If you’ve never tried black olive tapenade, well, you should. It’s delightful. Admittedly its kinda salty, but it is packed full with flavors that beckon you to keep dipping in for more.


Black Olive Tapenade by Diverse Dinners


I usually serve black olive tapenade with a serious cocktail. A martini perhaps, or an old fashioned. Black olive tapenade begs for a cocktail that can stand up to its strong flavors. The strong flavors are – black olives, garlic, anchovies, lemon zest, olive oil and basil. Totally gorgeous!

This is a super easy appetizer, good at any time of the year, but I highly recommend serving it during the holidays. Why? I hear you ask. Well, all you need to do to create black olive tapenade is to pile the necessary ingredients into a food processor or blender and then pulse. Then, you transfer the combined ingredients to a serving bowl, garnish with lemon zest and then grill some bread to go with it. That’s it!

When working on making an extravaganza of a Christmas dinner, or any dinner during the holidays, I would suggest you make one of your courses something simple to allow you to concentrate on the those dishes that require more technique and time.

You can add black olive tapenade to side dishes too. Pile this tapenade on top of mashed potatoes or rice. You can even serve with fish.


Black Olive Tapenade by Diverse Dinners


I used Nyon olives in this dish. They hail from France, they are small, and they have a mild, salty bitterness. Don’t bother to chase around looking for Nyon olives, you can use any black olive you like, just make sure they’re pitted. I prefer to mooch over to the grocery store so that I can taste what they have on offer and then make my choice. A lot of fun, if you have the time.

Regardless of the olives you choose, this simple appetizer will serve you well.



Serves 4

Black Olive Tapenade

10 minPrep Time

10 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 2 cups pitted black olives
  • 1 clove garlic (sliced)
  • 2 anchovies, or 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon zest and more for garnish
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • Equipment & Utensils
  • Food processor or powerful blender
  • Microplane or zester


  1. Pile ingredients into food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse ingredients until you have an even texture.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little lemon zest.
  4. Add a little more extra virgin olive oil if needed.
  5. Serve with bread and crackers.