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Fig Tapenade

fig tapenade with walnut cracker

Inspiration struck today. As did its friend creativity. The sun was bright for the third day in a row over here in Colorado and my faith in all things good returned. Whatever had a hold of me –seasonal affective disorder, Mercury in retrograde, who knows, who cares –it’s gone! I took a long slow walk and saw the last patches of melting snow, flowers popping up through mud and upon arriving home, I observed sap running down the maples in my front yard.

Spring, glorious spring. Even if it’s a taste, or just a tease, how it does brighten one’s outlook! In celebration of this beautiful weather I made a raw recipe that was unusual, yet delicious. I think this gluten-free fig and olive tapenade would make a fantastic hors d’oeuvre for a dinner or cocktail party and goes nicely with my Paleo Walnut Crackers.

Fig Tapenade

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  • 1 cup dried figs
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  1. Place figs in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds, until well chopped
  2. Add water and pulse to create a paste
  3. Add olives and pulse until incorporated
  4. Add olive oil, vinegar and thyme; pulse again for 30 seconds until tapenade is smooth
  5. Serve over Paleo Walnut Crackers

Serves 16

Although I have several different paleo cracker recipes in my repertoire, I created my Paleo Walnut Crackers to accompany this Fig Tapenade. They complement each other nicely.

The lovely Anina, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Valentine’s cooking class I held in February, gave me the idea for this recipe. She told me about it during the class and then emailed me the epicurious.com version, which includes goat cheese, stewing the figs and a couple of other steps that I omitted in my quest to keep things simple. Especially with the warm weather approaching, I wanted to make this complex, sweet-savory dish raw and light.

I hope you like it. Please write up a comment if you have other suggestions as to good “vehicles” for delivering the tapenade –i.e., what would you serve it on?


posted on February 28, 2008, 47 comments

  1. Christiane @ 28cooks.com

    This looks amazing. I will definitely have to try this soon!

  2. Diane

    Hi Elana;

    I notice you use almond flour almost exclusively. The only source I can find charges close to $16 for a one pound bag, and that makes me cringe! Can you recommend another flour that would work out nicely in your recipes?
    The tapenade looks amazing. A very good Italian deli in my neighborhood makes a fig tapenade with toasted pecans instead of olives. It is yummy. It is a good option for a change!
    Thanks for all you do.

    • Christine

      I get pretty inexpensive almond flour from Patel Brothers – on Long Island – they are an Indian grocery I believe. Anyway, the almond flour is about 1/2 what Whole Foods charges! Also, lots of nuts, dates, etc. for much less!

    • Cindi

      Ouch, Diane! I know it’s been a few years, but Honeyvillegrain.com offers it for much less than that. It’s $4.95 for shipping for any amount, and 5 pounds is $29.99 + shipping. It gets cheaper if you can do the 25 pound box. http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/blanchedalmondflour5lb.aspx?gclid=CMf_zMqhxqwCFRIr7Aod2kekOw

    • donna

      I love the recipe that you posted but due to a variety of reasons, I would use a combination of ground flax seeds, ground chia, hemps seeds and coconut flour for replacing some of the Almond flour. I love how my crackers turn out and will never purchase processed ones again. Including a dash of cayenne, black pepper, and 2 T. parsley and 2 T. Parmesan cheese makes them zing for a lot less cost than the 3 cups of Almond flour. Rolling them super thin (1/8″ thick) makes a huge batch.

  3. Diane-

    If you take a look on the sidebar of my site and go to the “purchase” section, there is a link to almond flour for $6 per pound.

    In terms of recommending a substitute for almond flour, I use almond flour almost exclusively as, like many with celiac disease, I have issues metabolizing high glycemic foods, which other gluten-free flours typically are.

    If you are looking for recipes that do not use almond flour, I would recommend checking out bookofyum.com, glutenfreebay.com or glutenfreehippie.com.

    Here are some detailed answers to your thoughtful questions.

  4. Tracee

    How funny you should mention Mercury in Retrograde!! Whenever things go screwy, I usually check to see if Mercury is in Retrograde, and it’s almost always the culprit, especially with the electronics in my life. I’ve always thought the nightly news should give warnings when it’s happening.

  5. Tracee,

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    Elana

  6. PT

    Hi Elana,

    So glad to find your website. I never use almond flour and coconut flour; your recipes and the blog has been an inspiration to me.
    I wonder if you would develop some recipes on savory crackers / biscuit and cake.

    Thanks,

    PT

  7. PT,

    This recipe and my walnut crackers recipe are what I consider savory cracker recipes. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you though; did you have something else in mind? Not exactly sure what a savory cake would be…

    Elana

  8. PT

    Hi Elana,

    Sorry if I have confused you. The reason for asking some savory recipes because I am on Candida Diet and need to limit any form of sugar and gluten. I tried your banana cake and it taste really good but my eczema got worsen afterward. I consider using stevia but I don’t know the amount to use in baking/cooking plus I dislike the after taste. For the thought of savory cake, it was because I tried a daikon root cake and taro root cake at a chinese restaurant, they are tasty but are using some kind of rice flour, so I wonder if you would be interested in developing some savory cake recipes?

