Chunky Eggplant Caponata

Caponata is an Italian summertime dish made with eggplants, tomatoes, onions and a sprinkling of capers. Kind of Italy’s answer to France’s famous ratatouille (minus the peppers). This easy stove-top dish doesn’t require any oven time, a blessing for Beth when the temperatures soar in Barcelona!

Caponata can be served as an appetizer on toasted thick crusty bread, but it also holds up perfectly well on its own if you’re avoiding bread or gluten. A larger portion makes for a simple and healthy veggie-packed lunch.

Choose the best possible fresh ingredients you can find; it makes all the difference. Our big-batch recipe can feed a crowd or you can freeze leftovers for a quick weeknight meal.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2.5 pounds eggplant, cut into large cubes (about 3 eggplants)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste (or substitute regular tomato paste)
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat before adding the onions. Sauté until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.

  2. Turn the heat up to high and add the eggplant, oregano and a pinch of salt. Stir well and cook until the eggplant has cooked down and turned a nice brown color, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  3. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

  4. Add the olives, capers and balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the vinegar has thickened.

  5. Add sundried tomato paste and tomatoes. Stir well. Reduce to medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

  6. Add the parsley and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until all the main ingredients are tender.

  7. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.

  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

*For the best result, make the caponata ahead of time to give it time to absorb the juices and thicken.