, customizable, and super quick, and easy to make!

Ingredients for Green Olive Tapenade

The best part about making this at home is how fast it comes together. Only a few ingredients are needed; combine them with olive oil and other optional ingredients to make the dish. That’s as simple as it gets!

Green Olive Tapenade Ingredients measured out against a white marble surface

  • California Green Olives – The absolute freshest olives! These green olives have a firmer texture because they are harvested still unripe. Using green olives also makes this condiment more visually appealing compared to using black olives.
  • Capers – These briny and tangy pops of greens mesh so well with green olives!
  • Garlic – A clove of raw garlic adds a savory and sharp flavor to the mixture.


  • Olive Oil – You can use plain or extra virgin oil with this dish.  It gives the spread a smoother consistency that makes it easier to spread.
  • Flat-leaf Parsley – Adds a fresh and peppery taste with a touch of earthiness to the dish.
  • Red Chili Flakes – Give the spread a mild and pleasant fiery flavor. Make adjustments according to your liking.
  • Lemon Juice – Adding citrus juice neutralizes the saltiness of the olives and capers and brightens the mixture instantly.

How to make Green Olive Tapenade

Tapenade is the quickest and easiest way to give any dish a classic French flair.

  1. In a food processor, add olives, capers, garlic, and optional ingredients.
  2. Pulse it 8 to 10 times or until a chunky tapenade consistency is achieved. Easy peasy!

process showing ingredients in a blender against white background

Tips when Making Green Olive Tapenade

  • Drain the olives and capers thoroughly, and dry the parsley well after rinsing. This will prevent a soggy Tapenade.
  • If you like your Tapenade smoother and less chunky, pulse a few more times until you achieve the right consistency. You can add more olive oil if the mixture becomes too dry.
  • If you prefer it less salty, drain the olives and capers and soak them for a few hours in cold water. This will gradually reduce the saltiness out of them.
  • Give this spread another layer of flavor and texture by adding pine nuts into the mix!
  • You can also use other herbs that you like. Basil, mint, and cilantro are good options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use fresh olives? I prefer using canned olives because it lessens my preparation time. However, feel free to use fresh ones if you do not mind spending time removing their pits.
  • Can Tapenade be used only in bread? It’s generally served/spread on bread, but it can also be used in canapés or appetizers, as a dip or dressing, or stirred into soups, stews, and sauces. The options are endless.
  • Can I use a blender?  Yes, you can. A blender is the easiest and most effective food processor substitute. If you do not have both, you can use a mortar and pestle instead.

complete green olive tapenade in a white bowl with chips and olives in the background

Storing Tips

If you have any leftover tapenade, keep it in an airtight jar and store it in the fridge. It will be good for at least 5-7 days.  You can also keep it in the freezer for at least 3 months. It is also better to sterilize jars before using them for longer storage. This also prevents mold from forming. Wash jars in soap and water. Jars can be sterilized in 3 ways:

  • Oven – Place jars and lids in an oven for 20 minutes.
  • Stovetop – In a deep saucepan, fill it with water, and place jars and lids in the saucepan.  Bring this to boil over high heat, then reduce it to medium heat and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Dishwasher – Place jars, lids in the dishwasher and set to the hottest cycle.  Remove and dry them with a paper towel.

More spread recipes here:

  1. Creamy White Bean and Chive Spread – This is the perfect spread for a bagel, toast, or crackers for those of us avoiding soy and processed foods!
  2. Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread – This is yummy, healthy, and easy. It is equally great as a dip when it’s freshly made and used as a spread for sandwiches when it’s cold.
  3. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Recipe – You can use this delicious roasted red pepper hummus as a spread on a wrap or a sandwich, as a dip with some pita chips or with some fresh seasonal veggies.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Green Olive Tapenade

Green Olive Tapenade

Toni Okamoto
This Vegan Green Olive Tapenade recipe is a powerhouse of flavors from the combination of olives, capers, and raw garlic! It adds a rich salty punch, with a touch of spice and zest to any dish.
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Dips and Sauces
Cuisine French
Servings 4 -6
Calories 175 kcal
DIET Vegan


  • 1 can whole or sliced California green olives 15-ounce,, drained
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained
  • 1 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil optional
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley optional
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili flakes optional
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice optional


  • Place the olives, capers, garlic cloves, and optional ingredients into a food processor and pulse 8 to 10 times, until it turns into a chunky tapenade.


Calories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gSodium: 1575mgPotassium: 55mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 507IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 1mg
Keyword french, French spread, garlic, green olives, olive, olive and caper spread, Tapenade Recipe, vegan, Vegan Tapenade, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

About Toni Okamoto

"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez

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