Caponata – Sweet and Sour Eggplant

This eggplant appetizer from southern Italy can be eaten as a side dish or on top of bread.

Yield 3 cups
Time about an hour
  • large baking sheet
  • colander
  • large nonstick frying pan
  • wooden spoon
  • paper towels
  • 2 T olive oil
  • large eggplant (about 1¼ pounds), cut into ½-in cubes
  • salt
  • med onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 med tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ¼ c water
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T sugar
  • ¼ c green olives, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ c black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 T capers
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 T fresh basil, chopped
Directions Preheat oven to 375. Oil the baking sheet and set aside.

Place eggplant cubes in colander, sprinkle with salt, and set aside to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant under cold water, dry with paper towels, arrange on baking sheet, brush with ½ T oil, and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over the cubes and bake another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T oil in frying pan over med heat. Add onion and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, until softened. Add tomatoes, reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes, until reduced to sauce.

Mix in water, vinegar, tomato paste, and sugar, then add eggplant, olives, capers, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors are blended, about 5-10 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve.


Adapted from Donna Klein’s The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen (read my review).

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