Eggplant Caponata

In this Sicilian-inspired eggplant caponata recipe, the traditional eggplant and tomato combination is spiked with briny olives and capers. Salt-packed capers are tender, with a fuller, more complex flavor compared to capers in liquid brine. Be sure to rinse them well before using. Serve the caponata with crostini as an appetizer or use as a topping for chicken or fish.

a recipe photo of the Eggplant Caponata
Photo: Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Annie Probst
Active Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins


  • 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


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

  2. 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; 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 the mixture to a large bowl.

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

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

  5. 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.

To make ahead

Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

180 Calories
13g Fat
16g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Serving Size scant 1 cup
Calories 180
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 9g
Added Sugars 2g 4%
Protein 2g 4%
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Vitamin A 785IU 16%
Vitamin C 27mg 30%
Vitamin E 2mg 13%
Folate 56mcg 14%
Vitamin K 37mcg 31%
Sodium 368mg 16%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Magnesium 32mg 8%
Potassium 541mg 12%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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