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Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Green Olive Tapenade
  2. Green Olive Tapenade Ingredients
  3. How to Make this Green Olive Tapenade
  4. Homemade Tapenade Storage Options
  5. Other Appetizer Spreads You’ll Love
  6. Green Olive Tapenade FAQs
  7. Best Green Olive Tapenade Recipe

I’m a big snacker and this Green Olive Tapenade hits the spot anytime I’m craving something salty and crunchy. It’s quick to make and versatile— smother it on crackers, pasta, crusty garlic bread or as a festive spread for a veggie wrap or charcuterie board.

green olive tapenade in a bowl topped with fresh parsley, surrounded by crostini.

Why You’ll Love this Green Olive Tapenade

My love for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine knows no bounds and this lovely tapenade has recently been added to my go-to snack options. While it can seamlessly grace a holiday table, it can also be an easy + filling snack option with a variety of uses. I’ve even dropped spoonfuls on top of my oven-roasted Spaghetti Squash (you’re welcome!).

  • It’s quick to make and easy to clean up (5 minutes)
  • Has lots of depth for flavors (making it feel extra fancy)— from the salt, to the buttery goodness of olives to the olive oil…oh it’s divine!
  • It’s a versatile spread. You can add it to bread, salads, veggie bowls, wraps or even pizza and it’ll blow your mind. Trust me– it’s that good.

Tapenade is traditionally made with olives, capers and anchovies. Depending on the region of France or Italy it’s from, tapenade can be made with a variety of herbs, spices and lemon juice. Sorta like hummus— you can easily tweak this tapenade recipe to work for you. For my vegan tapenade version, we’ve swapped the anchovies (they’ve never been my thang) for a variety of fresh herbs and spices to achieve a remarkable flavor.

labeled ingredients for green olive tapenade including lemon juice, crushed red pepper, black pepper, lemon zest, garlic, lemon capers, castelvetrano olives, kalamata olives, parsley, olive oil and basil.

Green Olive Tapenade Ingredients

I’m an olive lover— I won’t ever turn them down. Black, green, Kalamata, yes… please! Yet even if you aren’t on #teamolive, this recipe just might surprise and delight your taste buds. The herbs and salty goodness can be an unexpected result you actually do like. 

I’m using two kinds of olives plus a lot of different herbs and seasonings to achieve the perfect blend. Here’s what I’m tossing into my Vitamix food processor:

  • Castelvetrano olives: This specific variety of green olive gives a mild + buttery flavor instead of that tangy kick you’re used to in a green olive. It’s lovely and perfect for a spread like this tapenade. They are also easy to find at your local grocery store… yet not all green olives are the same! Look for this one by name.
  • Kalamata olives: These are the most common black olive you’ll find at the store. Feel free to buy them whole or sliced, it doesn’t matter.
  • Fresh parsley: Fresh herbs contribute greatly to the flavor of this olive spread so don’t skimp. While you can use dried herbs in a pinch that will change the flavor and the amounts will need to be adjusted after tasting.
  • Fresh basil: This is another ingredient to grab in its freshest state. My hack for basil is to skip over the plastic shell of basil leaves and buy the whole plant. You can usually find them in the fresh produce section and often times they’re the same price as that tiny plastic container. Even if your plant doesn’t last forever, I bet you’ll get more leaves out of it by putting it in a sunny spot and giving it a little water daily.
  • Capers: These can be found right be the olives. They’re salty and have a sharp flavor. I love adding these to my skillet green beans and other side dishes.
  • Garlic: One clove of fresh garlic works great here. If you aren’t a fan of peeling garlic then listen up. I just found these little containers of crushed garlic at Trader Joes in the freezer section. Each section is one whole clove and is super easy to add to whatever you are making!
  • Lemon: Both the juice and the zest are used here because the zest helps brighten the salty components nicely.
  • Black pepper + crushed red pepper: Both of these spices help bring a bit of depth to this spread. You don’t need to use a lot of red pepper flakes since I’m not going for spicy, just another level of flavor.
  • Olive oil: Since you aren’t cooking tapenade, I suggested going with a tasting oil. Try using that fancy extra virgin olive oil you got as a gift last year. You won’t regret it!

You might notice that salt is missing from this list. I promise you won’t miss it in the recipe, though! Since both olives and the capers are housed in a salty brine, there’s no need for extra.