    Thanks again.

    PT

  9. Pearl Zimmerman, MD, MPH

    Wow! Thank you for being water on dry ground. Most allergy cookbooks or recipes for those of us with allergies are unpalatable-not your stuff. I wish every allergist or nutritionist who worked with allergies knew about you and told their patients about your site.

    I think it would be a great addition if you could work your magic on a recipe for lemon bars. Thank you.

    • I made lemon bars using the crust and topping for Elana’s vegan raspberry streusel bars, and the lemon filling from “Lemon cake with lemon filling” at SCDrecipe.com Basically: 4 eggs, 3/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup lemon. Whisk together well. Heat, whisking constantly until thick. You will think you did something wrong, but just keep whisking, and eventually it will thicken just like magic. :)

  10. PT -I’ll keep that in mind :-)

    Pearl -Thanks for your super nice comment, I really appreciate it :-) I will have a gluten-free, dairy-free lemon bar recipe in my forthcoming book from Ten Speed Press, to be published in early fall 2009. Meanwhile, you might enjoy my almond butter blondies, same bar type concept, different flavors. Thanks!

    • Cindi

      I’ve made these both as lemon bars and key lime bars, and EVERYBODY loves them. The most common comment is, “I can’t tell difference between these and normal ones. Aren’t I supposed to?” :-D Yep, they’re wonderful!

  11. Jess

    I am having problems with this dough but don’t want to give up, so if anyone has advice, please share…

    I followed the recipe exactly and the dough seems oily and is cracking all over and around the edges. I cannot roll it out at all. I tried putting it in the fridge for a while to set up but it’s still cracking. Too much flour, not enough flour…? Any thoughts? Thanks!

  12. Jess -What brand of almond flour are you using?

  13. Jess

    I’m using Honeyville – this is my first cooking with almond flour and waited to get this in the mail to try a recipe.

    PS How do you know if the almond flour is bad?

    Thanks for your help!

  14. Jess -this is a great recipe to try in your first venture into almond flour cooking because it is so easy. All that I can think of is that possibly your oil measurements were off. The way to remedy this would be to add more almond flour until the dough is workable. Hope this helps!

  15. Laura K

    I never know how obnoxious it is to rave about one of your recipes and then follow with the list of changes I made to it.

    So apologies in advance…these crackers are terrific!! I left out the walnuts and just added more flour – plus a pinch or two of smoked paprika.

    Delish!! ;)

  16. Laura, not obnoxious at all. I love hearing about people’s changes and modifications to my recipes and yours sound delectable. Thanks for your comment :-)

  17. Dani

    I just discovered your website and immediately tried this recipe last night. That tapenade was fabulous and the crackers were great!

  18. Kathryn Olney

    I made the crackers and fig tapenade this weekend. A neighbor popped in for a visit just as I was finishing. We both sampled the results and were delighted. Wonderful flavors. I will be taking this to a Halloween party Friday.

  19. Hey Elana!
    This tapenade looks amazing! and the crackers too! I’ll have to try them out soooon.. Thanks for linking to my blog in your comment! <3

  20. Jamie Stern @ allergiesandme.com

    Hello Elana, Per our discussions on facebook, I have added one of your recipes to my website to share this wonderful creation with my customers. I have mentioned in press releases and my social media. I have also added links to your site in my references. The recipe is located at: http://allergiesandme.com/_webapp_2692888/Fig_Tapenade_with_Walnut_Crackers. Thank you for participating and please let me know if you have other favorites you would like to share. Happy holidays. Jamie

  21. Angel

    This sounds delicious. I’m allergic to walnuts, so would probably substitute hazelnuts for the crackers. But another vehicle for the tapenade would be to spread it inside of chicken breasts (possibly paired with goat cheese), roll them up, secure with a toothpick, and bake at about 350 or so until the chicken is done. I’ve done this with great success with various tapenades, and with pesto, and I bet the figs would make it extra delicious. Maybe also good with pork? Sounds good to me, anyway. :)

  22. Pat K

    Your fabulous tapenade is in my fridge at all times. It is delicious on your crackers and just as delicious on a spoon! Thank you for your creativity in the kitchen.

  23. Tonight was my first foray into crackers and I must say, these are incredible, and some of the best crackers I’ve ever had. Savory and nutty, the flavor is outstanding. But where this recipe is the most fun, is how surprisingly easy it is to make them. Rolling them out with parchment couldn’t be easier. I’ve never had more fun with baking than since I discovered your blog, book and almond flour. Keep up the great work.

