Kid-friendly Thyme for Olive Tapenade Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Thyme for Olive Tapenade

Recipe: Thyme for Olive Tapenade

Thyme for Olive Tapenade

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Geshas/
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
11 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Thyme for Olive Tapenade

Simple and rustic, olive tapenade truly captures the essence of Provençal cooking. But when you’re in the mood for something less traditional, we invite you to try this spin on a classic. Thyme for Olive Tapenade is crafted from finely chopped olives, aromatic thyme, and rich, delicious cheese! This versatile dish is not just for dipping; it's sturdy enough to slather on anything—a crunchy baguette, fresh cucumber rounds, or (our favorite) Kid-Made Crunchy Crackers. Trust us, you'll find it hard to resist every bold, briny bite!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Skillet
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Blender (or medium mixing bowl + immersion blender)
  • Grater
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups


Thyme for Olive Tapenade

  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 to 4 green onions
  • 1 small jar pitted Kalamata or black olives, drained
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (for 1/2 T chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 big pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 C (1 to 2 oz) cream cheese OR Jack, cheddar, havarti, or provolone cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub canned white beans)**
  • 1 T nutritional yeast

Food Allergen Substitutions

Thyme for Olive Tapenade

  • Dairy: Substitute canned white beans for cheese.


Thyme for Olive Tapenade


"Bonjour" (BOHN-zhoor) or "Hello" in French! Tapenade (TAH-peh-nahd) is an olive spread from Provence, France. It often includes capers and anchovies, but our version adds green onions and cheese to the olives instead.

drain + chop

Drain 1 small jar of pitted olives. Have your kids chop the olives and 2 green onions into tiny bits.

cook + brown

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on your stovetop over medium high heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring, until starting to lightly brown, about 30 seconds.

add + cook

Add the chopped olives and cook, stirring frequently, until their liquid has almost evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes.


While you are cooking, have your kids strip the leaves from or chop 1 sprig of fresh thyme to equal 1/2 tablespoon.

cook + stir

Add the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 big pinch of black pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.

add + cook

Add 2 teaspoons honey and 1 tablespoon olive oil, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until the liquid evaporates, 2 to 3 more minutes. Carefully transfer the olive mixture to a blender or a medium mixing bowl (if using an immersion blender).


If using a hard cheese instead of cream cheese, grate 1 to 2 ounces of cheese to equal 1/4 cup.

measure + add

Have your kids add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast to the blender or bowl.

blend + count

Kids can blend the olive mixture while they count to 5 in French: 1 un (uhn), 2 deux (deuh), 3 trois (twah), 4 quatre (KAH-truh), 5 cinq (sank).

cool + serve

Let the tapenade cool down before serving with bread or crackers, like our Kid-Made Crunchy Crackers (see recipe). "Bon appétit" or "Enjoy your food" in French!

Surprise Ingredient: Olives!

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Photo by ancoay/

Hi! I'm Olive!

"Did you know olives are fruit? We're called drupes (sounds like droops) or stone fruit, because we have a pit inside, just like apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums. You can't eat us right off the olive tree, though. We have to be cured first so we're soft and not bitter. Try us by ourselves or in a salad, a taco, or on pizza!"  

  • Olives are one of the most essential foods to the people of Greece, and they always have been. In ancient Grecian times, wheat, olive oil, and wine were the three most widely consumed foods, forming the basis of Greek people's diets. 
  • Greeks believed that the goddess Athena gave the first olive tree to Athens before it eventually spread to the rest of Greece. Olives were used in many recipes. Olives were also crushed, and their oil was used for lamps. Olive oil was also used as a beauty product. Women rubbed olive oil into their skin to make it soft and shiny, and it was added to charcoal and other natural colors to make eyeshadow and eyeliner.
  • Olives grow on trees! An olive tree can live anywhere from 300 to 600 years.
  • The oldest olive tree is located in Crete. It is 2,000 to 4,000 years old and is still producing olives!
  • The olive tree branch has become a symbol of peace, and two olive branches are pictured on the United Nations flag. 
  • Olives are not edible straight from the tree. They're too bitter. They must be cured first, which is how we buy them from stores. Cured means treated with a substance to preserve and change the taste and texture. Curing can cause green olives to become black from oxidation. 
  • What color are olives? They can be many colors: black, green, purple, brown, and even pink!
  • There are many different varieties and sizes of olives. The largest olive is called the Donkey Olive. The smallest olive is called the Bullet Olive. 
  • About 90 percent of olives are pressed to make olive oil, and 10 percent become table olives. 
  • Olives have lots of healthy fat in them, and these fats are fantastic for your heart and brain! They also contain 25 percent of our daily value of vitamin E.

