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Plate of caponata with focaccia

Must Try Sicilian Caponata

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Yield: 4-6
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: One Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


An authentic side dish hailing from Italy, this easy Sicilian caponata recipe is the perfect celebration of late summer eggplant. The key is finding the right balance of sweet and tangy flavors. Can be made up to 1 week in advance and/or frozen. Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz. 


  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 lbs), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3/41 cup quality tomato sauce (if using jarred, I like Rao’s)
  • 23 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Large handful or fresh green herbs, such as parsley or basil, roughly chopped
  • Good sourdough bread or focaccia, to serve


  1. In a large, high sided skillet (or Dutch oven) warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add some of the eggplant (you will be cooking in batches), taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until light golden brown on all sides. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat to cook the rest of the eggplant adding more olive oil as needed.
  2. In the same pan, sauté the onion and celery until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the olives, capers and tomato sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and the sugar. Add the eggplant. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar is needed. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes depending on the size of the pan.
  3. Cool to room temperature and stir in a handful of fresh, chopped green herbs. Chill overnight to depend the flavor.

Note: Caponata can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in the fridge. To freeze, portion into small, pint-size containers and store up to 3 months.

Keywords: Sicilian, easy, caponata, recipe, David Lebovitz, csa recipes, Italian, side dish, sourdough focaccia