I made a tapenade with the following ingredients: kalamata olives, capers, anchovy, garlic, thyme, lemon, olive oil. Although I rinsed the olives and capers (as per the recipe) the result is pretty salty. It's not inedible but would be a lot better if there was something to counter the saltiness even if it doesn't end up tasting like a traditional tapenade. I just want it to be eaten! Any suggestions what I can add?


4 Answers 4


My 2 Euro-Cents worth:

  1. Easy - Serve it with something un- or under-salted. Parsley or spinach are great at this sort of thing. You're not eating it with a spoon, so you can add some greens to your sandwich.
  2. Medium Effort - Puree some fresh parsley and mix it in. Parsley is famously good at soaking up salt. Note that this will not only change the flavour of your tapenade, but will also significantly shorten how long it can be kept.
  3. High touch - Get some more olives, drain them and soak in fresh cold water for a few hours. This will leach the salt out of them slowly. Then chop/puree the olives and mix into the tapenade to balance it out.
  • 2
    Thanks. I appreciate your ideas especially the one about adding more olives that have soaked for hours. I definitely did not do more than a rinse which was a mistake. I think I'll take half of it and add the parsley to try that, and add olives to the other half.
    – Arlo
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 0:54


  1. Veer into pesto. You could add walnuts or pine nuts and basil pesto style. This would be a good pasta sauce. I would eat it right now.

  2. Stretch it out with chopped spinach or arugala.

  3. Thin it with cheese. A dip with your tapenade and feta cheese or a mild blue cheese 50/50 would be dynamite. Or just with plain yogurt, which is very unsalty.

  4. Top a pizza with it.

  • I am so hungry for this stuff.
    – Willk
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 2:15

we've been taste-trained to accept balsamic in lots of places where sweetness isn't the norm

it's possible that mixing in just enough (2 parts grocery store balsamic vinegar to 1 part white vinegar) to tone down the salt without it tasting noticeably sweeter would do the trick, but be careful because sweet tapenade isn't tapenade any more

if it's on something oily or acidic, just using less tapenade per serving might do the trick without making any changes to the tapenade


According to the chefs of Bon Appetite magazine, the following are steps you can potentially take when you over-salt your food, in general:

  • Add acid (e.g. vinegar, lemon juice)
  • Make more of the food to dilute it with
  • Add greens
  • Add fat to coat the taste buds
  • Add sugar (if it makes sense in the dish, which it might not in this particular case)
  • Under season other elements of the meal
  • Not sure why this is being downvoted. My answer is the opinion of professional chefs, backed up with a link to the source.
    – nick012000
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 3:06
  • Sorry, but it is not specific enough to my dish. "Add acid": it already has lemon juice. "Make more of the food to dilute it with" - adding more olives would make it worse without the suggestion of the chosen answer to soak them. "Add greens": acceptable suggestion. "Add fat to coat taste buds" - not sure I understand this but there's already quite a bit of fat in this recipe. "Underseason other elements of the meal": not sure how this helps if the mouthful of tapenade on an hors d'oeuvre cracker is overly salty. I think the BA suggestions would apply more to a salty soup.
    – Arlo
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 14:20

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