Caponata is a Southern Italian Eggplant dish, or Aubergine dish. So much sexier to say Aubergine ; ) It’s basically an Italian version of ratatouille. Ka-pone-ah-ta is the perfect appetizer over Crostini (hello everything is better on Crostini, no?) & it’s fantastic served with fish!

It’s bursting with color & flavor & is chock full of veggies. Great way to squeeze them in! I could seriously eat the entire pan of this. It’s meaty (without having meat, go figure we use that terminology) so my veggietarian friends are going to be very happy & I’m thinking even your carnivore friends will be quite pleased as well! (And yeah, I know that’s not how you spell vegetarian, I just like to write it my way.)


The hardest part of this dish will be chopping all the veggies. You’ll want to be sure they’re in manageable bite size pieces. So unless your mouth is huge or you’re a big mouth bass go kinda small! Also you’ll need to make sure the oil is hot when you’re frying them. If the oil isn’t hot enough the Aubergine (tee hee) will just act like a sponge & soak up the oil. You don’t want soggy Aubergine Cubes do ya?


I’ve also had Caponata with Pine Nuts which adds a nice little layer of texture so feel free to throw a handful in if you’re feeling cray-zah ; ) I’d recommend toasting them first if you do, just sayin’!



What you’ll need:
1 large eggplant – diced
1 zucchini – diced
1 onion – diced
2 celery sticks – sliced
1 roasted red bell pepper – roughly chopped
10-12 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 plum tomatoes (quartered) or 1 can of whole Italian tomatoes – roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp capers – drained
3 tbsp of green olives – roughly chopped
handful of fresh Basil – roughly chopped
1 loaf of French Bread (for Crostini)

What to do:
Slice your eggplant into small cubes & place them into a colander. Season them generously with salt. Place colander over a small pot or bowl to collect the liquid released from the eggplant. Set aside for approx 30 mins. WHILE eggplant is releasing it’s liquid do your prep work: chop your zucchini, onion, celery, bell pepper & olives & set aside.

When eggplant is done pat the cubes dry with a paper towel. Into a large saute pan add 8 tbsp of olive oil & heat over med-high heat. When oil is hot add the eggplant & cook until golden. Stirring frequently. Do this in batches. When golden, transfer the eggplant with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb oil. Continue until all eggplant is cooked. If you need to add a little olive oil during cooking do so.

Wipe your pan dry and add approx 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onions & celery and cook over med heat for approx 5 mins until golden. Stirring frequently. Add the zucchini and cook for approx 5 mins. Stirring frequently. At this point add the tomatoes & roasted red bell pepper. Cook for approx 5 mins. Again, stirring frequently. Add the capers, olives & eggplant, & 2 tbsp of the red wine vinegar. Gently stir everything together. Check for seasoning and add salt & pepper to taste, if needed add additional 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar. Garnish with the roughly chopped basil.

Serve over crostini! (To make crostini: slice your bread on an angle, place them onto a sheet pan, drizzle olive oil on top & season with salt. Cook at 375 until golden)

Buon Appetito!



  1. 1

    I like my caponata with a little vinegar. An Agrodoce.

    • 1.1

      Hi Ed! Yes, I did use it but completely forgot to write it in when I was typing up my recipe. Can’t make it without the vinegar ; ) I’ve gone back & added it. Thanks bunches.

  2. 2

    Very very nice caponata! My uncle’s restaurant served this on the tables of his restaurant with hot fresh Italian bread. Memories…

    Great post.

    • 2.1

      Thanks so much! Glad I could bring back some memories for you! I agree, It’s so good on bread. The flavors are just incredible.

  3. 3
    roberta /

    E’ vero la ricetta originale siciliana prevede di bagnare con aceto le verdure dopo la cottura. Provatela con del cus-cus!
    It’s truth, the original Sicily recipe wants vinegar. Try it with cus-cus!
    Gnam gnam

    • 3.1

      Ciao Roby! GRAZIE, l’ho usato quando ho fatto la ricetta, ma ho dimenticato scriverlo nel post (oops) per fortuna c’e “edit” eh he he! Non ho mai provato con cus-cus ma DEVO sembra golosa. Grazie Roby, a presto!

  4. 4

    This is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant!

  5. 5

    I should try more dishes with eggplant. This looks fantastic!

  6. 6

    Caponata is one of my favorite veggie dishes and I do love serving it over grilled or broiled fish. You are making me crave a bowl of it right now.

  7. 7

    This is interesting! I make ratatouille a lot for my family… but this does look different because of the vinegar/celery and pine nuts! Will try it soon!

  8. 8

    I adore caponata! It’s meaty, you’re right!
    I could eat a whole pan of caponata, I love it with whole green olives, it’s a suprise each time you find them!
    Go Paula!! It’s fantastic!

  9. 9

    This looks delicious and hearty.. and warm and comforting! 🙂

  10. 10

    One of my favorite foods on the entire planet is ratatouille, so I know I’m going to love this!!

  11. 11

    Neil made me a caponata last weekend and it was a lovely change from my usual ratatouille!

  12. 12

    I don’t make caponata often enough…it’s so good.

  13. 13

    This was so fun to make, I loved frying the eggplant!
    I posted this recipe at my blog here:

  14. 14

    Gorgeous! I’m not a veggietarian (I love that… cute spelling, if spelling can be cute), but I do make some meatless dishes each week. This one looks like a winner!

  15. 15
    Carolyn /

    Can this be canned?


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