Pasta Elias: Olive Paste Spread With Garlic (Tapenade)

Pasta Elias: Olive Paste Spread with Garlic (Tapenade)

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 2 to 3 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
163 Calories
17g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 163
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 416mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 12mg 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.)

In Greek: πάστα ελιάς, pronounced PAH-stah el-YAHS

Olives are a staple of Mediterranean cooking, therefore it is no surprise that some dishes exist in more than one country in different variations and under different names. This Greek-style olive spread, called pasta elias, is similar to French tapenade from Provence. Unlike tapenade, however, which is made with anchovies, this Greek appetizer is vegan.

The basic ingredients are black olives, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice or vinegar for tanginess. Some recipes also include capers and dried herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, or thyme.

The olives to use for this dish are Kalamata olives. They are less salty than the standard black supermarket olives in a jar. What sets Kalamata olives apart from other black olives is their rich, fruity taste, and their meaty texture, which is ideal for a spread.

For a variation of the traditional recipe, you can also use green olives. But just like for Kalamata, chose a variety that has a meaty texture and rich flavor.

Because it's a no-cook recipe that takes a cinch to prepare and can be made ahead, it is great for a party. Spreading it on bread, rusks, or crackers to nibble with ouzo or wine is the obvious way to serve this but there are many other ways how you can enjoy it. Make it part of a meze or a cheese and charcuterie board. You can also serve it as a dip for breadsticks or raw vegetable sticks, or tuck it into a sandwich as a flavorful vegan mayo substitute. Brushed on toasted bread and topped with capers and tomatoes, it makes a delicious bruschetta. Served as a condiment with grilled chicken or fish or roasted vegetables is an easy way to add lots of flavor to simple dishes. You can also toss it with a bowl of hot pasta, similar to the way you'd use pesto.

Store leftovers in the fridge and use within one week. Let it come to room temperature before serving so it can develop its full flavor and the olive oil, which may have hardened in the fridge, becomes soft again.


  • 3 cups pitted Kalamata olives, or green olives

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or good-quality red wine vinegar

  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, grated

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pasta Elias: Olive Paste Spread with Garlic (Tapenade) ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend for a few seconds until smooth. The paste will be slightly granular.

    Pasta Elias: Olive Paste Spread with Garlic (Tapenade) in a food processor

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Serve as a meze with ouzo or wine, accompanied by small rusks, crusty bread, breadsticks, and/or raw vegetables. Tapanade can also be used as a seasoning for fish or a topping.

    Pasta Elias: Olive Paste Spread with Garlic (Tapenade) served with toasted bread and cucumber slices

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Note: Adjust amount of vinegar to taste. Classic olive paste has a sharp, tart taste.

Recipe Tags: