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Healthy Party Snack: Fig and Walnut Tapenade

By Megan Tempest in Food on Feb 9, 2010 6:20PM

We served this unconventional Super Bowl appetizer to some skeptical beer-loving, sausage pizza-eating football fans. Under the alias “Fruit and Walnut Dip” the luscious combination of figs, toasted walnuts, olives and capers, was a smash hit.

What's not love? Figs are supernaturally sweet and full of fiber and heart-healthy potassium. Walnuts are a concentrated source of Omega-3 fatty acids and, with the addition of olive oil, make this “dip” abundant in cardio-protective fats. Daikon (sold at most Asian markets and typically at Whole Foods) is a large, mild white radish common to Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisine. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, has enzymes that aid digestion, and contains compounds known as isothiocyanates, which are believed to prevent cancer and suppress tumor growth. Healthy and delicious - isn't nature amazing? This recipe is a creation of the charismatic whole-foods guru Christina Pirello.

Fig and Walnut Tapenade on Daikon Rounds

1 cup minced, stemmed, dried figs
1/3 cup spring or filtered water
1/2 cup coarsely chopped oil-cured black olives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon capers, drained, but not rinsed, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced, fresh parsley
sea salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces, lightly pan toasted
20-30 1/4-inch thick daikon rounds


  1. To prepare the tapenade, combine figs and water in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until the figs are soft and the water has dissipated, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in olives, olive oil, vinegar, capers and parsley. Season to taste with salt, remembering that the olives and capers are salty. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
  2. Pan toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook daikon rounds until crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Drain and arrange on a platter. Cover and chill completely.
  4. To serve, arrange daikon rounds around the rim of a platter. Just before serving, fold walnuts into tapenade and mound in the center of the platter, allowing guests to serve themselves. Makes 10-15 servings.
  5. Note: The tapenade can be made a couple of days in advance of the party, but do not stir in the nuts until serving time, as they will get soft. The daikon can be cooked the morning of the party.