Black Olive Tapenade With Garlic, Capers, and Anchovies Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • The easy food processor method produces a paste that's made spreadable and familiar by the addition of oil at the end.
  • The mortar and pestle method produces superior flavor and texture by extracting more flavor from the individual ingredients.

This famed olive spread from Provence is made from black olives, capers, anchovies, herbs, and garlic.

Recipe Details

Black Olive Tapenade With Garlic, Capers, and Anchovies Recipe

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Serves 8 servings
Makes 1 cup


  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, such as Niçoise or oil-cured olives

  • 1 tablespoon drained capers

  • 2 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets

  • 3 medium cloves garlic

  • 5 basil leaves (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed fresh oregano, marjoram, or thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed


  1. If using a food processor: Combine olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, basil (if using), other herbs, and mustard in the work bowl and process, scraping down the sides, until a finely chopped paste forms. Process in lemon juice. With the processor running, drizzle in just enough olive oil to loosen to a spreadable paste, about 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper only if needed.

  2. If using a mortar and pestle: Roughly chop olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic, then add to mortar with basil (if using) and other herbs. Tap, crush, and smash with pestle until ingredients have been reduced to a thick paste (a little chunkiness is okay). Using pestle, work in mustard and lemon juice, then drizzle in just enough olive oil to form a spreadable paste, about 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper only if needed.

Special equipment

Food processor or mortar and pestle


If you're pressed for time, use the food processor method; it will yield a uniformly blended olive spread with lots of chopped little bits. If you have the time and inclination, use a mortar and pestle: It takes longer and requires some elbow grease, but you'll be rewarded with superior flavor and texture.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
175 Calories
19g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 175
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 120mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 17mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)