Tapenade is a condiment of sorts, made from olives mostly, plus capers. It originates from Southern France, specifically the Provence region, but I’ve seen recipes from nearby Italy that also include anchovies. So once again we have a dish that has many different variations.

I’ve seen tapenade more often made solely with black olives, and it’s really pretty. But today I decided to use up a jar of mixed olives I had leftover from the holidays. I decided also to switch things up a little and use up some sun-dried tomatoes looking very sad in a half-used jar in my refrigerator.

I think I was inspired by my own recipe I served to friends this summer, that I called tapeschetta – essentially a combination of tapenade and bruschetta. Tricky, huh?!!! The combination was just a last minute thing I did because I wasn’t expecting company and had to work quickly. (Which is why the photos on that post are pretty terrible!) But it turned out so good that I haven’t quit thinking about it. I’d love to make it again, but without fresh, good tomatoes, I can’t repeat the recipe until next summer.

So I put this mixture together and now present you with a non-traditional, yet still fabulous tapenade!

Tapenade with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I jar of mixed, herbed olives, dry weight 7 ounces, well drained
2 tablespoons small capers, well drained
3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the kind jarred in oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper

Place the olives and capers in a jar of a food processor. These olives even come pitted!

tap (2)

If necessary, coarsely chop the sun-dried tomatoes and add them and the garlic to the jar.


Add the thyme and black pepper. Then add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil; I used the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.


Begin processing the olives and other ingredients. You will have to scrape down the sides and repeat with the processing until you get the texture you want.


I like some texture, but I have seen tapenade that is almost smooth and pasty. It’s just a personal choice.


I served this tapenade with toasted tortilla strips and a log of goat cheese at room temperature. The addition of sun-dried tomatoes was really nice, although the main flavors are the olives and the brininess from the olives and capers.


Tapenade can be used on a cheese platter because it’s so good as is on great country-style bread. Just place the tapenade in a little bowl with a spreader.

But I can also see it stuffed under chicken skin, or rolled in veal scallops like rollatini, maybe with some Provolone included. It would also be good as a topping on soups and stews as well. So many options for tapenade!

By Published On: January 30th, 201448 Comments on Tapenade

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller January 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM - Reply

    Lovely tapenade and great ideas for using it.

  2. lulu January 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM - Reply

    I love tapenade, but when I make it, it never tastes as good as on a picnic in Provence!

    • chef mimi January 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM - Reply

      Of course it doesn’t ! It never will, sadly.

  3. thecompletebook January 30, 2014 at 9:36 AM - Reply

    Scrumptious tapenade recipe Mimi!
    Have a lovely day,
    :-) Mandy xo

    • chef mimi January 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM - Reply

      Thank you! And congratulations on all of your running!

      • thecompletebook January 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        Thanks very much Mimi! :-) xo

  4. tableofcolors January 30, 2014 at 11:42 AM - Reply

    It’s been a while since I have made or had tapenade. Yours looks delicious!

  5. Amanda January 30, 2014 at 1:09 PM - Reply

    This looks delicious. I love all of the flavors in tapenade. Great addition of sun dried tomatoes! Yum!

    • chef mimi January 30, 2014 at 3:52 PM - Reply

      It did work out well, although you don’t taste the tomatoes as much as I’d hoped…

  6. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs January 30, 2014 at 2:48 PM - Reply

    This looks lovely. I like texture in my tapenade too… I’d eat it on a crusty bread, ham sandwich with sharp provolone and call it delicious!! Yum..

    • chef mimi January 30, 2014 at 3:52 PM - Reply

      I can see why some people make it more pasty in texture, but I don’t like it that way as much…

  7. yummychunklet January 30, 2014 at 2:57 PM - Reply

    Looks delicious!

  8. ladyredspecs January 30, 2014 at 3:08 PM - Reply

    I haven’t made tapenade for ages, you’ve inspired me! I usually make an Italian version with capers and anchovies. Love the first photo!!!

  9. Sugar n Spice by Radhika January 30, 2014 at 3:38 PM - Reply

    Lovely recipe and so so easy! It’s amazing how recipes whipped up at the last minute sometimes turn out be better than the traditional ones! :)

  10. {Main St. Cuisine} January 30, 2014 at 4:16 PM - Reply

    Your recipe includes a couple of things that I love- sundried tomatoes and capers), not too mention a bit of texture. A bowl of tapenade with crackers and a nice glass of wine makes a nice way to greet guests for a dinner party. Lovely recipe!

