With its origins in Provencal cuisine, but with roots all over Europe from Greece and Italy to France and Spain, tapenade is a thoroughly Mediterranean food. Made from black, green, or Kalamata olives combined with ingredients like sundried tomatoes or anchovies, it's the perfect way to complement your crostini.
With a wide array of scrumptious tapenades, it's the ideal addition to any mezze platter and a super tasty alternative to pesto for topping pasta. Healthful, naturally gluten-free, and often vegan too, we've created this buying guide to help you find the best tapenade in the UK. With a ranking of our top seven picks from Amazon, Tesco, Asda, and Waitrose, you'll be dipping and spreading in no time!
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Table of Contents
New to tapenade? Before you buy, there are a few things to know to help you find the tastiest jar available. In this section, we will go over the basic points to consider when shopping for a tapenade, such as flavours, ingredients and dietary requirements.
Tapenade is traditionally made with Kalamata or black olives and capers, but these days there are a few different ingredients to choose from. Read on for the most popular variation of this classic Meditteranean recipe.
Traditional Provencal tapenade consists of finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies, and extra virgin olive oil and is simply served as an hors d’oeuvre. However, "traditional" recipes vary, with some using capers but not anchovies, or the opposite way round.
Often a classic tapenade will consist of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and possibly even red wine or red wine vinegar, creating rich, deep flavours. Enjoy with bruschetta, crostini, meats, and a selection of cheeses for the best effect.
For something zesty, tangy, and a little sharp, a tapenade made from green olives will tantalise your tastebuds and pep up your meze platter. That's because green olive tapenade is often blended with preserved lemons, or lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and oregano.
Tapenade made from green olives can be a little astringent and tart, so you'll want to pair it with earthy or nutty foods such as goats cheese, humous and potatoes. It may not go with quite as wide a range of dishes as the more traditional tapenade, but it's certainly fresh, vibrant and delicious!
Tapenade made from roasted red peppers is a little harder to come across, but is perfect for when you want to try something a little different from the regular olive-based options. Red pepper tapenade is wonderfully versatile and adds a delightful splash of colour to your cuisine.
Made using a blend of roasted peppers, tomatoes, garlic, salt, and paprika oil, it can be used as a dip for crudités, stirred through couscous, or as a base for bruschetta, topped with mozzarella and cured meats. You'll love this sweet and flavourful tapenade!
Tapenade is a great source of fiber, iron, iodine, and antioxidants, along with generous amounts of vitamins B and E, phosphorus, and magnesium. However, tapenade can also contain quite a lot of salt.
It's important to consume salt in moderation, as excessive amounts can cause health issues in the long run. The recommended amount of salt for adults is 6 g per day (as advised by the NHS), which is why we've included the salt content per 100 g for each tapenade in our ranking as a handy guide.
Some tapenades contain anchovies or feta cheese, but there are lots of varieties that are 100% vegan. The famous olive pate can be made with capers and sun-dried tomatoes for a result that's just as savoury and delicious, but without the animal-based ingredients.
Tapenade is traditionally gluten-free too, which means it can be enjoyed by coeliacs and those avoiding gluten in their diet. That said, you should always check the ingredients list just in case. There are new concoctions created all the time, which may use more unconventional ingredients, so whatever your dietary needs, you should be able to find a tasty tapenade to enjoy!
The vast majority of tapenades can be stored in your kitchen cupboard or pantry until they are opened, which makes it a great item to stock up on. However once opened, tapenade needs to be refrigerated, with the shelf life varying between products.
In general, tapenades keep for around 2 - 4 weeks, depending on the particular brand. Whilst this gives you lots of flexibility with meal planning, always check the label for storage instructions to prevent wastage and enjoy your tapenade at its best.
