Eggplant Caponata Recipe

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Eggplant caponata is an easy recipe that’s full of flavor. This vegetarian eggplant recipe is made with fresh vegetables and can be prepared quickly.

Eggplant caponata is an easy recipe that's full of flavor. This vegetarian eggplant recipe is made with fresh vegetables and can be prepared quickly. 


 

We use eggplant very often in our recipes because it’s such a versatile vegetable that can be used in different ways. Eggplant recipes are very common in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Some of our favorite eggplant recipes are eggplant lasagna, classic eggplant parmesan and Greek eggplant moussaka. Today’s recipe is caponata, which is a simple Italian dish that you can make in summer and serve simply with some bread. 

What Is Caponata?

Caponata, also known as capunata, is a Sicilian eggplant dish made that’s usually served warm. It’s considered a warm vegetable salad that can be served as an appetizer, side or even a main dish. There are so many different versions and most have eggplant and onions in common.

Caponata, also known as Capunata is a Sicilian eggplant dish made that's usually served warm.

This Italian eggplant recipe is easy, simple and full of flavor. It’s such a delicious addition to a dinner table, especially in summer when fresh vegetables are nicely in season. We have this Italian dish at least twice a month in summer because it’s so good! 

Ingredients

Like French ratatouille, this recipe calls for fresh vegetables that are easily accessible. To make this easy eggplant dish, you need the following ingredients:

To make this easy eggplant dish, you need the following ingredients: Eggplants Onions Garlic Tomatoes Red bell pepper Olives Capers
  • Eggplants: I suggest using Italian eggplants since they are less spongy compare to globe eggplants.
  • Onions: You can use white or yellow onions to make this dish.
  • Garlic: It’s best to use fresh garlic and not garlic powder.
  • Tomatoes: You can use canned tomatoes for this recipe. If using fresh ones, Roma tomatoes work best.
  • Red bell pepper: You can use orange or yellow bell pepper as well. I don’t suggest using green bell pepper.
  • Olives: Black olives work best in this recipe, however you can also use a combination of black and green olives.
  • Capers: I love the addition of capers in this dish, but you can leave them out if you’re not a fan.

How To Make Eggplant Caponata

roast the eggplants cook the onions and pepper with tomatoes and eggplants
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non stick spray.
  2. Cut the eggplants into cubes and place them on the baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  4. Saute the onion and garlic in a large pan over medium heat and add in tomatoes and red bell pepper.
  5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add in roasted eggplants, olives and capers with salt and pepper.
  6. Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes and serve with crusty bread.

Serving Suggestions

Caponata is a very versatile dish. You can serve it as an eggplant appetizer at your parties, or as a main dish with some crusty bread or even homemade pita. I also love serving it as a side dish with garlic chicken or caprese chicken as it makes a wonderful combination. This dish is also great with Italian stuffed peppers

Storage

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan, covered, over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Can I freeze eggplant caponata?? This eggplant recipe freezes beautifully therefore you can make a big batch and freeze the rest to use later. Once it’s is fully cooled, transfer it into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. To serve, thaw either in the fridge or microwave and heat in a pan over medium heat. Serve with some crusty bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of eggplant can I use for this recipe?

I suggest you use Italian eggplants to make this Italian warm eggplant dish because they have thin peel and roast beautifully. It’s also possible to use graffiti eggplants, globe eggplants or Chinese eggplants if Italian eggplants are not available. Please check out this article by The Kitchn about different varieties of eggplants and how to use them.

What’s the difference between ratatouille and caponata?

Besides the ingredients that are unique to each recipe, such as capers for caponata and zucchini for ratatouille, the main difference between the two dishes is in their texture. While ratatouille is more of a stew, caponata is considered more of a warm salad served as an appetizer.

Is caponata served warm or cold?

Eggplant caponata is considered a warm vegetable salad, therefore it’s usually served warm or at room temperature. However, I’ve also had it cold and it tastes great. Serving this classic Italian dish warm or cold completely depends on your preference. 

You can serve eggplant caponata as a main dish with some crusty bread.

More Eggplant Recipes

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4.62 from 91 votes

Eggplant Caponata Recipe

Eggplant caponata is an easy recipe that’s full of flavor. This vegetarian eggplant recipe is made with fresh vegetables and is very simple to make. 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients 

  • 1 lb Italian eggplants, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green and black olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat with non stick spray. 
  • Place eggplant pieces on the baking sheet and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on the eggplants. Sprinkle some salt and mix using your hands. 
  • Roast the eggplants in the oven for 20 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Saute onion and garlic until translucent. 
  • Add in diced tomatoes and red bell peppers to onions and garlic. Cook for about ten minutes until they’re cooked. 
  • Add in cooked eggplant, chopped olives and capers. Cook for five minutes. 
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Top with parsley and serve warm with crusty bread. 

Video

Notes

  • You can also fry the eggplants instead of roasting them. 
  • It’s possible to make this dish ahead of time. Eggplant caponata can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. 
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight glass container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze caponata, transfer it into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. To serve, thaw either in the fridge or microwave and heat in a pan over medium heat. Serve with some crusty bread. 

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1161mg | Potassium: 505mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 228IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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47 Comments

  1. Oh it looks wonderful! I love egg plant, love the flavors here. Can’t wait to try it soon.

  2. 5 stars
    I don’t typically like eggplant but I LOVED it in this recipe! It was rich, flavorful and went great with some crusty bread on the side. Yum!

  3. 5 stars
    Oh yum! Such a wonderful use for eggplant. All those flavors sound fantastic together and I love the easy prep.

  4. 5 stars
    I fell in love with caponata recently at a local Italian restaurant. Can’t wait to make it at home – thanks for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    This look so good. I have never had eggplant caponata before, but I actually have a few eggplants in the garden right now. AND I love pretty much all Italian food. This seems like it was meant to be!

  6. 5 stars
    We had some eggplants laying around the house and didn’t know what to do with them so made this recipe last night, best decision ever!

  7. 5 stars
    I love that you added black olives instead of green to this amazing eggplant caponata. It’s a perfect dish as an appetizer, snack or meal.

  8. 5 stars
    All the flavors of this reminded me of a dish I had years ago. Can not wait to make again! Thank you!