How to Make this Green Olive Tapenade

This tapenade is sooooo easy to make! Now that you’ve gathered up your ingredients, let’s make this easy green olive tapenade recipe. Let the food processor do the chopping for you and use a spatula to scrape down the sides, as needed. 

a hand grabbing a plate full of green olives, cappers and herbs for a green olive tapenade.

Step 1: In a food processor, combine olives, herbs, capers, garlic, lemon juice and zest, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Pulse until coarsely chopped. 

chopped up ingredients in a food processor and a hand pouring in olive oil from a small white bowl.

Step 2: Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture then pulse a few more times to incorporate. You want to end up with a coarse texture, not a smooth paste. 

a black spoon scooping olive tapenade out of the bowl of a food processor.

Step 3: Taste, then season with additional pepper and salt (if needed). Scoop out into a bowl. 

a white plate full of crostini topped with green olive tapenade.

Step 4: Serve one teaspoon at a time over top a crostini, or the cracker of your choice.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop everything by hand or use a mortar and pestle. Just make sure the different herbs and lemon zest are well incorporated so those flavors come through each bite.

Homemade Tapenade Storage Options

Tapenade should be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar, like a glass jelly jar. It lasts up to 7 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze olive tapenade for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and enjoy!

Other Appetizer Spreads You’ll Love

If you’re looking for some good hors d’oeuvres options then I’ve got you covered. Try making snack trays with homemade hummus, sun-dried tomato pesto, arugula pesto or garlic lemon aioli paired with crackers, cheese and fruit. You can even add in some date caramel or coconut whipped cream for a few sweeter options to balance out the salty ones. 

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wooden board topped with crostini, tapenade and a plate full of appetizers already put together.

Green Olive Tapenade FAQs

What is in olive tapenade?

Traditional tapenade uses a black olive base with capers, herbs and spices. My version uses both green olives and black olives along with capers and spices for a punchy result that’s a party in your mouth.

How do you eat tapenade?

You can enjoy olive tapenade in a variety of ways: spread it on crusty bread or crackers, use as a sandwich spread or use on chicken or fish just like you would with pesto. I’ve even been known to dip my veggies in it!

What is a substitute for olive tapenade?

If olives are not your fav pickled vegetable, I totally get it. Swap them out for roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, or use a pesto instead. Yet, you can also give this green olive tapenade a try if traditional black olive tapenade isn’t your jam. My version uses both colors of olives and a variety of spices that make it the perfect salty spread.

5 from 1 vote

Best Green Olive Tapenade

Whether you love olive tapenade or are a newbie to this delicious appetizer, you need to try the best Green Olive Tapenade. It's salty, herby and oh so delicious on a crostini. And it only takes 5 minutes to make, so what are you waiting for?!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French-Inspired, Italian-Inspired
Serves: 6


  • food processor


  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives pitted
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives pitted
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon finely grated
  • tsp ground black pepper
  • tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Crostini:

  • 1 baguette
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
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  • In a food processor, combine olives, herbs, capers, garlic, lemon juice and zest, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture and pulse a few more times until a chunky paste forms. Be careful not to overdo it. The tapenade should have some texture and not be smooth.
  • Taste and season with pepper. Transfer to a bowl and scoop 1 tbsp on top of a crostini toasts, when ready.

Make the Crostini Toasts:

  • Preheat oven to 400˚F with a rack in the center of the oven lined with parchment paper.
  • Cut toasts into 1/2” thick slices, slicing diagonally.
  • Mix minced garlic clove with olive oil.
  • Arrange toasts on the prepared baking sheet and brush the garlic infused olive oil on both sides of toasts and bake at 400˚F for 5 minutes then broil on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.


  • You can purchase crostini in the bakery section of most grocery stores if you prefer.
  • Don’t add additional salt until you’ve tasted the final result. Since many ingredients are already packaged in a salty brine, you don’t want to ruin the flavor by adding too much!
  • You can use this as a sandwich spread, dip or topping for pasta. 


Calories: 464kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Sodium: 1357mg, Potassium: 200mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 393IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 160mg, Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. 5 stars
    I do love tapenade— but I’m not a fan of green olives. Do you think I could just swap them for more Kalamata or basic black olives? Or would that just not work?