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If you’re ever in need of dairy free appetizers or want to take your grilled chicken (or a lot of other foods!) up a level, then this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade is a recipe you’ll want to keep close by. 

Don’t get intimidated by the name of this recipe. It sounds really fancy, and it TASTES really fancy, but it’s not hard to make. You can read the steps below and see for yourself!

Tapenade was definitely not something I grew up eating, and I’m betting I’m not alone. It wasn’t until I started working in the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen that I learned about tapenade.

When I first started using tapenade in recipes in the test kitchen, I didn’t like it! It seemed so salty, and I had never been a fan of olives, which is the main ingredient in tapenade.

Honestly, I kind of forgot about tapenade until we visited friends last year who served it along with several other snacks for when we first arrived at their house.

I don’t know if it was that we’d been traveling and were pretty hungry, or what, but the tapenade tasted so good. I knew I had to make my own version!

What is tapenade?

Tapenade comes from the southern region of France, known as Provence. It is classically made with olives, capers and anchovies. It’s often used as a spread or appetizer but there are so many different ways you can use tapenade (keep reading!).

I decided to skip the anchovies and capers in my version of tapenade, and I added dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers. I think you’ll love it!

This gluten free, dairy free Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade tastes as fancy as it sounds, but you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to make it! It’s as versatile as it is flavorful, and you can use it in many different ways. Serve it on meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, pasta, as an appetizer, and more!

What can I do with this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade?

One of the best things about tapenade is that it can be used in so many ways.

Here are a few to get your mouth watering!

  • As a dip for an appetizer or snack – serve it with gluten free crackers or vegetable dippers
  • Toss tapenade with drained gluten free pasta instead of traditional tomato-based pasta sauce. Add chopped cooked chicken or shrimp to make it more hearty.
  • Serve it over grilled chicken, pork or beef
  • Serve it over cooked fish, shrimp or scallops
  • Spoon it on top of salads
  • Serve it on top of roasted vegetables
  • Spread it on wraps, lettuce wraps or sandwiches
  • Use it as a topper for deviled eggs – keep the egg yolk mixture simple if you do this, since tapenade is so flavorful!

What ingredients do I need to make this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade?

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade:

  • Fresh garlic
  • Pitted green olives
  • Pitted kalamata olives
  • Jarred roasted red sweet peppers
  • Jarred oil-packed dried tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
This gluten free, dairy free Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade tastes as fancy as it sounds, but you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to make it! It’s as versatile as it is flavorful, and you can use it in many different ways. Serve it on meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, pasta, as an appetizer, and more!

Do I have to use two types of olives in this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade?

Jarred tapenade is usually based on just one type of olive, often kalamata, Greek or black olives. 

I wanted to shake things up a bit and use two types of olives to make this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade more interesting. 

If you’d rather use just one type of olive, the tapenade will still work well and taste great. You can use either pitted green olives or pitted kalamata olives. Just make sure to use a total of ¾ cup chopped olives.

Kalamata olives have a stronger flavor than green olives, so if you’d prefer a milder olive flavor, choose the green olives!

Of course, if you choose to use all kalamata olives, the tapenade will be darker in color so keep that in mind!

Can I use dried basil instead of the fresh basil?

Adding fresh basil to the tapenade adds a super fresh flavor, which balances out the heavier, salty flavor of the olives. Using dried basil would not have the same effect, so I do not recommend using dried basil here.

If you can’t get fresh basil, you can use fresh flat-leaf parsley instead. Both options taste great!

What are the steps to making this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade?

Making this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade is not hard! The only thing that takes time is allowing the garlic to roast and cool before you can use it. 

This part takes over an hour of time, but the only thing you need to actually “DO” is put the garlic in the oven, which takes less than 5 minutes.

Here are the steps to making this tapenade:

  1. Roast garlic
  2. Cool garlic
  3. Squeeze garlic cloves from the peels
  4. Mash the garlic
  5. Chop the rest of the ingredients
  6. Stir it all together

All together it takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time, and it’s totally worth every minute of that!

This gluten free, dairy free Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade tastes as fancy as it sounds, but you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to make it! It’s as versatile as it is flavorful, and you can use it in many different ways. Serve it on meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, pasta, as an appetizer, and more!

What is the purpose of roasting the garlic for the tapenade?

There are two reasons I wanted to use roasted garlic in this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade!

  1. Roasted garlic tastes amazing! It’s milder than raw garlic, which means the garlic flavor isn’t as sharp and pungent. The flavor of the roasted garlic blends really well with the other ingredients in the tapenade instead of taking over, as raw garlic has the tendency to do.
  2. When garlic is roasted and mashed, it becomes super creamy, which helps hold the other ingredients in the tapenade together. It acts a bit like glue, which makes the tapenade seem like more of a spread, rather than a loose relish.

Need more ideas for dairy free appetizers?

Here are a couple of other dairy free appetizer recipes I love:

Dairy Free Taco Dip

Savory Roasted Almonds

Conclusion:

The next time you need a flavorful topper for your pasta, meat, fish or salad or you need to add something more to your spread of dairy free appetizers, make this Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade! It will be a hit and it’s not hard to make!

Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade

This gluten free, dairy free Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade tastes as fancy as it sounds, but you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to make it!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Cooling Time:20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Condiments, Sauces, Spreads
Keyword: Appetizers, Dairy Free, Gluten Free
Author: Laura Marzen, RD

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup pitted green olives, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, cut about ½-inch off the top of the garlic head to expose the individual cloves. Remove any papery outer peel but do not expose the flesh of the cloves.
  • Place garlic head, cut side up, in a small custard cup. Drizzle top with a little olive oil. Cover with foil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until garlic is soft (poke a thin, sharp knife into a garlic clove to check doneness).
  • Cool garlic completely. Pinch the bottom of the garlic head to squeeze the individual cloves onto a cutting board. Using the wide side of a chef’s knife, mash the garlic cloves on the cutting board. Scrape garlic into a medium bowl.
  • Add green and kalamata olives, tomatoes, red peppers, basil, oil and black pepper to garlic. Stir until well combined. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Notes

Yield: about 1 cup (16, 1-tablespoon servings)
For a recipe that’s as versatile as it is flavorful, make this gluten free, dairy free Roasted Garlic Olive Tapenade. Besides serving it as a dip with gluten free crackers or vegetables for your next spread of dairy free appetizers, you can spoon it on grilled meat or chicken, fish, roasted vegetables, and in sandwiches or lettuce wraps, to name just a few ways to use it!