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 a simple dish to make in summer and can be served with just a piece of bread.
What is eggplant 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 caponata recipes and most have eggplant and onions in common.
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!
What do I need to make this recipe?
Like French ratatouille, this Italian eggplant recipe calls for fresh vegetables that are easily accessible. To make this easy eggplant dish, you need the following ingredients:
- Red bell pepper
This vegetarian warm salad is made with delicious vegetables and is pretty unique. It makes the perfect appetizer for your parties and gatherings. Caponata is one of the easiest eggplant dishes out there and it’s perfect for picky eaters too!
I love this easy eggplant recipe because it’s so flavorful thanks to garlic and onion. Fresh tomatoes and olives give a nice kick to the dish without overpowering it and together all the ingredients make a delightful meal.
What kind of eggplant to use for caponata
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.
Prepare the eggplant
You can prepare the eggplants by either frying or roasting them. Traditionally, people fry the eggplants to make caponata. However, to consume less oil, I always roast cubed eggplants.
How to roast eggplants for caponata
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non stick spray.
- Cut the eggplants into cubes and place them on the baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt.
- Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.
How to make eggplant caponata
To make this healthy eggplant recipe, start by roasting the eggplants in the oven. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in a large pan over medium heat and add in tomatoes and red bell pepper.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add in roasted eggplants, olives and capers with salt and pepper.
Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes and serve with crusty bread.
Looking for more eggplant recipes?
- The best middle eastern eggplant recipe
- Kashke bademjan (Persian eggplant dip)
- Persian eggplant soup
- Mirza ghasemi Persian eggplant and tomatoes
- Eggplant sumac meatballs
- Baba ganoush recipe
- Easy vegetable lasagna
How to serve eggplant caponata
Caponata salad 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. I also love serving it as a side dish with roasted chicken as it makes a wonderful combination. This dish is also great with Italian stuffed peppers.
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 caponata warm or cold completely depends on your preference.
Can I freeze eggplant caponata?
Absolutely. This eggplant recipe freezes beautifully therefore you can make a big batch and freeze the rest to use later. Once the caponata 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.
Eggplant Caponata Recipe
- 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
- 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.
- 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 one week.