3 Tasty Tapas Recipes Using Olives

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If you enjoy tapas, you are going to love these 3 tasty tapas recipes using olives. Tapas are often great finger foods, making them perfect for serving at cocktail parties.

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3 tapas recipes made with olives

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Tapas Recipes Using Olives

What are tapas?

Tapas are small Spanish savoury dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar. However, as with all good food, it has evolved and you’ll find tapas bars and restaurants around the world, and the tapas themselves have become more sophisticated from their humble origins. Combining several tapas dishes can become a full meal and a very good one at that. My husband and I had one of our very first dates at a local tapas restaurant, and so is a cuisine that is dear to us.

The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover”, and the original tapas were thin slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners created a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry. – Wikipedia.

To me, tapas are little plates of food to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family. I liken it to a Greek meze, which is a very similar concept. Sharing lots of different dishes as a main meal is one of my favourite ways of dining.

Tapas can be hot or cold, and include foods as simple as olives, bread (with olive oil for dipping), meats, and cheeses, to other delicacies like fried potatoes- patatas bravas, fried squid – calamares, anchovies – boquerones, chorizo cooked in red wine – chorizo a la riojana, and tortilla española – an omelette with potatoes.

Spanish Tapas

Spanish Olives

  • Spain is the top olive exporting country in the world, with the UK as one of the main destinations.  
  • Olives have been at the heart of the culture and cuisine in Spain for more than 2,000 years.
  • Olives date back as far as the 1st millennium BC when Phoenicians introduced the olive tree in the Iberian Peninsula. Thereafter, Romans and Arabs developed the crops using more intensive methods and it was the first Spanish colonized who brought the olive tree to America. 
  • Spanish olives are a great source of oleic acid, iron & vitamin E, as well as containing no harmful fats.
  • Eat olives and live Spain in every bite!

The Difference Between Green and Black Olives

The primary difference between green and black olives is simply the point at which they are harvested. Green olives are picked before they are ripe, while black olives are allowed to ripen on the tree.  – Today I Found Out

A selection of green and black olives

National Picnic Week

With National Picnic Week coming up this 21st-30th June, why not add exciting and bold flavours to your picnic using Spanish olives? With their versatility, Spanish olives are a great way to inject flavour into a multitude of dishes, both savoury and sweet. And thanks to this, olives are the perfect partner for enjoying at picnics, a great ingredient for using in recipes that are simple to make, picnic-friendly and absolutely delicious. 

Popular varieties of Spanish olives include Hojiblanca, Gordal, and Manzanilla, all of which are great when eaten on their own, as part of tapas, or included in the picnic-friendly recipes below. Olives are packed full of vitamins, oleic acid, and iron, and are sweet, salty, acidic and bitter, meaning they are a healthy and flavorsome addition to any picnic. 

Thanks to Olives from Spain for providing the recipes below. They show the different ways you can incorporate olives into your picnic this Picnic Week. 

For more foods to take out on a picnic, check out: 50 Picnic Recipes

Green checkered picnic blanked with containers of picnic foods including watermelon, carrots, blueberries, popcorn, and olives. As well as a wooden board with on the vine tomatoes, ham, and manchego cheese.

Manchego Swirls With Red Pepper Tapenade

These delightful savoury pastries are filled with so many good things!

You make a tapenade with Hojiblanca olives, sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil. This is spread over puff pastry and sprinkled with Manchego, then rolled up and sliced for baking. Best served hot from the oven – but will still taste delicious when cold.

  • Tapenade is a Provençal name for a dish consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, and olive oil. Its name comes from the Provençal word for capers, tapenas.
  • Hojiblanca olives are distinguished by their fresh aromas and the predominance of grassy and fruity flavours. It leaves a pleasant almond-like aftertaste with a hint of bitterness. The name “hojiblanca” translates as “white leaf” and this comes from the leaves’ silvery colour that produces a unique sheen in the sunlight. Hojiblancas are usually eaten as black olives.
  • Manchego is a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed. It is aged between 60 days and 2 years. It has a well-developed flavour, but not too strong. Manchego has a firm and compact consistency and buttery texture and often contains small, unevenly distributed air pockets.
Manchego Swirls With Red Pepper Tapenade

Tapas Recipe Books

Looking for more tapas recipes? Try one of these recipe books.

