Caponata is one of the most famous dishes in Sicily. It’s a delicious eggplant dish made with creamy caramelized eggplant, crisp celery, olives, capers, simmered in sweet and sour tomato sauce.
On my recent trip to Sicily I ate Caponata almost every day. The variety of textures and flavors makes your mouth excited. You can’t wait to taste the next bite.
Caponata can be served as a salad or antipasto. It’s also a great topping for fish, chicken and meat dishes. It’s great alone, on crackers or bread or you can serve it on a lettuce leaf. It’s so good it makes anything taste better.
There are many different versions of Caponata all over Sicily. Sometimes they use raisins and almonds. Some cooks include sweet red peppers. Occasionally you’ll find carrots or pistachios added. It can be made with fresh tomatoes cut in cubes rather than tomato puree. All version are delicious.
I use eggplant, onions, celery, garlic, sweet red pepper, olives, capers, crushed tomatoes, coconut sugar, olive oil, red wine vinegar and pine nuts. I’m loving the Sicilian olive oil I bought at the farm we visited while traveling.
In this recipe I roast the eggplant instead of sautéing. It uses less oil and gives more texture to the eggplant.
Roasting it is easy. Peel the eggplant (leaving small strips of the peel on) and cut it into 1″ cubes. Lay them on a large oiled baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Then add it to the pan to continue cooking with the caramelized onions and celery. Tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar and coconut sugar are added and simmered together to create an incredible sweet and sour sauce.
Caponata is one of those dishes that definitely tastes better the next day, which is why I recommend you let it rest overnight before serving. But you’ll have to treat yourself to some of it right away.
It keeps for about a week so it’s a great make-ahead dish for parties.
Some other ideas include serving it with poached eggs and toast for breakfast and on a bed of lettuce or arugula for a satisfying lunch.
It’s meant to be served at room temperature, but it’s also good cold.
I hope you enjoy this eggplant caponata as much as I do!
It’s satisfying, flavorful, and incredibly delicious.
Sicilians build things like they will live forever and eat like they will die tomorrow.
Until next time, have a fantastic day and enjoy the recipe. Eat lots of vegetables to fill your body with the nutrients you need to feel healthy and happy.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #eat_well_enjoy_life on Instagram. I always love hearing about your journey and your thoughts and feedback on making your own delicious food at home.Print
Caponata is a delicious eggplant dish served all over Sicily. It’s made with creamy caramelized eggplant, crisp celery, olives and capers soaked in sweet and sour tomato sauce.
- 1 ½ pounds eggplant (1 large), roasted
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little for oiling the roasting pan
- 1 medium onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 2 stalks celery, from the inner, tender stalks (the heart), diced (1/2 cup)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt plus more to taste
- 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes (in puree) or 1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably romas, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 heaping tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives
- 2 tablespoons plus a pinch of coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Peel the eggplant (leaving small strips of the peel on) and cut it into 1″ cubes. Lay them on a large oiled baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn or stir the pieces. Put back into the oven for about 20 minutes more until the eggplant is tender and some of the pieces are caramelized. If it looks like it’s beginning to burn cover with foil.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic. Cook together for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant.
- Add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, stir together for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and they smell fragrant.
- Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar, and vinegar. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick, sweet, and fragrant. Cover the pan if it begins to dry out.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Add pine nuts.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. If possible, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature.
- Category: Appetizer, Salad
- Cuisine: Sicilian, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-free