Cherry Olive Tapenade
Sweet and Savory Olive Tapenade
This is not your typical black olive or green olive tapenade recipe. You will not be finely chopping olives or sun-dried tomatoes or using a food processor. You will pit the olives and cherries (yes, cherries!) and leave them halved and dice up the beets into perfect little squares – so prep time is important here if you want a uniformed look to your tapenade. I don’t recommend a food processor for this recipe.
What you are going to wind up with is this absolutely unique flavor that punches both sweet and savory. It’s hard to describe until you taste it yourself, and then you will know.
My olive of choice for the recipe is kalamata olives. Kalamata olives are very strong (and delicious) but the cherries and sugar mellow out the salty kick. You are going to want to try your best to find the right olives for this, there are so few ingredients working off one another.
Beets are optional! I love this with beets, my husband does not! This is not your typical “olive spread”, it’s more chunky than traditional. The beets add a nice bit of texture, and all the colors just work together beautifully. If you do not like an earthy flavor, go ahead and omit the beets, it will work just as well.
Another thing to note about this super simple recipe is that you can let it cook in a variety of different ways. Once all the ingredients are combined, you can use a crock pot in the morning on low, and it will be done when you come home at the end of the day. It will sweat a lot, but you can omit some liquid when you are serving. I use to do this all the time before work. Another slow cook option is a dutch oven, which I have also been successful with. I would let a little steam out for the last bit to reduce it down a little. The method I use in the recipe below is the most accessible to all, which is why I included it this way.
This is a very fun recipe to play around with. Here I am serving with toasted and oiled bread alone. You can level up super easily, here are some additional ideas to pair with your cherry olive tapenade:
-vegan goat cheese (or any soft spreadable vegan cheese), I highly recommend playing around and marrying the two on a toasty piece of French bread.
-play with herbs
-use the tapenade as a marinade on a vegan chicken dish
-stuff a puff pastry with is and a vegan protein
-use it instead of cranberries during thanksgiving
-pair with perogies and vegan sour cream
If you decide to go with rustic bread, simply brush with some olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite herby powder before toasting for a few minutes. I don’t like my bread too crunchy and hard, so I don’t toast it for too long. A nice chewy center works perfectly. Don’t slice your bread too thin, because the olive tapenade is a bit heavy and on the wet side.
Another thing you may not be familiar with is Old Bay seasoning. This would be the quickest route to achieving the typical lobster roll seasoning goal. I happen to make my own “bay” seasoning because it’s not available where I live and it’s a very quick, cheap, and easy vegan recipe. Feel free to do whatever works for you.
While your bread is toasting, removed the puts from your olives and cherries and halve them. Cut your beets into small cubes, about the 1/8 of an inch. Measure out your sugar and collect your herbs and an ovenproof bowl or your preferred method of sweating.
As you can see, you don’t need a lot to make this meal. When you open up your heart of palm, make sure none of the pieces are too tough. They will not work in this recipe if they are hard to chop. You are going to chop the pieces roughly, keeping some full circles, and chopping others smaller. You will want to pat them dry and transfer them to your bowl.
Combine everything in the bowl and mix well. Make sure your bowl isn’t over full. The cherries and olives are going to sweat and make a pool of liquid at the bottom and you will need to mix again in the middle of the sweating process.
Once the liquid has reduced by at least half, you are ready to plate your tapenade. Wasn’t that easy for such a unique treat?!
This is a quick and unique olive tapenade, perfect for a picnic or gathering. Instead of capers being added to the olives, we are using cherries.
- 1 cup of pitted and halved olives
- 1 cup of pitted and halved cherries
- 1/4 cup of 1/8 cubed raw beets (optional)
- 1/2 cup of natural sugar
- 1 sprig of thyme
- preheat oven to 250 degrees
- pit and half your cherries and olives
- cube your beets
- place all ingredients in an over proof dish (you can also use a slow cooker for 5 hours on low)
- mix all ingredients well
- place uncovered in the oven, check on the mixture in about 15 minutes to see if they are sweating, if so, mix
- let the liquid reduce by 1/2 and remove
- allow the tapenade to cool completely and plate with oiled bread
1. slice bread into thick slices
2. brush with olive oil and powered herbs
3. toast for about 5-10 minutes
4. remove from oven and let cool
The longer you keep in the oven, the less watery it is. If you find it too watery, you can remove some liquid and continue in the oven. You don't want everything to turn to total mush because you were reducing the liquid too long.
If enjoyed this meal let me know what you think by leaving a ★★★★★ star rating and comment below with any questions or feedback. These are two small things that add up to a ton of support, which I really appreciate. Also, show off your pics to me on instagram by tagging @theveganholidayblog and #veganholidaypic – I am excited to see your meals!