  24. I made the crackers today. Instead of the walnuts I used a combo of walnuts and pumpkin seeds and went ahead and pulsed them into a flour as well. I used about 1 cup of almond flour and 1/2 cup of the other mixture. I halved the recipe. I also used olive oil instead of grapeseed oil, and I added about 1 tbsp of maple syrup to give it that sweet and salty taste. I topped with some canned smoked sardines and a half of a kalamata olive each. I think these would be good with some crushed carmelized garlic on top or in it and some fresh parmesan too. YUM! Did you have to grease your pan? I had a hard time getting them off the pan when they were done. I even used a non stick pan. I figured between all the nut flours and olive oil it wouldn’t need greasing. Let me know!

  25. Jenn

    I would love to try these crackers they sound amazing! I don’t have any almond flour though. Think I could sub coconut flour instead? Thank you for sharing all your wonderful creations with us :)

  26. Jenn

    Sorry! Just read the FAQs on substitutions.

  27. bechu

    your recipes are exallent.it is very tasety

  28. I love the idea of figs in a tapenade. Inspired.

  29. Kelli

    Dried figs: did you use fresh figs and dehydrate them or are dried figs commonly sold at health food stores in the bulk bins? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them there… Thanks! I can’t wait to try this gorgeous-looking recipe!!

  30. Bobbi

    My 8 year old daughter loves these crackers so much, she got up at 5:30am with me this morning so we could have the oven on and off before the heat of the day. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us!!!

  31. Nerissa

    Hello,

    I LOVE your site and with this new (for me) diet I really look out for treats and snacks to fill cravings.

    Anyways, I have a question. After having had tried a few recipes with mixed results I’m wondering if the ‘flour’ I have is actually flour and not some meal hybrid. I bought it at Whole Foods in the bulk section and after reading your FAQ’s and the Almond Meal vs. Almond Flour Does It Matter? article I can say that it isn’t nearly as course as Bob Red Mill product but at the same time has dark flecks in it which could be skin pieces which isn’t what appeared in the flour picture.

    Everything I have baked so far has come out a little crumbly and more course then my baking experiences with wheat flour. From what I have described does this seem like the way almond flour is or am I using too course of a product?

    Again I greatly appreciate your recipes and how this new diet is making me feel!

    • Hi Nerissa,

      Thanks for your comment :-)

      I don’t really have any way of knowing what type of almond flour or almond meal you are using. However, as you read, I only use blanched almond flour in my recipes (not almond meal).

      I have tested a number of brands of blanched almond flour which yield great results; you can find more information on these various brands on my ingredients page, have you been there? It has loads of good info.

      Happy baking,
      Elana

  32. Josie

    These crackers were DIVINE. I didn’t have walnuts so I used up some pistachios I had, plus I used melted butter instead of oil, added herbs etc. The dough was so easy to work with, but as I’m not good at rolling out squares I used a cookie cutter to make shapes. Thanks so much Elana for all your wonderful recipes.

  33. This tapenade is amazing – simple, easy and impressive. I added spring onions and truffle salt for a truly delectable (and addictive) tapenade. Thanks Elana!

  34. Kalyn

    Just tried these – they’re fantastic! I did tweak the recipe a bit. I ground the walnuts into a meal (the consistency of the almond flour) and added only 1 1/2 T. of oil, and I substituted rice bran oil. I also sprinkled ground organic rosemary on top. So delicious. The only change I would make next time is to use one teaspoon of salt instead of one and a half. Thanks Elana, you’re amazing!

  35. Joanne

    I think the tapenade would be wonderful served in endive leaves!

  36. Made these yesterday–INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS! Will be making for holiday parties for sure.
    I put a bit of chèvre on crackers first, then tapenade. Since I have to be very careful with sugars, I used only a half cup of dried figs, and half the honey–to my palate the tapenade was perfect. Sent half the batch, along with batch of your recipe for blueberry muffins, to my gf son in college.

    Thank you for such great recipes.

  37. Just made a new batch with these changes to make use of what was in the pantry. Used marinated blac empeltre olives, and organic raisins. Delicious! I can see other possible variations too. I always seem to get jars of exotic olives in the back of the fridge; parties and sales, I suppose. I’m so happy to have this recipe to use them up.

    Now, can you help with the five jars of fancy mustard? ????

  38. Jackie

    Isn’t there another flour besides almond for all of these recipes? High in fat and doesn’t Gree with my gf husband.

  39. Andrea

    Has anyone tried freezing these yummy crackers? Thanks!

  40. This is a fantastic recipe. I’m a caterer and use it regularly. It’s a never-fail crowd pleaser for everyone, not just gluten free folks. I like to use these as a base for showcasing amazing artisan cheeses, usually Brie. I then top the cheese with raw honey and fleur de sel.

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top