Moroccan Olive Tapenade - Black or Green Olive Tapenade

Moroccan black olive tapenade or spread
Photo © Christine Benlafquih
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
820 Calories
87g Fat
15g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 820
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 87g 111%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1469mg 64%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 134mg 10%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 226mg 5%
*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.)

This easy Moroccan olive tapenade recipe calls for cured black olives, but for variety you might want to try making it with green olives. Both versions can be prepared and offered alongside each other, which was the way they were presented the first time I sampled them. Feel free to adjust the amount of harissa to make your own tapenade as fiery as you like. Likewise, garlic may also be adjusted to taste.

Although the original recipe as shared with me did not call for capers, I've since learned that all tapenades must, by their very nature, include them. The recipe below, then, has been edited to list capers in the ingredients. For those of us who love the tangy, sour, salty flavor of capers, this can only be viewed as an enhancement to what was an already-delicious spread. 

You'll find that the Moroccan tapenade works beautifully as a condiment in sandwiches made with grilled meats or fried sardines (yes, fried fish really is terrific that way!), or serve it as a dip or spread with crusty Moroccan bread.


  • 1 cup (200 grams) Kalamata olives, or cured black olives or green olives

  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, pressed or very finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon harissa

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, or more, to taste

  • Baguette, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse the olives and remove the pits. Combine the olives with the capers.

  2. Chop the olives and capers as finely as you can by hand, or place them in a food processor and pulse several times until the mixture is almost a paste. If using a processor, be careful not to overdo the blending as you want the tapenade to retain some texture.

  3. Mix the chopped olives with the remaining ingredients by hand, or in the food processor (again by pulsing several times, just until combined).

  4. Taste, then add and adjust harissa, garlic, and lemon juice as desired.

  5. For a thinner tapenade, increase the amount of olive oil, stirring in an additional teaspoon or two at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.

Store the tapenade in a covered glass jar in the fridge.