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Kalamata Olive & Anchovy Tapenade
A Luxurious and Flavourful Tapenade, Perfect on Crackers
Olive Tapenade With Sundried Tomato, Wine & Oregano
The Perfect Addition to a Meze Platter
Feta, Sun-Dried Tomato & Olive Tapenade
Delicious Stirred Into Pasta or Served on Crusty Bread
Antipasti Roasted Pepper Tapenade
Grilled Red Peppers Blended With Tasty Tomatoes, Garlic and Paprika
Olive Tapenade With Oregano, Thyme, Pepper & Lemon
A Tasty, Tangy Tapenade Made Using Koroneiki Olives
Green Olive Tapenade
Fresh, Zesty and Vibrant
Kalamata Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade
A Delicious and Budget-Friendly Tapenade
In at number one, we have chosen the traditional taste of Waitrose's Kalamata Olive & Anchovy Tapenade. Made simply with just a few ingredients, including Kalamata olives, red wine vinegar, and anchovies — it's rich, bold, and utterly divine.
Perfect with everything from roasted Mediterranean vegetables, to a cheeseboard, or even served on buttery toast, you're sure to find endless ways to incorporate this tapenade into your meals and snacks. Part of Waitrose's own-label range, it's very affordable for such a delicious spread!
The second Priansos offering on our list, their olive tapenade with sundried tomato, wine and oregano just has to be sampled! Produced using only the finest ingredients, the dash of red wine helps to create a naturally luxurious and indulgent tapenade.
Priansos are experts when it comes to olives and the authenticity of their ingredients makes this jar worth the higher price. Overall, it's a delicious tapenade paste to enjoy with a wide range of Mediterranean-inspired recipes such as bruschetta or meze.
A great product to have in the cupboard for when the urge for a savoury snack strikes, this tapenade from Waitrose is utterly delish! In particular, cheese lovers will adore the blend of feta, sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and capers.
Highly rated on Waitrose, this tapenade makes for a charismatic addition to pasta dishes, sandwiches, and appetisers. We particularly like that this recipe creates a depth that can only be found in the most authentic tapenades.
For a slightly more unusual flavour combination, opt for Belazu's Antipasti Roasted Pepper Tapenade. Made from grilled red peppers, tomato paste, garlic, and paprika oil, it makes a gorgeous dip or salad dressing.
Aromatic and totally yummy, this tapenade is vegan, so you can also add it to a plant-based platter to share with friends. It's a great choice for those who are already familiar with traditional tapenade looking to branch out a bit by trying some exciting new flavours.
This is another olive tapanade that's on the tangy side. Made with oregano, thyme, pepper and lemon, it's perfect when served alongside a selection of breads, goats cheese, or salad topped with pine nuts.
Created in Southern Crete, this tapenade is a delicious and authentically Greek product from a region known for its olives. Far from your standard traditional tapenade, the combination of ingredients is sharp, zesty, aromatic and packs a real punch!
For something a little different why not try Belazu's Green Olive Tapenade? Blended with zestful ingredients like preserved lemons, capers, and garlic, it will add a fresh and vibrant character to many dishes. Plus, it's suitable for vegans!
Winner of a Great Taste Award in 2019, this tapenade takes inspiration from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, with just a few simple, good-quality ingredients. However, this combination does make it a little astringent, so you may want to balance it out with cheeses, bread or even basil.
For a cheaper option that still brings the taste, Asda's Kalamata Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade is worth a look. Suitable for vegetarians and made without any artificial ingredients, it's not bad at all for the price.
Super versatile, it can be added to pasta dishes, meze platters, or simply eaten with bread, crisps and crostini. It does contain rather a lot of olive oil, so it's not quite as thick or substantial as others, but it's tasty nonetheless.
The Mediterranean diet is known to be one of the healthiest out there, including plenty of good fats and oils that help us to stay in fine fettle. Not to mention the fact that it's designed to be eaten with friends and family, which keeps us feeling happy and connected. Take a look at the articles below for some more essential meze ingredients to bring some sunshine to your dinner table!
So concludes our article on another healthy, hearty and delicious product to add to your shopping list. Whether you opt for a traditional black olive tapenade, or fancy trying some more unusual flavours, we hope you've found some mouth-watering options to inspire your meals and appetisers!
Author: Melanie McPhail
No. 1: Waitrose｜Kalamata Olive & Anchovy Tapenade
No. 2: Priansos｜Olive Tapenade With Sundried Tomato, Wine & Oregano
No. 3: Waitrose｜Feta, Sun-Dried Tomato & Olive Tapenade
No. 4: Belazu｜Antipasti Roasted Pepper Tapenade
No. 5: Priansos｜Olive Tapenade With Oregano, Thyme, Pepper & Lemon
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