Olive and Preserved Lemon Spread

olive spread ingredients

I’m not sure what to call this appetizer…

I have been eating my preserved lemons with Indian food—lentil dal and channa masala—and decided I should branch out and perhaps make something more Mediterranean. How delicious would preserved lemons taste in a tapenade-like spread? Very, it turns out.

Although tapenade recipes vary—some call for anchovies, others for tuna, some for black olives, others for green—they all call for capers. In fact, the word tapenade comes from the Provençal “tapeneï,” the name for the caper plant. I don’t have any capers and so I used preserved lemons instead (they were the inspiration for this spread after all). You certainly could try this with capers though.

I feel I can’t really call this spread tapenade—what with its missing capers—and “lemonade” certainly won’t work. But I can call this dish delicious!

Once your preserved lemons are ready, this recipe takes mere minutes to whip up. Serve it with bread or sourdough crackers. I served hummus with this batch also.

Olive and Preserved Lemon Spread

Olive and Preserved Lemon Spread


  • 1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, cut up
  • 1 cup nicoise olives
  • 1 crumbled bay leaf
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse into a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
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