What is Tapenade?

Photo by Katarzyna Hurova/
  • Tapenade (TAH-peh-nahd) is a spread from Provence, a province and region of France. It traditionally consists of finely chopped olives, capers, and sometimes anchovies, and spread on bread or crackers as an hors d'œuvre or appetizer.   
  • Tapenade may also be added to pasta sauce, pizza dough, salads, and sandwiches and served as a condiment with fish, eggs, and meats.
  • Dishes made with olives and anchovies or vinegar have been around since ancient Roman times and were recorded in their cookbooks. Capers, edible flower buds, are also an important ingredient in the recipes. The word "tapenade" comes from the Provençal word "tapenas," which means "capers."

Let's Learn About France!

Photo by Alliance Images/
  • Bonjour (hello)! Bienvenue en (welcome to) France and the spectacular Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and ancient Roman ruins in the Provence region.
  • France is a European country, and its official name is the French Republic. The capital city is Paris, which also has the most people. 
  • France's land area is 248,573 square miles. That is almost the size of the US state of Texas! The number of people in France is 67,874,000, about 43 percent more than in Texas.
  • The official and national language is French, which is also the official language in 12 other countries, and a co-official language in 16 countries, including Canada. 
  • France's government consists of a president, a prime minister, and a parliament and is divided into regions and departments rather than states and counties.
  • The French have a well-known motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
  • In addition to the Eiffel Tower, France is known for the Louvre, the most visited art museum worldwide (the Mona Lisa resides there), the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) in southeastern France on the Mediterranean coast.
  • France is famous for the "beaux-arts" (fine arts). Paris is still home to many artists and great painters, artisans, and sculptors. Great literature came from French authors, such as Victor Hugo's novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Paris has two popular nicknames. The most common is "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière), which came about because Paris was the first European city to implement street lighting in 1860, lighting up the city with 56,000 gas street lamps. The second is "The City of Love," (La Ville de L'amour). This name is probably due to Paris being considered one of the most romantic cities in the world and the high number of marriage proposals at the Eiffel Tower!
  • French cuisine is known for its freshness and high quality. Many of the world's greatest pastries originated in France, such as the croissant, eclair, and macaron!
  • Other French foods are escargot (snails!), baguette (bread), ratatouille (roasted tomato, zucchini, and eggplant—remember the movie?!), and crepes (very thin pancakes).

What's It Like to Be a Kid in France?

  • Most kids start school (preschool) at around age three. Depending on the area and the school, students go to school 4 to 5 days a week. They often get a 1½-hour lunch break, and some kids go home for lunch. 
  • Dinner is served at 7:30 pm or later, so afternoon snacks are essential. "Le goûter" (goo-tay), or afternoon tea, often includes a "tartine," a slice of bread topped with something sweet or savory (like cheese, butter and jam, or Nutella). Other popular snacks are yogurt, fromage blanc (white cheese), and fruit. 
  • Popular sports for kids are soccer, bicycling, and tennis.
  • There are several parks in France, in and around Paris. Napoleon III even designed one of them, the Bois de Boulogne, where you can find beautiful gardens, lakes, a zoo, an amusement park, and two horse racing tracks. In addition, kids can go on pony rides, play mini-golf, and race remote control boats at many public parks.  
  • Of course, kids can also go to the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992. While there, kids can go on a ride unique to Disneyland Paris: Ratatouille: The Adventure!

That's Berry Funny

Why did Rosemary get kicked out of the spice rack? 

She took too much Thyme!

That's Berry Funny

Did you know there's another name for Kalamata olives?

Greece’s Pieces!

THYME for a Laugh

It took days to come up with this rosemary pun.

It was a long thyme cumin!

That's Berry Funny

Two olives are sitting on a table.

Olive 1 rolls to the end of the table and falls off.

Olive 2 yells from the top of the table, "Are you okay?"

Olive 1 replies, "I’m a little bit sore, but olive (I'll live)."

That's Berry Funny

A lot of people don't know about Rudolph the Reindeer's wife.

However, she's mentioned in the song about him: "Olive the other reindeer."

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