Friday, November 12, 2010

Sweet And Spicy Kalamata Olive And Artichoke Tapenade With Hazelnuts - A Great Vegan Appetizer Or Sandwich Spread

Sweet and Spicy and other Wonderful Flavors
This olive tapenade has some unusual flavors. Dates and crushed red pepper gives this spread a nice contrast. I love the taste of hazelnuts and added them to give the tapenade a bit of a crunch. The marinated artichoke hearts and salty kalamata olives provide the background flavor for the dish.

Most of the Ingredients are in your Pantry!
This is a great last minute appetizer when guests drop in over the holidays since most of the ingredients can be bought way ahead of time and kept in the pantry. And if you have a little flower pot of fresh parsley on the window sill you have it made! It takes only minutes to prepare and it can be made ahead of time - even the day before. (I just ate the tapenade I made yesterday and it tasted even better because the flavors had a chance to meld).

Not Just an Appetizer
This spread makes a tasty foundation for a vegan sandwich. For a hearty lunch, put a generous amount on a slice of crusty bread with some veggies like: roasted red peppers, tomatoes, avocados, English cucumbers, butter lettuce or some grilled eggplant, Portobello mushrooms or zucchini.


Kalamata Olive and Artichoke Tapenade
[makes 1 1/2 cups or 24 tablespoons]
1/4 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup marinaded artichoke hearts
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped plus some for garnish
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the hazelnuts in a food processor with an S blade and process until broken up.
Add the rest of the ingredients except a bit of the chopped parsley.
Process until the mixture is spreadable but not too smooth.
Garnish with parsley.
Refrigerate or serve immediately with crackers or a sliced vegan baguette.

Per tablespoon: 37.7 calories, 2.6 g fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g protein, 4.5 g carbohydrates and 0.8 g dietary fiber.