This pan seared tuna is topped with a tapenade made with Spanish Manzanilla olives and served on a crunchy cucumber slice. It's a fancy looking but easy to make (and healthy!) appetizer recipe!

A hand holding a seared tuna bite on a cucumber round.

It's officially party season! And you know what that means … APPETIZERS! Appies, tapas, picky bits, party bites. Whatever you call them, they make eating fun.

This seared tuna recipe is a take on a recipe made by Chef Dino Renaerts. He made his with flame torched mackerel, which was SO GOOD!

I've chosen to use easier to find Pacific Albacore tuna and sear it in a hot pan. Chef Renaerts served his on baguette slices while I opted for a paleo and gluten-free friendly sliced cucumber. I kept his tapenade exactly the same, because why mess with perfection?

A platter of seared tuna bites on cucumber rounds with olive tapenade on top and manzanilla olives from spain on the side.

I know that seared tuna sounds like a fancy recipe that is hard to make, but trust me, it's super easy. The best part is that it can be made 100% in advance so there is no fiddling around last minute trying to put together your appy while your friends are knocking at your door.

Make-ahead appetizers are the best for parties! Especially ones that look as pretty and are as tasty as this seared tuna.

The star of this recipe is the Spanish manzanilla olive tapenade. Manzanilla Olives from Spain are buttery, smooth flavored, and are not overly salty. They're absolutely perfect in the tapenade as they don't overpower the seared tuna.

A bowl of Spanish manzanilla olive tapenade next to seared tuna bites.

How to make seared tuna bites with manzanilla olives from Spain tapenade

  1. Start with buying sushi-grade Pacific Albacore tuna. And please make sure that it is caught with a pole and line! (ie: avoid buying any tuna that was caught with longlines.)
  2. Next, season both sides with a little salt and lots of pepper.
  3. Then sear the tuna steak for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side in a super hot pan. This is the only tricky-ish step as we all tend to want to overcook meat. Just remember, this is sushi-grade tuna that can be eaten completely raw.
  4. Now all you have to do is slice the tuna, pop the slices on cucumber rounds, and top with a little of the tapenade. To make them extra pretty you can finish them with a tiny basil leaf.

That's it!

And if you don't have any parties in the near future, you can turn these seared tuna bites into lunch. Slice the tuna, fan it out over an arugula salad, and top with the Spanish manzanilla olive tapenade. So easy and so delicious!

And if you love tuna, also try this tuna steak recipe!

Favorite recipes using olives from Spain:

Assembling the seared tuna bites.

Easy Appetizer Recipes

A platter of seared tuna bites on cucumber rounds with olive tapenade on top and manzanilla olives from spain on the side.

Seared Tuna with Spanish Manzanilla Tapenade

This pan seared tuna is topped with a tapenade made with Spanish Manzanilla olives and served on a crunchy cucumber slice. It's a fancy looking but easy to make (and healthy!) appetizer recipe!

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

5 stars (16 ratings)
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Ingredients

Tapenade

  • 10 Spanish manzanilla olives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon capers, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 3 basil leaves, minced

Seared Tuna Bites

  • 6 ounces sushi-grade, Pacific Albacore tuna steak
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 cucumber slices
  • Small basil leaves and black pepper, to garnish

Instructions 

  • To make the tapenade, mix the Spanish manzanilla olives, capers, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, thyme, anchovies, and minced basil in a small bowl.
    10 Spanish manzanilla olives, 1 teaspoon capers, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme, 2 anchovy fillets, 3 basil leaves
  • Place a cast iron pan over high heat and let it heat until VERY hot.
  • While the pan is heating, season both sides of the tuna with pepper and salt. Just before adding the tuna to the pan, pour the oil into the center of the pan and place the tuna on top. Sear for 1 ½ minutes then flip over and sear for 1 ½ minutes more. Remove from the pan, let cool slightly, then slice into 12 pieces.
    6 ounces sushi-grade, Pacific Albacore tuna steak, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Place one piece of tuna on top of each cucumber slice, top with some tapenade, a little basil leaf, and some black pepper.
    12 cucumber slices, Small basil leaves and black pepper

Notes

This seared tuna can be assembled a few hours in advance and kept in your fridge until you are ready to serve it.
Serving: 1 seared tuna tapenade bite, Calories: 29kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 111mg, Potassium: 49mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 318IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg
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