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An Ode to Olives

My favorite snack at my grandmother’s house when I was little was a bowl of olives – green or black. My love for olives is still strong. While strolling the aisles of Wegman’s last week, I discovered the most beautiful olive bar.

It made me crave my favorite olive dip – olive tapenade. I’ve made this for several parties and it’s always a hit. It works for your vegan and vegetarian guests. And it is super easy to make.  Serve with crackers, flatbread, baguette, or slices of a toasted artisan bread. Or use it in salads, sandwiches, or omelets.

Some tapenades are a bit fancy – a little anchovy fillet maybe some capers. I prefer to keep it simple.

Olive Tapenade


  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste


Add the olives, garlic and lemon juice to food processor. Pulse 2-4 times until broken up. Drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth and well blended.

But if you don’t know much about olives or haven’t experimented with them, this “Olive for Dummies” tutorial will get you up to speed:

Variety Description
Cerignola This enormous olive is sold both green and black. The green variety has a mild and vegetal flavor. When black, the flesh is softer and sweeter, and the pit is much easier to remove.
Gaeta Small brownish black olive that can be hard to pit, but the flavor, which is reminiscent of nuts, is worth the effort.
Kalamata A plump, purplish black Greek variety that’s especially popular in U.S. markets and a good choice in most recipes calling for black olives.
Niçoise This small, brownish purple variety grows in southern France. Removing the large pits from these chewy, flavorful olives is hard.
Oil-Cured These wrinkled black olives have a meaty, chewy texture and are often very salty.
Sicilian Green Sometimes called Sicilian Colossals, these oversized olives have a dense, somewhat sour or tart flesh.
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