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Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata

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Looking to switch up the dips you serve this fall during football season? This eggplant caponata is easy to make, elegant, and great new dip to enjoy when you feel like giving the basics a rest.


  • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 Cup pitted green olives
  • 1/4 Cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Calories Per Serving379

Folate equivalent (total)105µg26%

Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg10.3%


  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 small globe eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 scallions, white parts only, sliced into 1/4-inch segments
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons brined capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 1-pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Hass avocado, diced

In a small bowl, cover the capers with water and let soak for 15 minutes drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat until the bottom browns, 5 minutes. Stir and cook until browned all over, 10 minutes longer. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the onion and celery to the skillet. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the tomato, cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

In a saucepan, simmer the vinegar and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add the pine nuts and capers and cook for 1 minute.

Return the eggplant to the skillet. Stir in the vinegar mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then fold in the avocado.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch celery hearts, sliced
  • 1 red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup good-quality tomato sauce
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and torn into thirds
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°. Toss the eggplant with 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the eggplant on a baking sheet in 1 layer and roast until browned and tender, flipping halfway through, about 25 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, cook the celery in a small pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cooled. Drain well, and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just golden, about 5 minutes. Add the olives, capers, reserved celery, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar and salt to taste. Gently stir in the eggplant, being careful not to break up the pieces. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl or platter and cool.

Garnish the caponata with the chopped parsley, and serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/4 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions, raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and red-pepper flakes cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add tomato paste, cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons sugar cook, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and 2/3 cup water.

Cover, and cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and more sugar, as desired. Serve caponata warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 stalks stalk celery, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 ¾ cups tomato puree (passata)
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 10 black olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 leaves basil, chopped

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add celery and cook uncovered until softened, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander and immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat add onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant, red bell peppers, and zucchini and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato puree, vinegar, and sugar. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add olives, raisins, pine nuts, and capers. Season with salt and pepper and cook until flavors are well combined, about 5 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat stir in chopped basil. Cool and serve at room temperature.

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Go into any restaurant or home in Sicily, and you're bound to get a different variation. So it's made for experimentation. Usually there's celery and onion sautéed with the eggplant, maybe some garlic and a chopped red bell pepper in there as well. If you like more crunch, no one will blame you if you add chopped fennel, either.

Then there's the add-ins: Capers, olives, raisins, or for those who just can't decide, all three. Capers and olives impart a gentle brininess, while raisins plump up and add pops of juicy sweetness. If crunch is your thing toss in some toasted, chopped walnuts or almonds—buttery pine nuts wouldn't be out of place, either. And by all means, finish it with any fresh herbs you have lying around like parsley or basil. The moral of the story? Play around—that's half the fun of caponata.

  • 2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound onions, chopped
  • 1 pound celery, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup capers, preferably salt-packed, well rinsed
  • 20 large green olives, pitted and very coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh hot red chile peppers, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Combine eggplant and salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a colander, place a plate on the eggplant and weight down the plate with cans. Set the colander in the sink to drain for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bay leaves and let sizzle for about 1 minute to flavor the oil. Stir in onions and celery. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes do not let them brown. Add tomatoes and capers, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes. Stir in olives transfer everything to a large bowl.

When the eggplant is ready, rinse under running water to get rid of as much salt as possible. Dry thoroughly on paper towels.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in the same skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add the eggplant and cook, tossing and stirring, until brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until they are softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant and peppers to the bowl with the tomato mixture and gently stir to combine.

Whisk vinegar and honey in a small saucepan bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until thickened and reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir into the vegetables along with parsley and basil. Serve at room temperature.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.