Caponata is a bold-flavored classic Sicilian appetizer that we ate day in and day out on my 30th birthday trip to Sicily. It’s equal parts sweet, tangy, salty, and sour, and it tickles your taste buds in a new and interesting way. The flavors meld together over time, so I recommend making this a day before you plan to serve it if you have the time.

This is one of my very favorite recipes in my new cookbook, Garden Grown


Makes 4-6 servings


  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided, to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 12 to 15 green olives, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, optional
  • Crusty bread


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the eggplant cubes on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of  olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. Toss to combine.
  3. Roast the eggplant cubes for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown, stirring halfway.
  4. While the eggplant cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and a dash of black pepper. Stir to combine and cook until the veggies begin to soften, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant,  1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the tomato paste and stir once more. Then add the diced tomatoes with their juices and stir to combine. 
  7. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the roasted eggplant along with the olives, raisins, vinegar, capers, honey, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
  9. Gently stir in the fresh parsley and taste, adding more vinegar for tang, honey for sweetness, salt for flavor, or red pepper flakes for spice, as desired.
  10. Transfer the caponata to a large serving bowl. Let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature for the flavors to meld.
  11.  Garnish with fresh basil and pine nuts, if using, andserve with fresh, crusty bread.

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