So today we are talking a super easy, but very classy recipe: tapenade. Tapenade is typically made with black olive varietals, like kalamata olives, along with capers and anchovies. I decided to shake it up and use my fave olive, the castelvetrano.
It is light, buttery, nutty, and almost a bit “green” in flavor. It’s definitely my olive of choice, and quite possibly the up-and-coming “it” olive. We are forgoing the tradish salty capers and ‘chovies, so this tapenade is not a salt-bomb, but really lets the olive flavor shine through.
Castelvetranos make the perfect accompaniment to the secret green ingredient in the tapenade- peppery arugula. So maybe this is kind of like a tapenade/pesto hybrid? IDK, but whatever you decide to call it, you will want to add a dollop to all your favorite dishes to liven them up a bit. Pasta, roasted veggies, frittatas, crostinis, salmon/chicken/filet mignon, are all screaming for this tapenade. Make it rain with the green!!
Here’s a funny (but also a bit embarrassing??) story about how delish this stuff is. I packed it in my lunch one day over some leftover soba noodles. When it came time to eat, I was sitting outside with some friends (shout out if you are reading this and remember that hilarious day lol), and somehow out of sheer clumsiness, I ended up dumping my tupperware of pasta and tapenade into the grass. THE HORROR!! I was so internally conflicted- do I let the tapenade go to waste? Does the 5 second rule apply? Are these people going to be horrified if I eat this?
Needless to say, I was so obsessed with my tapenade, that I could NOT let it go to waste. I asked everyone if they would judge me if I scooped my lunch back up off the ground into my tupperware and ate it… they are true friends cuz they all said “no judgement” and didn’t even bat an eyelash while I finished my dirt-and-grass-covered meal. Probably got an immunity boost from that one- HA! Thankfully I didn’t get sick and we had some major laughs about it. Moral of the story is that this tapenade is so good, you will want to eat it off the ground. (Or at least I would!) #Classy
So why is this tapenade so boujee? Well that would be due to the addition of a few drops of truffle oil. Truffles are one of my deep food obsessions. Right up there with salmon and matcha, truffles make me do a happy dance. That earthy, umami flavor is really hard to describe, but when you taste it, you just know that the flavor is unbeatable. Yes, pricey, but a little goes a long way. Embrace your boujee side and let the truffle oil flow for this one.
Putting on my RDN hat real quick- if you didn’t know, February is National Heart Month. Olives/olive oil are touted for their heart-health properties (Mediterranean Diet, anyone?). Olives and olive oil, which are both in the recipe, are full of monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid. Research show MUFAs protect against heart disease and help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure.
Some antioxidant phytonutrients in olives have anti-inflammatory properties, driving heart disease risk even lower. The takeaway is that olives and olive oil are great sources of fat to include in your diet to really reduce heart disease risk. (Plus, it makes you feel like you are dining on the Amalfi Coast…how boujee.)
1 1/2 cups castelvatrano olives, pitted
1 cup arugula
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon truffle oil
Easy-Peasy Instructions: Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and mix until olives and arugula are in small chunks. If the mix isn’t holding together well, you can add a tablespoon of water or extra olive oil to make a smoother consistency. Serve over pasta, veggies, crostini, as a dip- you really can’t go wrong.
How was Valentine’s Day? I had a fun Galentine’s with my sister. We had sushi, enjoyed some chocolate dessert, and danced around in matching jammies. SO fun! Have you tried castelvetrano olives before?? If so, let me know how you cook with em!