Eggplant Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish that beautifully showcases the rich flavors of Italian cuisine. This vibrant, tangy, and slightly sweet dish has been a staple in Italy for centuries, often enjoyed as a side dish or an appetizer. Its origins date back to the 18th century, and it has since become popular worldwide, especially among vegetarian food enthusiasts and lovers of Italian cuisine.

Eggplant Caponata


To create the perfect Eggplant Caponata, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped (or one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Possible Substitutions

  • Tomatoes: Use canned diced tomatoes if fresh are not available.
  • Olives: Substitute with black olives if preferred.
  • Red wine vinegar: Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar can be used as alternatives.


Preparing the Eggplants

  1. Dice the eggplants into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Place the eggplant pieces in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt.
  3. Allow them to sit for about 30 minutes to draw out any bitterness.
  4. Rinse the eggplants thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.

Preparing Other Vegetables

  1. Finely chop the onion.
  2. Mince the garlic cloves.
  3. Chop the tomatoes if using fresh ones.
  4. Pit and halve the green olives.
  5. Rinse and drain the capers.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Sauté the Vegetables:
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until they become translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the diced eggplants to the skillet. Cook until they are golden brown and tender, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes).

  1. Add the Tomatoes and Olives:
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes) and cook until they start to break down (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the halved olives and capers to the mixture.
  1. Simmer with Vinegar and Sugar:
  • Pour in the red wine vinegar and sprinkle the sugar.
  • Stir well to combine all ingredients.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Suggestions

Eggplant Caponata is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • As a Side Dish: Serve it alongside grilled meats or fish.
  • On Crostini: Spread it on toasted baguette slices for a delicious appetizer.
  • With Pasta: Toss it with cooked pasta for a hearty and flavorful meal.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Storing Caponata

  • Allow the Caponata to cool completely.
  • Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Reheating Caponata

  • Reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.
  • Alternatively, microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.


Eggplant Caponata is a delightful and flavorful dish that brings the essence of Italian cuisine to your table. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting your culinary adventure, this recipe is sure to impress. Give it a try, and don't hesitate to make it your own by experimenting with different ingredients and serving suggestions.

We'd love to hear how your Eggplant Caponata turned out! Share your results and experiences with us in the comments or on social media using #MyCaponataCreation. Buon appetito!

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