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An Easy Green Olive & Lemon Tapenade That Will Wow Any Guest

Zoë Keller
Written by Zoë Keller

It’s easy to understand why this was such a hit. What’s not to like about salty green olives, tangy preserved lemons, and fresh garlic? It tastes like summer on a spoon. I made this as a topping for some freshly grilled fish, but we ended up eating about half of it scooped onto crackers while we were cooking. It's so good that you’ll look for any excuse to eat this tapenade. Seriously.

I made my first batch of preserved lemons this past February. After letting them have a nice long ferment (I love those probiotics!), I’ve been experimenting with my favorite ways to eat them. It turns out they're delicious on everything. The moral of the story is go make preserved lemons right away. And keep making them so you always have a jar waiting in the fridge to brighten up whatever you’re cooking.

But not to worry, if you don’t have preserved lemons, you can substitute fresh lemon juice in this recipe.

An Easy Green Olive & Lemon Tapenade That Will Wow Any Guest

(serves 4)


  • 1 cup pitted green olives (mine had a few Mediterranean spices in the olive blend)
  • ½ cup preserved lemons or fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil


Preserved lemons need to be rinsed before they're eaten to remove some of the excess salt from the fermentation process. Just give them a quick once-over under the running water and then toss them in your food processor or blender.

Add the peeled garlic, olive oil, and green olives. Use your blender on the pulse setting and pulse a few times. Pulsing is better for tapenade because you don’t want to blend everything into a uniform paste. Instead, you want things to mix well, but remain a bit chunky.

This tapenade makes a delicious appetizer with some crackers or veggies for dipping. It also makes a lovely topping for fish (add it after the fish is cooked), or can be diluted with more olive oil and used as a vinaigrette for grilled vegetables or green salads. It would also make a delicious spread for a sandwich. I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong no matter how you use it.


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