Vegan Fusion: Mediterranean Salsa–Tapenade

  • 09/20/2012
  • Terelle Jerricks

Christine Rodriguez, Contributing Writer

You may have heard or read about the Mediterranean diet and how the Mediterraneans are much healthier overall in comparison to the average American.

As I’ve said before our Standard American Diet is S.A.D.

In fact, according to the USDA and their American Dietary Guidelines report, it is stated that “a traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with one of the lowest risks of coronary heart disease in the world.”

Also, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey documented this latest data:
“Americans eat too many calories and too much solid fats, added sugars, refined grains, and sodium. Americans also eat too little dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and unsaturated fatty acids (specifically omega-3s), and other important nutrients that are mostly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood.”  Report of the DGAC on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 B2-11

So now lets get back to the good news and learn how to incorporate more of these superfoods into our diet so we too can live longer and stronger. This recipe incorporates a staple of the Mexican diet, roasted chiles, which have abundant amounts of vitamin C and also a staple food of the Mediterranean diet, olives and olive oil.

There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects oncholesterol regulation andlow-density lipoprotein LDL cholesterol — the bad cholesterol —oxidation, and that it exerts anti-inflammatory, as well as vasodilatory effects both in animals and in humans.

Serve with your favorite baguette or pita bread. It is also great with baked pita, pretzel chips and just about any cracker. This salsa is so versatile even non-vegans can enjoy it. Try it on a roast beef sandwich or, on top of your baked fish. You can even add it to al-dente  pasta rigatoni and “wholla” an instant gourmet pasta salad. This will definitely get instant taste appeal from your friends, so be sure to make it for your next party.

Now I am doing the fresh, organic and home roasted variation of this recipe, but you can enjoy it just as well in the canned variety of peppers. I always prefer fresh because I don’t like my food processed. Just think more of trying to limit the possible elements that can enter your food during the point of processing, which includes the cooking, cooling, canning and storing; not to mention, the transporting.

Just give me the fresh peppers please, I can roast and peel myself, thanks!


2 Red Bell Peppers – roasted and peeled
2 Anaheim Green Chiles – roasted and peeled
2 Pasilla Chiles – roasted and peeled
8 ounces package – Crimini Mushrooms
8 ounces jar of marinated Artichoke Hearts (true whole foodies will do their own)
1 cup – Spanish Green Olives with Piementos (save brine)
1 cup – Kalmata Olives (save brine)
½ cup Capers (save brine)
2 Jalapeno Peppers
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 lemon
½ cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼  cup – Balsamic Vinegar
¼ tsp. Sea salt
½ tsp.fresh ground pepper
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper


  1. Roast the peppers right under a high flame on your gas burner, blackening them on all sides. Place them in a container or a bag and seal off for about 5 minutes just until steamed and the skin is easily loosened by peeling off. Peel and remove seeds. Small dice each pepper. Place aside in a large bowl.
  2. While you’re waiting for the chiles to steam, wipe off your Crimini’s with a moist paper towel. Cut in a small dice.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a non-stick pan on med/high heat, add mushrooms.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Keep tossing pan to ensure even golden brown sautée
  6. Add the mushrooms to the chiles.
  7. Chop the artichokes small and remove the tougher leaves
  8. De-seed the jalapeno and small dice
  9. Chop olives
  10. Zest the lemon first, then squeeze the juice.
  11. Add remaining ingredients including ½ cup of the brine mixture from the olives. Let them marinate for  a couple of hours. Serve cold or room temperature.

           Yields 4 cups. About 8 to 12 servings.


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