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Manchego Swirls With Red Pepper Tapenade Recipe

Manchego Swirls With Red Pepper Tapenade Recipe

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Delightful savoury pastries stuffed with tapenade.


  • 200g/7oz pitted black Hojiblanca olives
  • 150g/5oz sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 1 pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar
  • 1 roll puff pastry
  • 100g/3½oz finely grated Manchego


  1. Preheat the oven at 220°C/400F/Gas6. 
  2. Put the olives, the drained sun-dried tomatoes, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes and basil in a food processor. Add the olive oil from the tomato jar and blend until smooth.
  3. Unroll the sheet of puff pastry and spread the tapenade on the surface. 
  4. Sprinkle the Manchego cheese on top and roll from the short end. 
  5. Cut into 16 slices and lay them flat on a previously greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
  7. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil leaves.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself. This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 6/4/2019

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Grilled Olives with Manchego

Have you ever thought about grilling olives before? I know I haven’t! This recipe would not only be a great tapas dish, but also a wonderful canape at parties.

Gordal olives are stuffed with small piece of Manchego cheese then skewered onto rosemary stalks – for the ultimate in pretty. Or if you don’t have those, you could use wooden skewers instead. They are then covered with a marinade of garlic, shallots, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and pepper for up to 8 hours (perfect for prepping in advance!), and then grilled until the cheese starts to melt.

  • Gordal olives are big, firm, and crunchy, with a meaty texture. Gordal means “fat one” in Spanish, and these olives live up to their name at around 6g for one olive!
  • Worcestershire sauce is a fermented liquid condiment created in the city of Worcester in Worcestershire, England. It is frequently used to enhance food and drink recipes, as both a background flavour and a source of umami (the savoury “fifth flavour”). – Wikipedia

Here are some more Spanish Recipes for you to enjoy!

A wedge of Manchego cheese, with a cheese knife and a couple of cheese crackers.
Manchego Cheese

Spanish Delicacies

Thanks to online shopping, you can bring a little bit of Spain to you!

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Grilled Olives with Manchego Recipe

Grilled Olives with Manchego Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Marinating Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 38 minutes

Cheese stuffed olives on rosemary skewers that are perfect canapes for parties.


  • 24 Gordal olives, pitted
  • 120g/4oz Manchego cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 15g/½oz chopped rosemary
  • 15g/½oz chopped thyme
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. Remove the rind from the Manchego and cut it into 1inch x ¼ inch pieces (to fit the olives).
  2. Stuff the olives with the pieces of Manchego cheese and set to one side.
  3. In a bowl, combine the garlic, shallots, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and pepper.
  4. Skewer the Manchego stuffed olives on to a soaked skewer (or rosemary stem), three to a piece.
  5. Once you have 8 skewers with olives, cover them in the marinade and allow them to sit for 4-8 hours.
  6. When ready to cook, grill the marinated olives over high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the Manchego cheese starts to melt.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 128Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself. This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 6/4/2019

Did you make this recipe? Share it!

Tag The Purple Pumpkin Blog on Instagram with the hashtag #TPPBRecipes!

Black Hojiblanca Olive Biscuits

These savoury biscuits are made with minced Hojiblanca olives and are perfect for nibbling on with some ham or cheese with a glass of wine. They would also make a fab foodie gift, make a batch of them and package in a biscuit tin, cardboard food box, or cellophane food bag tied up with string.


Tapas Serving Dishes

If you are planning a tapas meal or dinner party, make sure you have plenty of serving dishes for all the delicious food.

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Black Hojiblanca Olive Biscuits Recipe

Black Hojiblanca Olive Biscuits Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Savoury biscuits made with back Hojiblanca olives.


  • ½ cup minced black Hojiblanca olives
  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  1. Sift the flour in a bowl, and add the baking soda.
  2. In another bowl, cream the butter with the sugar.
  3. Mix the egg in with the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the flour and minced olives to the liquid ingredients. Combine to form a dough.
  5. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes.
  6. Shape the dough into small balls, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF/180C/Gas4 for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 302mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 3g

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Tag The Purple Pumpkin Blog on Instagram with the hashtag #TPPBRecipes!

3 tapas recipes
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