Fig and Olive Tapenade

By • January 14, 2011 44 Comments

1,132 + Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Author Notes: I love figs. I love olives. I always have a good supply of both on hand. I wanted a spread to go with crostini for an impromptu gathering one evening, and I went searching to see what I had in my pantry. I came out with a jar of Kalamata olives, a jar of big, green, pimiento-stuffed martini olives, and a box of dried Mission figs. Fifteen minutes later, I had this tapenade, and I still have people asking for the recipe.Kayb

Food52 Review: This is our new throw-together-10-minutes-before-the-guests-show-up appetizer. The figs and olives strike a lovely balance of savory and sweet, with the balsamic vinegar adding twang and the rosemary anchoring the spread with its woodsy scent. We made ours in a food processor and loved the fine texture, but chop it all rustic-like if you prefer. Crackers or crostini are a must, but serve it with fresh goat cheese (or parmesan, or blue) for even more party karma. - A&M The Editors

Serves 8 as a party snack

  • 4 ounces dried figs
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Mince figs and olives finely (or, if you prefer a finer texture, pulse a few times in the food processor).
  2. Add rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and mix (or process). You may need to add a little more olive oil to get to the texture and consistency you want.
  3. Serve as a dip or spread with crostini and crackers. I like to serve it alongside goat cheese.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
  • This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dip
💬 View Comments ()

Comments (44) Questions (2)


21 days ago Kaite

I made this yesterday and was quite disappointed as I kept getting a really strong bitter taste towards the end. I suspected it was from the kalamata olives. I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours and the bitterness mellowed out. I can't say I'm in love with this but it is a quick and tasty recipe. Perhaps I'll try it tonight to see how it tastes.

Instead of serving mine with the goat cheese everyone mentions, I bought a young manchego. The young manchego worked really well with the flavors of the tapenade due to its very mellow taste.


20 days ago Kayb

H'mm. Curious about the bitter, as well. I've never gotten that; I guess it's conceivable you could get that with olives, but I never have. I often leave it out on the counter for a few hours to mellow and let the flavors blend. And I can see it being excellent with a young manchego; I also love it with any Brie-ish cheese.


5 months ago Jaxmccaff

Love this recipe! So easy and such a big hit. I served it with crackers and goat cheese which really does pair beautifully with the 'tapenade'. This will be my go to appetizer for the winter!


over 1 year ago Donna Goldsmith

I make a very similar recipe, but without the green olives. i include anchovy and caper - it is absolutely fabulous. the key is to play with proportions so that the anchovy and caper do not dominate.

over 1 year ago Kate

Has anyone tried adding the traditional anchovies and capers to this?


over 1 year ago Kayb

I haven't, but if you do, please let us know how it is!


over 1 year ago Aly Waterfall

I just made this ahead of time and so the flavors can marry. Amazing and tasty!


over 2 years ago Nikki Pryn

I have just made this and it is truly delicious but can someone tell me if I can freeze it, or if not, how long will it last in the fridge? Thanks!


over 2 years ago Kayb

I'm not sure how well it'd freeze, but it lasts a LONG time in the fridge. Longer than I've ever had occasion to keep it, the longest being a couple of weeks before it was gone.


about 2 years ago Nikki Pryn

In reply to my own question, I decided to freeze it in small tubs and defrosted overnight for a dinner party on Easter Sunday. It was PERFECT AND TASTED DELICIOUS on tiny crackers with a shaving of goats cheese on top. We served as canapés with a glass of champagne before the main went down very well!!


about 2 years ago Kayb

Excellent! Good to know.


over 2 years ago Gracia Escudero

We have a fig tree in our backyard, do you think this recipe would work with fresh figs? It looks delicious! I'll have to wait until late summer to try it.


over 2 years ago Kayb

It would seem to me that it should. Might be a bit more moist. I do envy you your fig tree1


over 2 years ago rachaelmr

I was very skeptical: but this was a HIT! at a gathering I recently went to. And I have to say it was all these great reviews that sold me - and I do love it, too. I paired my "appetizer contribution" with my goat cheese dip (which is just that big 365 goat log w/ a sexy olive oil, whipped until it is greenish w/ cracked pepper) - Ooh, La, La!


over 2 years ago Kayb

Glad you enjoyed! I actually paired it with fromage d'affinois the other night, and it was SO rich and marvelous!


almost 3 years ago gingerroot

Hi Kayb, I've been meaning to tell you that I hosted an afternoon tea a few weeks ago for 60 people and I used this plus cream cheese and Italian parsley as one of the fillings. The sandwiches disappeared! Thanks for a great recipe.


over 2 years ago MrsK

gingerroot, what a wonderful idea!!!! I've been looking for a nice sandwich recipe--for parties--and your idea of this Tapenade + cream cheese + Italian parsley fits the bill!


over 2 years ago Kayb

Yum....that WOULD be good! Jotting that note....Thanks!


about 3 years ago Ellen M.

I may be the only person in the world who dislikes rosemary. Any suggestions for an alternative herb?


about 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I love rosemary but I wouldn't use it in an authentic tapenade. Now, thyme works very well.


over 2 years ago Kayb

I think you could use thyme or sage fairly easily. I just like rosemary.


over 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

The missing ingredients are, most importantly capers as well as anchovies. The name itself, tapenade, comes from the provencale word for caper. I'm sorry but I'm a stickler on this stuff. It's not tapenade if it doesn't include olives, capers and anchovy. After that you can mess with it all you like. Or else call it something else.


over 3 years ago BocaCindi

I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to make this. It didn't seem like the flavors were going to meld. I tasted it right after I made it and still wasn't sure. I put it in the refrigerator for about a half an hour. Put goat's cheese on a cracker and a spoon of this on top. Very delicious. Intriguing flavor. And, best of all, the ingredients are all available either in the refrigerator or pantry. That is wonderful. Had to buy the rosemary. Cannot grow a rosemary plant, have a green thumb with every other plant. Enough about me. Try this, you'll really like it.


over 3 years ago pamelalee

I served this on Thanksgiving with crackers, stilton, and pears. My family loved it! I used calimyrna figs since I noticed the figs in your photo were light brown. Have you ever made this with missions figs? Thanks!


over 3 years ago Kayb

I usually use Mission figs, as that's the most common kind you find dried around here. Most any kind would work, I think. Glad you enjoyed!


over 3 years ago David Black

Made this for a pot-luck last weekend, and it was quite a hit! I love the mix of bold flavors, both sweet and savory. We did not serve it with goat cheese, as suggested, but definitely want to try it that way. I think that would add another layer of wonderful flavor.


over 3 years ago EmilyC

Made this tonight for visiting family and loved the combination of flavors. It's simple to make but tastes just as good (or better) than appetizers you'd spend forever making. I'll definitely be making it again this holiday season. Thanks for a great recipe!


over 3 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I think I'll make this Sunday for a starter! It won't overpower the lamb that follows. :)

Congrats on the win!


over 3 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love the idea of figs with olives! Yum. But you know, it's not really "Tapenade" if there are no capers. "Tapena" is the Provencal word for capers, and that's where the name for this spread came from.


over 3 years ago Bevi

This is great! I'm making this for sure!


over 3 years ago Panfusine

Fabulous sounding.. Gotta try it out. Congratulations on the well deserved wildcard win Kayb!


over 3 years ago MeghanVK

This looks awesome! There's a restaurant in NYC called Fig & Olive - they should serve this :) Can't wait to try it.