Tuna and olive tapenade

tuna & olive tapenade

This is a really simple, yet healthy dish which only takes minutes to prepare.  Tapenade is a French recipe involving crushed olives,  although the Italians claim it was they who originally invented it thousands of years earlier.  As with all traditional recipes there are many different versions and debates over where it originated and what constitutes a real tapenade but the main common ingredient is olives.

My version contains olives  with tuna and, as there’s no cooking involved, it’s perfect for summer.   I often serve it as a dip at parties with raw carrot, cucumber, celery sticks and hunks of rustic bread or breadsticks.  It always gets the thumbs up whenever I make it and is  a refreshing alternative to tuna mayonnaise.

Tuna and olive tapenade

Prep to Plate: 15 minutes ( plus half hour chilling time in fridge)

Difficulty: Difficulty level 1


  • 2 tins/jars of quality tuna
  • 1 tub stoned black olives (about 100g )
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 50g capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice from half lemon
  • pinch of ground chilli  (optional)
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • salt and pepper  (I used freshly ground red peppercorns which added a sweeter flavour  than traditional black pepper)

Gadget tip:  To quickly obtain a smooth texture you will need to beg, steal (only kidding!) or borrow a blender, if you don’t already own one.


  1. Drain tuna and break it up with a fork before putting into bowl.
  2. Wash and chop red pepper into medium sized chunks, removing seeds, before adding to tuna.
  3. Peel garlic and add this with remaining ingredients to bowl.
  4. Whizz together in a blender until you have a smooth paste (but do not overblend as you want to retain some texture.)
  5. Place in a fridge for at least half an hour to enable flavours to blend.  It tastes better the next day so perfect if you’re cooking ahead for a party. You may just need to give it a quick stir.


I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe  or your own variations on the traditional tapenade 🙂

Strange but true:  Did you know that olive oil has similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen and aspirin?  Research carried out at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia found that a compound in the oil called oleocanthal prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes in our bodies.  The study, conducted by Gary Beauchamp PhD and Paul Breslin PhD, reveals that taking about 3 and 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil is the equivalent of a 200 mg Ibuprofen pill.  Nature does it again!

tuna and olive tapenade

© (Suzette McDaniel Don’t Burn The Onions) Unauthorized use and /or duplication of this material without express written consent from this blog’s author/and or owner is strictly prohibited.

3 thoughts on “Tuna and olive tapenade

  1. It’s high time I made something with fish in it and this recipe is simple and straightforward and I have most of the ingredients. Thanks for that info on anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil. I just use it to cook everyday and have never really bothered to find out detailed information on olive oil. Have a lovely weekend!

    • Thanks again for your comments here. I started the blog as a way of making it easy for my daughters (who both recently started at universty) to cook and eat healthily.So many of the dishes I blog about are based on home recipes or foods they love! My youngest adores olives so she loves this dish.. Its super easy to make so hope you enjoy it too! 🙂

  2. Pingback: It doesn’t have to taste bad to do you good | Don't Burn The Onions

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