Caponata Recipe - Sicilian Eggplant ♥

Caponata ♥, the classic Sicilian spread of eggplant, onion, tomatoes, capers. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's easy vegetable recipe, the classic Sicilian spread called "caponata". It's just eggplant, onion and tomato cooked til soft, deepened with red wine vinegar and capers. graphic button small size size 10

Fresh & Summery. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. Paleo. All that and not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

Stock Up on Plump, Purple Eggplant

Tis the season and there's no beating eggplant: it's cheap, healthful and cooks up in a million ways. Now meet Caponata, my new favorite way to cook eggplant, Caponata the spread, Caponata the "scoop", Caponata the salad – and most of all, the eggplant-tomato mix there's no getting enough of.

The first night, I usually serve it as is at room temperature: is it a vegetable salad? a side dish? a relish? Then it usually turns into a spread or scoop. Once I served it with flatbread for an afternoon outing: very tasty, especially with feta and olives on the side. We especially like it on Our Daily Bread, toasted (nearly always in a in a skillet) and spread first with Homemade Ricotta. Step aside, avocado toast. Caponata's here to stay!

The more I get into meal prep, the more I look for and turn to recipes that can be made ahead of time and served in different ways. Caponata fits those meal prep goals!


"Tastes great!" ~ Anonymous
"Looks and smells great." ~ Sunny
"Caponata was delicious as advertised ..." ~ Bill

Caponata Made the List!
Best Side (August 2008) – see Favorite Vegetable Recipes

Just updated. First published way back in 2008!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 5 cups (easily halved)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 or more garlic cloves, chopped
1 anchovy, mashed (optional but wonderful, omit for vegan)
1 large globe eggplant (about 2 pounds/900g), tip and tail trimmed, skin on, diced small

2 large fresh tomatoes, diced small
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons capers
Salt & pepper to taste
Additional vinegar to taste

Kalamata olives (halved or quartered, added with the tomato)
Fresh basil (stir in after caponata is cooked and cooled)
Toasted pine nuts (traditionally sprinkled on top)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil until shimmery on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the onion, garlic, anchovy and eggplant as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat each time. Cook, stirring often, until eggplant has softened and become slightly brown, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato, vinegar and capers. Cover and let cook until eggplant and onion are very tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional vinegar. Serve warm, at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

SIZE MATTERS Consider how you might serve Caponata when dicing the onion and tomato and especially the eggplant. The smaller the dice, the easier Caponata will spread on bread or crackers as an appetizer, say. But if you're serving it as a side salad, larger pieces work fine!
TIMING To avoid burning the onion and garlic, dice at least part of the eggplant first so that it's ready to go as soon as the onion's beginning to soften.
HOW MUCH OIL? Soooo many recipes in general but especially recipes for Caponata use a lot of olive oil, a quarter cup, even a half cup. The more you use, the faster the vegetables will cook but more than that, additional oil does create a particular mouth-feel to Caponata. I'm happy to forgo that mouthfeel (and the accompanying calories) but for something richer, consider sautéeing the vegetables in more than my spartan single tablespoon of olive oil.
GOOD SUMMER TOMATOES OR ... Like nearly everyone who cooks a lot, cooking something new often involves using up something that, well, needs using up. Once I substituted 2 cups of Tomato Gazpacho for the fresh tomatoes, it worked beautifully. Another time I substituted a cup of "Bruschetta" from Sam's Club (love that stuff, especially during the winter!) and a cup of mini tomatoes from our garden. Wonderful!

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

Still Hungry?


~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Green Chutney ~
~ Easy Easy Radish Spread ~
~ more appetizer recipes ~
~ more eggplant recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Creamy Ricotta with Tomato-Cucumber-Corn Salad ~
~ Cucumber Dip with Feta ~
~ Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes ~
~ more appetizer recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Tomato & Zucchini Salad (< so many favorites this week, there's no picking just one!) Quick Broccoli Soup with Chive Oil For Instance Technique V (raw veggies with Italian dressing) Broccoli, Pepper & Celery Salad Corn Cayenne Tomato Ginger Jam (< another favorite!) Quick Microwave Sweet Corn Summer Tomatoes for Winter Greek Greens (Flash Cook to Eat Later) (< and another!) Mom’s Potato Salad (< and another!) “Lost Recipes” Classic Coleslaw with Boiled Dressing Dear Anonymous: THIS Is Why We Blog Ripe-Tomato Relish with Peaches & Pears (Sharon's Pickle) (< and still another!) Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad Melon, Blueberry & Feta Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette Caponata – Sicilian Eggplant (< and yet another!) Raw Corn Chowder (< and one more!) Julia Child's Cucumber Salad Israeli Couscous Salad with Yellow Squash & Sun-Dried Tomatoes Summer's Best Corn Chowder (< no missing this one!) Garden Eggs "Benedict" Spiral Zucchini Noodle Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing Warm Caprese Bites Turkish Cucumber-Tomato-Olive Chopped Salad with Sumac

A Veggie Venture is home of eggplant lover and "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019 (repub) & 2020
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Oh, I love caponata! Especially over crostini. Gorgeous photo, Alanna. Love the colors and depth of field.

  2. First photo with your new camera? It looks great. And caponata is one of my favorites, especially with cold poached salmon or chicken cooked on the grill.

  3. I have a hard time with eggplant. It is beautiful but I sometimes find the texture to be objectionable. Still I want to try this recipe. It sounds very versatile and I love the other flavors here. What's more the picture is quite appealing!

  4. Camponata is one of my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant. Gotta love Sicilian flavors! Beautiful colors, Alanna.

  5. I put several other ingredients in caponata: roasted and diced red bell pepper, chopped celery, white wine, a little sugar, and golden raisins or currants. I love the sweet-and-sour combination with eggplant. Anchovies, capers, and pine nuts are not optional with caponata, but essential to the blend of flavors!

  6. The sweet and sour is what makes it for me. In addition to raisins and capers, I add a splash of balsamic vinegar for tang.

  7. AnonymousJuly 13, 2012

    Tried it for the first time tonight .I added chopped red ,yellow and orange peppers and olives ...Tastes great !...thanks for the recipe!

  8. Making it right now. All done. Alot of prepping to get the small dice. Looks and smells great. I am taking off the lid the last 5 minutes of cooking to get rid of the excess liquid from the tomatoes. Also added a small pinch of red pepper flakes.
    I will serve it tomorrow for an appetizer on baked crostini French bread. I will heat it up just a bit to take chill off from the refrigerator before serving.

    Will have left overs..... Maybe! If so will heat it up so it is hot and have it as a side dish with grilled lamb patties or put it on top of the patties on a roll.

  9. Caponata was delicious as advertised, Alanna, with only suggestion from me being to reduce wine vinegar to one table spoon instead of three in order to make that ingredient an accent rather than salient component.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna