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two wooden serving utensils resting in a still filled with pasta, parsley, and cheese

Pasta with Olive Tapenade

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 43 reviews
  • Author: Whip & Wander
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


This Pasta with Olive Tapenade is one of my favorite ways to include a meatless dish on our dinner menu without sacrificing the heartiness that comes with a traditional savory meat-centric dish. The savory umami of the olive tapenade is the clear star of the show in this dish. When paired with a simple pasta, some deliciously salty Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, it becomes magical.


  • 1 batch of this olive tapenade
  • 16 oz pasta (whichever type you prefer, may use gluten-free pasta if needed)
  • 2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for 2 tbsp olive oil + 2 cloves minced garlic)
  • 2 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (If you can't find Meyer lemons and use traditional, start with 1 tbsp juice and adjust as desired)
  • 2 oz (about 1 cup) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 25 g (about 1/3 cup) finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Cook your pasta according to package instructions until it reaches al dente (firm to the bite) tenderness. Carefully remove about a cup of pasta water (I like to use a mug to do this) and drain the rest. Reserve pasta to the side.
    • If you're using gluten-free rice pasta: Rice pasta has a tendency to stick together when cooking because it's really starchy, so give it a quick stir every couple of minutes and give the pasta a good rinse after draining to remove the excess starchiness.
  2. In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the garlic-infused olive oil. Once glistening, add the olive tapenade and stir, cooking for about 1-minute to allow it to get a bit of direct heat.
  3. Lower the heat to medium and add the lemon juice, stirring to combine.
  4. Then add the reserved pasta and gently toss to combine. Add incremental amounts of the reserved pasta water as needed to help ensure that the tapenade is dispersed evenly throughout the pasta.
  5. Sprinkle the pasta with red pepper flakes and gently toss again. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the parmesan and parsley and gently toss to combine. This dish is lovely served immediately while it's warm or chilled and served cold.


Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
  • Calories: 549
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 1971 mg
  • Fat: 28 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 64 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Cholesterol: 9 mg