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Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip

February 16, 2018 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Need a crowd pleasing party dip that’s not loaded with mayo? If you’re having friends over and you don’t want to just open up another package of hummus, you can make a dip on your own that’s very simple but combines complex flavors that will impress your guests. While everyone loves hummus, it’s always good to try new things, so I made this Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip that you’ll be obsessed with. 

Celebrate the rich, salty flavor of kalamata olives and other Mediterranean flavors with this super simple dip. Vegan and vegetarian friendly, this goes well with crackers or on crostini. Fresh garlic, basil, dried oregano and capers combine to create a deliciously salty, savory dip. 

Recipes like this one fit perfectly into a Mediterranean eating pattern – a way of eating that is built around plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, herbs, nuts and seeds and low in saturated fat and animal-based products. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways of eating and has been associated with decreased levels of chronic illness. Focusing on plant-based recipes like this one that are high in antioxidants and healthy fats is a great step to take for your health. 

Health Benefits in Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip

The kalamata olives make up the base of this dip and are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. They are also a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are heart healthy fats. Foods like olives that are high in MUFAs are one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is considered to be a heart healthy diet, one of the many health benefits it provides. It may be surprising that olives also contain minerals like copper and iron, making them great additions for supporting healthy blood cells and supporting our immune system. They also contain some vitamin E and A, antioxidants that protect our cells from damage.    

Fermented Capers

The capers can provide additional protection from oxidative stress with their antioxidant content. Capers are one of the richest known natural sources of quercetin, a plant compound with antioxidant properties. Adding just a small amount of capers to a dish, as they are usually consumed, goes a long way in adding nutritional benefits to the dish. 

The Herbs

Adding either fresh or dried herbs to your dishes is a great way to not only boost the flavor profile but to add additional nutrients. This dip contains two traditional Mediterranean herbs, oregano and basil. These herbs add a great flavor to the dip but they also add in additional antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to this Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip recipe.

Adding in oregano adds extra fiber, as well as vitamin K, vitamin E, iron, manganese, and calcium. Oregano has anti-inflammatory as well as anti-microbial properties. Fresh basil is a great addition to your cooking because it adds additional nutrients like vitamins A and K which act as antioxidants and protect against oxidative stress. Adding basil into the diet has also been associated with lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It has also been shown to improve inflammation and have antibacterial properties.   

Garlic belongs to the Allium plant family, a plant family that also includes onions, leeks, and scallions. Garlic, like all Alliums, has significant health benefits. Garlic has been found to be protective for a wide range of conditions, from reducing the risk of certain cancers to improving blood cholesterol levels, and even reducing the frequency of the common cold, garlic is a wonderfully healthful addition to the diet.   

Choosing Your Snack  

There are so many great ways to enjoy a nutritious Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip. It does make a great spread for your favorite crackers or bread but there are so many other ways you can use this flavorful tapenade. You can use it as a spread in pita pockets or in a sandwich to add an extra boost of flavor, then add the rest of your favorite sandwich fixings. 

It also pairs really well with fresh vegetables – you can serve it with some slices of carrots, celery, cucumber, bell pepper or whichever vegetable you like best. It can even be spread on a homemade pizza dough to add a rich olivey flavor. This tapenade can be easily incorporated into other recipes like adding it to a dough to make an olive bread loaf, or incorporating it into a dressing for a Mediterranean pasta salad. As you can see there are so many ways you can use this versatile tapenade – and they will all be delicious!   

Putting it all Together to Make Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip

The best part about this recipe is it can be done in a single step. It’s super simple because all you need for this one is a blender or food processor. Toss all the ingredients in together, pulse a couple times and you’re done. If you’re like me and forever stopping by the grocery store on the way to a party, you’ll surprise your guests with your culinary genius with this one. The foundation is the strongly flavored kalamata olive so a little goes a long way – this is a dip you can really savor. Plus it’s heart healthy with unsaturated fatty acids in the olive oil and olives and antioxidants from the herbs and spices.

Measuring out all the ingredients beforehand will make it go that much smoother – a practice known as mise en place. That way everything is ready to go into the food processor. This is an optional step but can help to save time! 

And if you need a couple more dips you can make in minutes on your way out the door, check out my: Garden Herbed Vegan-Friendly Veggie Dip, Savory Sweet Cilantro dip, Everything Tahini Citrus Sauce.

Kalamata Olive and Basil Tapenade Dip

3.84 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, dip
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: dip, easy olive dip, olive dip, vegan dip
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Ginger Hultin


  • 2 cups pitted Kalamata olives
  • 4 Tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 leaves fresh basil, ripped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced with seeds removed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil


  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly combined. Serve immediately or hold in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Tried this recipe?Mention @champagnenutrition


  1. Melanie on March 8, 2021 at 9:07 am

    One of my favorites!

    • Ginger Hultin on March 14, 2021 at 12:35 pm

      It’s such a great one – thanks!

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

Integrative nutrition specialist helping clients navigate complex health conditions to reduce inflammation and feel better.

Thanks for visiting! If you're struggling with a cancer diagnosis, autoimmune condition, gut health problems, or even a medical mystery, nutrition can make a HUGE difference in your day-to-day life. I run a virtual, concierge private practice where I partner with my clients over time to help them improve their health through nutrition. Be sure to visit the blog for easy, plant-based, anti-inflammatory recipes and our "Resources" page for a variety of self-paced programs, books, e-books, and nutrition podcast episodes.

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