Meatballs With Olive Tapenade

I am in love with tapenade. I fool myself into thinking that if I just have fancy crackers with tapenade that it will keep me from eating so much at dinner, which in turn, would make me loose weight. I just forget to figure in how much fat is in olives. On Friday nights, we love to end the week with a Frication (staying home and watching Shark Tank, Last Man Standing and 48 Hours), all the while munching on appetizers. It is our way of making us feel like we belong with the “in” group which just snacks for dinner instead of sitting down to heavy foods. We just don’t tell anyone how many of these cute little “appetizers” we down during the evening. Let’s just say that the more intense 48 Hours gets, the more we munch. If 48 Hours ever becomes 96 Hours, we are going to need to join Appetizers Annon!

When I found this recipe in Magazine, I knew it would be the next Fri night snack. It combines tapenade with meatballs! What a great combo. I can make this during the week and wa-la, warm it up Fri night, serve it with pita bread and we have a winner folks.

Tapenade (Or buy your favorite)

1/2 cup pitted green olives

1 cup fresh parsley

5 scallions, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tables capers, drained and rinsed

1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped

2 teas Dijon mustard

2 tables EVOO


1 lb ground beef chuck

1 4 oz jar pimientos, drained (patted dry and chopped)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs ( I will use Progresso Italian seasoned breadcrumbs)

1 large egg, beaten

Kosher salt

2 tables EVOO

2 tables tomato paste

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tables packed light brown sugar

1 teas red wine vinegar

Prepare the tapenade:

Soak the olives in warm water for 5 min. Drain. Combine the olives, parsley, scallions, capers, garlic, mustard and olive oil in a food processor and pulse several times.

Prepare the meatballs:

Put the beef in a large bowl and add 1/4 cup of the tapenade (reserve the rest for serving).

Add pimientos, breadcrumbs, egg and 1/2 teas salt; mix well with your hands until combined. Dampen your hands and form into 1 1/2″ meatballs.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. *(I like to bake them at 350 on a greased jelly-roll pan for about 15-20 min or until they test done).*See below

If frying, add the meatballs and cook, turning until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. transfer to a plate.

Add the tomato paste to the skillet and cook, stirring about 1 min. Add the chicken broth, brown sugar and vinegar; cook stirring until sugar dissolves.

Return the meatballs to the skillet; reduce heat to low and spoon liquid over the meatballs occasionally until liquid is reduced by half. (about 30-40 min). Transfer to a platter and serve with the reserved tapenade.

*If you decide to bake them, pour drippings from pan to a skillet where you will continue with the directions above to form the sauce.


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