Healthful & Delicious
Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres
“May the Calendar Keep Bringing
Happy Holidays To You.”
As the calendar brings us closer to Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, so it also brings happy holidays with an increase in parties and gatherings from now until New Year’s Day. With more and more of us eating cleaner and healthier diets, there also comes a quandary around the holidays—what to prepare and what to eat that is both healthful and delicious.
Today I share another favorite hors d’oeuvre recipe of mine that along with Crispy Kale Chips most tastily solves this dilemma.
Fig Black Olive Walnut Tapenade is a vegan variation on the classic Provencal olive tapenade (a coarse puree of capers, olives, anchovies and olive oil). The black figs in this recipe add body, nutrition and a taste of sweetness that blends ever-so-well with the saltiness of the olives and capers.
This is a very quick and easy hors d’oeuvre to make (especially if you purchase pitted Kalamata olives) and it includes a number of nutrient-rich ingredients (walnuts, dried figs and garlic). Crisp spears of Belgian endive add a freshness that crackers and bread can’t equal, thus this recipe is also gluten-free.
Nine More Ways to Enjoy Fig Black Olive Walnut Tapenade
There are so many ways to enjoy tapenade that by the time the holiday season is over, “the black butter of Provence” may have become one of your pantry staples. My thought is that almost anywhere (if not everywhere) that you enjoy pesto, you will also enjoy tapenade:
- Spread on a pizza
- Toss with pasta
- Add to an omelette
- Toss into grains
- Serve with hummus and crudites
- Add to a lettuce wrap along with hummus and a slice of avocado
- Stuff cremini mushrooms, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and cook under the broiler till heated through
- Add a dollop to fish or chicken
- Spread on a sandwich
Somehow just knowing about Fig Black Olive & Walnut Tapenade (and Crispy Kale Chips) makes for happy holidays 😉
For the best flavor, prepare the tapenade a half a day before (and up to three days before) you intend to serve it so the flavors mellow and blend together. However, stir in the walnuts just before serving. Vegan and Gluten-free.
Yield: about 1 2/3 cups with the walnuts
½ cup (about 3 ounces) dried Black Mission or Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
½ cup water
1 small garlic clove
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Half a dozen twists freshly ground black pepper
Rounded ½ cup toasted walnuts—1/3 cup coarsely chopped, and ¼ cup left as halves
A small log of fresh goat cheese or 2/3 cup of yogurt cheese
2-3 heads of Belgian endive or small leaves from a head of butter lettuce
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
Optional: assorted crackers
- Place the figs and the water into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the water simmers. Cover the pan and simmer together for 10 minutes until the figs are very tender. Drain the figs, reserving the liquid. (Even if only to drink it, it’s quite an elixir!)
- With the food processor running, drop the clove of garlic down the feed tube to finely chop it. Use a spatula to scrape the garlic off the sides of the bowl.
- Put the drained figs and the rest of the ingredients into the food processor. Use the pulse button to create a coarsely chopped yet well-blended tapenade. If you prefer a thinner tapenade, thin it with a teaspoon or so of the fig-poaching liquid.
When you are ready to serve the tapenade:
Coarsely chop 1/3 cup of the toasted walnuts and blend them into the tapenade just before serving. Separate the leaves of endive and place them around the tapenade and goat cheese or yogurt cheese. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and the halved walnuts.
Although I’ve shown the tapenade served as a stationary hors d’oeuvre, it would be just as easy to pass a tray of endive spears, each with a spoonful of tapenade, some cheese and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts.
For a sit down dinner, you could either pass the platter family style, or compose individual plates to be served as the salad course.