My quick & healthy version of caponata uses less oil and includes olives, pine nuts, basil to top it off. This recipe is delicious served warm or cold, eaten with fresh bread or as a side dish to meat.  What is caponata? It is a Sicilian eggplant/ aubergine stew that’s spiced with capers and olives served warm or cold.

My version is inspired by Italy and tweaked to be healthier, easy to make and use much less oil than the traditional Sicilian recipes.  The aubergine has been pre-cooked a few days before speed up the dinner preparation. You could also try serving this as a pasta sauce. This recipe is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and vegetarian. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium aubergines sliced, salted then grilled 5 mins then chopped in cubes (prepare this ahead of time)
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 70g black or green Greek olives
  • 400g tinned tomatoes (or chopped fresh tomatoes would also work)
  • 2 tbsp salted capers
  • 1 tbsp light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (white or balsamic would work too)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped almonds
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Add basil and or parsley to season
  • Optional extras, capsicum/peppers, courgette, zucchini - Italians even put raisins or grated dark chocolate in this dish too.

Method

  1. Slice the aubergine in rings approx., 1/2 cm thick, rinse and salt and set to one side for 10 minutes.
  2. Arrange on a baking tray and grill both sides 5-10 minutes with a little oil spray on top. This can be cooled and refrigerated for a few days before making the caponata.
  3. Once aubergine is cooked chop in cubes.
  4. Add small amount of oil to your fry pan and saute the onion for a few minutes until soft.
  5. Add the aubergine and all other ingredients crushed tomatoes, capers, olives, vinegar and sugar.
  6. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and serve warm with bread or as a side to your main dish. Also delicious cold the following day.