Caponata recipe: a Sicilian, authentic and traditional eggplant dish.

caponata recipe from Italy
caponata recipe from Sicily

My childhood has been a delicious vegetarian adventure. Full of eggplants and Sicilian recipes (the ones my grandmother tough my mom as soon as she met her and delivered her the responsibility to feed her only figlio maschio/son).

Eggplant nights were my favorite: cheesy parmigiana, stuffed eggplants or pasta con le melanzane. And queen of them all… la caponata! Served with crusty Italian bread and a salad, or with a cheese plate and a few bruschettas, always a magic, tasty, mouthwatering night. I’m quite sure no one stopped at the first serving, and many of us went through the third one.

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This recipe, from a wonderful book I recommend (Sicilia in cucina: the flavors of Sicily) calls for toasted almonds, but pine nuts are a delicious alternative (that’s what nonna recommended).

Eggplant caponata recipe #gourmetproject
5 from 4 votes

caponata recipe

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 (main) – 4 (side dish)
Author Claudia Rinaldi | Gourmet Project


  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1,5 cups tomato passata 200 gr – 7 oz
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 handfuls white (or black or taggiasche deseeded olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3.5 oz peeled almonds (or pine nuts) 100 gr
  • 3.5 oz raisins 100 gr
  • 2 tablespoons pure honey
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper


  1. Dice the eggplants.
  2. Toast almonds, over a medium heat, in a large skillet.
  3. Remove almonds and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add eggplants and fry them (medium/low heat) until well cooked (20-30 minutes, depending on how big pieces are).
  4. Meanwhile peel and finely chop carrots, onion and celery.
  5. Remove eggplants, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and brown the onion. Add carrots and celery and sauté them until tender (not squashy – about 6-8 minutes).
  6. Add the tomato puree and basil. Mix and, if it looks too dry, add water. Cook 8-10 minutes.
  7. Add eggplants, capers, olives, raisins, almonds, honey, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix and cook until the pungent smell of vinegar has vanished.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Eggplant caponata is delicious when hot, but paradisiac when cold.

enjoy your caponata!



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