6 Different Variations of Tapenade with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Tapenade is a classic Provençal condiment or spread that originates from the Mediterranean region, particularly from the south of France. It is known for its bold, briny, and savoury flavours.

It is typically made from a mixture of olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil, although there are many variations and regional adaptations each with its own unique twist on the classic recipe. These variations can cater to diverse taste preferences and creative culinary applications.

It is commonly served as an appetiser or hors d'oeuvre, where it is spread on slices of baguette or crackers. It pairs well with cheese, cured meats, and charcuterie platters.

Additionally, tapenade can be used as a condiment or ingredient in sandwiches, wraps, pasta dishes, salads, and more. Its intense, savoury flavour can add depth to a wide range of recipes, making it a popular choice in Mediterranean cuisine.

1. Classic Olive Tapenade (with anchovies)

First up we have this classic olive tapenade recipe with anchovies. It's quick and simple to make and captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine. 

It has a pronounced umami flavour thanks to the inclusion of anchovies, paired with the delightful brininess of olives and capers, giving it a slightly salty and tangy edge, and the garlic provides a pungent, aromatic note that complements the other flavours.

This recipe can add a Mediterranean flair to everything from appetisers to main courses. A mouthwatering combination of bursting flavours!

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2. Vegetarian Olive Tapenade (without anchovies)

If you're looking for a vegan version of the classic olive tapenade or simply prefer to avoid anchovies, look no further!

This recipe captures the savoury and briny flavours of the traditional version without using anchovies. 

During gatherings or as a prelude to a meal, I like to offer this more simple tapenade variation as an appetiser to accompany wine or other drinks. I usually serve it on a bread board as it makes for a visually appealing presentation and encourages an interactive dining experience. Most often with bread and crackers alongside other Mediterranean antipasti items like cured meats, marinated olives and roasted red peppers.  

For any dietary restrictions, I'll opt to serve this tapenade with celery and carrot sticks, as well as cucumber and bell pepper slices.

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 3. Green Olive Tapenade

This recipe offers a unique flavour profile that's slightly different from the traditional black olive tapenade.

I tend to make a bigger batch and store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It makes for a delicious snack with minimal effort and I'll usually pair it with bread, crackers or slices of fresh cucumber. The healthy fats provide an excellent boost of long-lasting energy and satiety. 

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4. Olive Tapenade with Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

A twist to the classic recipe, this combination of olive tapenade with the sweet and tangy flavour of sun-dried tomatoes creates a harmonious blend of Mediterranean tastes. It's a versatile and flavourful condiment that can elevate a variety of dishes.

Once served I like to drizzle with Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to enhance the taste and add a luxurious sheen and smooth, velvety texture to the tapenade. 

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5. Olive Tapenade with Mushrooms

Here we have another vegan variation of the classic olive tapenade, perfect if you prefer a plant-based option. 

This recipe is particularly appealing to mushroom enthusiasts, and adds an earthy and savoury dimension to the spread.

Opting for this rich mushroom tapenade is especially ideal if you're after a slightly less overpowering flavour profile with more mild and earthy notes.

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6. Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade (without olives)

Finally, we have a tapenade recipe without olives.

A delicious variation that combines a sweet and smoky flavour of roasted red peppers, the creaminess of parmesan cheese, and the earthy notes of artichokes. 

This recipe also makes for a fantastic chicken marinade!

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