  11. Mary Frances January 30, 2014 at 4:22 PM - Reply

    Looks fabulous! Sometimes tapenade can be a little bitter (depending on the olives used) so the addition of sundried tomatoes is a great way to get a little sweetness!

    • chef mimi January 30, 2014 at 5:36 PM - Reply

      I know exactly what you mean! I’d actually like to add more tomatoes next time, although it will a different kind of spread altogether!

  12. eastofedencook January 30, 2014 at 6:12 PM - Reply

    I haven’t thought of tapenade in ages! Now I’m craving a scoop with a piece of baguette!
    This delectable recipe might just make the Super Bowl Sunday menu!

  13. Choc Chip Uru January 30, 2014 at 10:55 PM - Reply

    Tapenade is lovely, it has been so long since I have eaten fresh dip :D


    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:13 AM - Reply

      You’ll have to whip some up, if you’re done traveling, that is!

  14. laurasmess January 30, 2014 at 11:24 PM - Reply

    I love tapenade. It’s one of my favourite things to have on a cheese platter, particularly if it has artichokes or truffles in it. Yours looks delicious… I love the fact that it’s rustic enough to actually see all of the delicious bits of olive, sundried tomato and herb. Lovely recipe Mimi! That goats cheese looks divine too! x

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:13 AM - Reply

      I love actual olives on a cheese platter, too. But there’s just something lovely about a tapenade spread on good, country-style bread…

  15. That other cook... January 31, 2014 at 1:48 AM - Reply

    beautiful tapenade! Never made it myself, only had it a restaurants. Are those pine nuts?? :)

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:11 AM - Reply

      Yes, I put a few pine nuts on top of the log of goat cheese that I was serving!!!

  16. myhomefoodthatsamore January 31, 2014 at 3:30 AM - Reply

    Chef Mimi, the Queen of Tapescetta! The comment above: “Lovely recipe and so so easy! It’s amazing how recipes whipped up at the last minute sometimes turn out be better than the traditional ones!” is very true. What should be added is that these amazing recipes that can be whipped up at the last minute usually only ever ‘work’ when they are done by someone with a great deal of experience and pizazz….

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:14 AM - Reply

      hahahaha! You are so nice. What a lovely compliment!

  17. jacquigourlay January 31, 2014 at 5:20 AM - Reply

    That looks amazing. I’ve never tried to make tapenade before but have bookmarked this as I really want to try it. Thanks!

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:11 AM - Reply

      Well, if you love olives, you’ll love this stuff!!!

  18. theundergroundgourmet January 31, 2014 at 7:49 AM - Reply

    J’aime beaucoup la tapenade, surtout avec des anchois, ou l’anchoïade. Mais cette recette est sans huile d’olive ?

    • chef mimi January 31, 2014 at 10:08 AM - Reply

      Monsieur, I can’t write in French! It’s been too many years! I feel that there is already enough olive oil in the olives, but I did add 1 tablespoon of oil from the jar that contained the sun-dried tomatoes. You could easily use olive oil as well! Merci!

  19. The Editor January 31, 2014 at 2:53 PM - Reply

    What a cool recipe (as usual)…there are so many things you can do with it.

  20. eliotthecat February 1, 2014 at 1:51 PM - Reply

    This is a beautiful combination of “leftovers”!

  21. gwynnem February 6, 2014 at 11:27 AM - Reply

    I made this recipe for Super Bowl weekend. It was by far the best part of the game. ;) Thanks for sharing your culinary genius!

    • chef mimi February 6, 2014 at 12:08 PM - Reply

      Oh nice! It is yummy, isn’t it?!!!

      • gwynnem February 6, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        I couldn’t stop eating it. My husband and I went through the whole batch in three days. Good help our blood pressure. :)

      • chef mimi February 6, 2014 at 8:55 PM


  22. buttoni February 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM - Reply

    I’m intrigued by the use of thyme and capers here. I’d like to try this!

    • chef mimi February 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM - Reply

      Oh good! I personally think thyme is underused – it’s one of my favorites – but fresh basil would also be wonderful in the summer months!

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