Navigate to Food section

Cashew Tapenade

April 08, 2024
Cashew Tapenade

Gabriela Herman

From My Life in Recipes by Joan Nathan. Copyright © 2024 by Joan Nathan. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

My favorite appetizer from Allan’s birthday party was the cashew tapenade with garlic, honey, thyme, and olive oil. No matter where I serve it, people love the unexpected combination of flavors. This dip will always remind me of Allan and our last family trip together.

Note: You can substitute almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans for the cashews, and oregano for the thyme.


  • 1cup (150 grams) raw, unsalted cashews
  • 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme (to taste)
  • 1large clove garlic
  • 1 ½tablespoons honey
  • ¼cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Yield: About 1 cup


  • Step 1

    Put the cashews into a skillet set over medium-high heat and dry-roast them, watching and stirring, until they are light brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Remove the stems from the thyme sprigs and put the leaves in a food processor with a steel blade, along with the garlic, honey, olive oil, a third of the cashews, the salt, and pepper to taste. Pulse until the garlic is pulverized and the olive oil absorbed. Add the remaining cashews, and pulse until the mixture is slightly chunky. Adjust seasoning, and serve, topped with a sprig or two of thyme, as a dip with crackers.