Header shot of a platter filled with sliced baguette, crackers and freshly made castelvetrano olive tapenade.

Vegan Castelvetrano Olive Tapenade

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I have a thing for castelvetrano olives. They’re a meaty Sicilian green olive with a mild flavor that can only be described as sweet and buttery. While kalamata olives have always been a bit too intense for me, I could eat castelvetrano olives all day. Which brings me to a story. In college, I worked at a restaurant that served a kalamata olive tapenade. It was one of their best selling appetizers and I served it multiple times every shift. That dip smelled incredible, but I just couldn’t get past the strong flavor of the kalamata olives. So I decided to create a version that better suited my palate. That version is what you see here today.

What is olive tapenade?

Tapenade is a French spread made with olives, capers and anchovies. It can be used as a dip, a condiment, or a spread (think sandwiches). You can add it to salads or stuff meat with it. Honestly the possibilities are endless.

I opted to omit the anchovies for this tapenade, making it vegan. I prefer to go meatless when possible, and it’s just so easy to do in this case. It also makes this olive tapenade much more accessible when serving it to others! Always nice when you can provide delicious food that’s vegan and gluten free. Bonus points if it’s extremely low effort.

How do I make this?

This castelvetrano olive tapenade is super easy to make. All you have to do is toast the pine nuts and then throw all the ingredients into a food processor and keep pulsing until the ingredients have mingled and you’re left with a chunky paste. And when I say “keep pulsing” I mean press the pulse button over and over again (maybe like 10 times) until it’s the desired consistency. That way it retains a bit of texture, which I personally prefer (though some other versions are fully puréed). After that, top it with a few olives, some parsley and a nice glug of olive oil and you’re good to go.

Here’s a video that quickly walks you through the process:


How to pit an olive.

The easiest way to pit olives is to buy them pitted. I’m almost always able to find them pitted at the Whole Foods olive bar. Many grocery stores also have jarred pitted castelvetranos. I’m a big believer in making things easier for yourself. Especially when the alternative is needlessly tedious. If for whatever reason you can’t find pitted castelvetranos, you can remove a pit them by smashing the olive. You can use the side of a chef’s knife to do this, or a heavy object like a meat pounder. Whatever works. Just smash until you can feel the pit, then you should be able to easily dislodge it. If this process sounds daunting to you, look it up on youtube first. That should demystify it.

How do I store this?

To store, transfer your olive tapenade to an airtight container and put it in the fridge. It should keep for about 2 weeks.


Vegan Castelvetrano Olive Tapenade

Course Appetizer, condiment, spread
Keyword castelvetrano olives, olive tapenade, olives, tapenade, vegan, Vegan Castelvetrano Olive Tapenade
Servings 1 cup


  • Food processor


  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives (Pitted)
  • 1 tbsp Capers (Drained)
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup Pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/8 tbsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil


  • Castelvetrano olives
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil


  • Toast your pine nuts. To do this, put them in a small pan over medium low heat. Toss occasionally to keep from burning and cook until they're golden brown and smell nice and nutty.
  • Add the garlic to the bowl of your food processor and blitz until it's minced. Then add the olives, capers, parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil and pulse (you'll want to manually pulse about 10 times) until it's a chunky paste, scraping the sides down with a spatula as necessary.
  • If serving immediately, transfer to a bowl and top with a nice glug of olive oil, as well as some parsley and more olives if desired. Otherwise put it in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you make this, I hope you love it! I truly can’t get enough of this garlicky, salty spread, and I hope you feel the same way. Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments or on Instagram! And if you like it I would so appreciate you leaving a review.

Looking for more shareable summer dishes? Try my balsamic, cantaloupe and mozzarella pasta salad, my baba ganoush, or my watermelon and burrata salad with chili crisp!

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