Caponata from Sicily

Caponata is a classic plant-based Sicilian dish with a sweet and sour taste, served on toasted bread slices as an appetizer or as a side dish.

It’s main ingredient is eggplant, so the season when it is eaten the most is summer. It can also be preserved in jars to have it available all year long.

There are many varieties of the caponata, but they all share the same basic ingredients: olive oil, eggplants, onions, celery, tomato sauce, green olives, capers, and basil. Pepper, black olives, pine nuts or almonds, and dry grapes can also be added.

Here is how we make it.


Ingredients for Sicilian caponata
  • Eggplant: 4
  • Belly pepper: 3 (Catania version)
  • Celery: some sprigs of celery
  • Tomato pulp and tomato coulis
  • Black olives
  • Green olives (Catania version)
  • Onion
  • Capers
  • White vinegar
  • Pine nuts or almonds
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How to make it

Making of Sicilian caponata
  • Dice the eggplant and add salt to let the bitterness run off. Wait about half an hour, rinse and drain. Dry the eggplants. Sauté them in a frying pan for a few minutes with some oil.
  • Wash the peppers and cut them into strips. Sauté in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, drain and add to the sauce.
  • Clean the celery and cut it into cubes. Put it in boiling water for five minutes.
  • Cut the onion into strips and brown it in a pan with oil.
  • Drain the celery and add it to the onions. Also, add the pitted olives, capers, tomato pulp, vinegar, and warm water.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, then add the cooked eggplant, toasted pine nuts (or almonds), and basil. Let cool for at least half an hour.

Add some raw olive oil and enjoy!

Have you ever tried caponata? What is your favorite version? We are curious, let us know in our Instagram channel 🙂

About Valentina

Hi, I’m Valentina. I’m a communication strategy consultant and culture bridge. Passionate about plant-based food, I share inspiration from the cultures I know best: Italian, French and Chinese ones.