Eggplant Caponata is an easy to make classic Italian dish that’s packed with chunks of eggplant, tomatoes, onion and pepper plus capers and basil. It can be enjoyed as a dip, with bruschetta, a side dish, or a sauce served with grilled meat or fish. Eggplant CaponataEggplant Caponata is a dish that my Mom would make every summer using the fresh produce from our garden. She would store it in the fridge and bring it out for lunch and dinner every day to eat with our food. My Mom used to make it with golden raisins which truthfully wasn’t my favorite so now when I make her recipe I leave them out. 


Why You Will Love This Eggplant Caponata

  • This Eggplant Caponata is a very easy recipe to make and requires only a few ingredients easily found at your local grocery store (or garden!) It’s a fantastic way to really showcase fresh vegetables during the summer months. 
  • It’s a great make-ahead dish to leave in your fridge to enjoy throughout the week in an endless number of ways, it’s an incredibly versatile recipe! (see below for suggestions). I find that the flavors only get better the longer it sits. It’s the perfect no fuss thing to serve at your next dinner party. 
  • The combination of salty, sweet and tangy is unexpected and absolutely delicious!
  • Eggplant Caponata is a dish that is naturally Paleo, Whole30, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal!



Eggplant Caponata


What Is Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish that is believed to have originated in the city of Palermo. It is thought to have been influenced by the many different cultures that have occupied Sicily over the centuries, including the Greeks, Arabs, and Normans. In addition to eggplant, traditional caponata typically includes a variety of other vegetables such as onions, tomatoes as well as capers, olives, and vinegar. The dish is usually served as an appetizer or side dish, either cold or at room temperature, and is often enjoyed with bread or crackers.



Ingredients You Need To Make This Eggplant Caponata

  • Eggplant: there are a few different types of eggplant that can be used in this recipe. The most common type found in grocery stores in North America are Globe or American eggplant. They are large and oval in shape with dark purple flesh. Italian eggplants are slightly smaller than Global eggplant and has a softer skin, I would recommend using this one for the caponata if you are able to find it. Finally the third type of eggplant that would work in this recipe is Sicilian Eggplants, they are very large and round and can be harder to find but meaty and absolutely delicious. 
  • Tomatoes: Any types of fresh tomatoes work in this recipe including Roma, San Marzano or plum tomatoes. Make sure that they are very ripe and sweet in flavour. 
  • Bell Pepper: I usually make this dish with red bell peppers, but yellow or orange bell peppers would also work for this caponata recipe. 
  • Onions: Yellow onions work best but they can be substituted for shallots (approximately ⅔ cup when chopped). 
  • Capers: I absolutely love salty capers in this eggplant caponata. You can either add them in whole, or roughly chop them into smaller pieces.
  • Basil: as the basil really stands out in this caponata, make sure that you use fresh and fragrant basil. If you do not have basil, fresh parsley can be used in its place. 
  • Vinegar: The key ingredient to make distinct sour sauce for this caponata. I prefer using white wine vinegar, but red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar would also 



How To Make Eggplant Caponata:

  1. Start by sauteing onion and garlic in a large skillet on medium-high heat until fragrant and then add the cubed eggplant to the pan. I find that cooking the eggplant in the pan rather then baking it on a baking sheet in the oven (which some recipes call for) is not only quicker but also gives the eggplant pieces a better tender texture. 
  2. Once the eggplant has begun to soften and develop a golden brown color, you can add in the tomatoes and peppers plus the vinegar and leave the caponata to cook for approximately 20 minutes on medium-low heat until the vegetables have become very tender. 
  3. Finally add in the capers and fresh basil and serve! 


Eggplant Caponata


How To Serve Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant caponata is an incredibly versatile dish that can be enjoyed in so many different ways. 

  • Serve it on crusty bread as bruschetta
  • Add it to a cheese board and it can be spooned onto crackers
  • Spoon it over simple grilled fish or chicken as a “sauce” 
  • Toss it into pasta
  • Serve it over grilled polenta
  • Enjoy it over scrambled or fried eggs

Should Eggplant Caponata Be Eaten Warm or Cold? 

Traditionally Sicilian Eggplant Caponata is eaten at room temperature for the best flavour while some people prefer to eat it cold. 



Ways To Modify This Eggplant Caponata

  • ​Add in raisins, an ingredient that is often found in authentic caponata
  • For an even stronger salty flavour, chop up some green olives or kalamata olives and add them to the caponata
  • Toss in a few tablespoons of pine nuts before serving for a bit of crunch
  • If you like a bit of heat, add in half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. 



What About Leftovers?

Once made, eggplant caponata will last for up to 4 days in the fridge stored in an airtight container and I find that the flavors only seem to improve after a day. This is a great dish to make a day or two in advance (leave the basil out and only add right before serving) and bring out for a quick appetizer with crackers or crusty bread, or to add flavour to grilled chicken or fish. 


Can You Freeze Eggplant Caponata?

Absolutely! Eggplant caponata can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Bring it out of the freezer and leave it to thaw on the countertop before serving. It’s a great dish to make in the summer when produce is at its best and then freeze to enjoy in the colder winter months. 


Eggplant Caponata

Here are a few of my favorite eggplant recipes that you might enjoy:

If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!

Eggplant Caponata Recipe

Every Last Bite
Eggplant Caponata is an easy to make Italian dish that's packed with chunks of eggplant, tomatoes, onion and pepper plus capers and basil. It can be enjoyed as a dip, with bruschetta, a side dish, or a sauce served with grilled meat or fish. Leftovers will last for 4 days in the fridge.
4.60 from 35 votes
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Diets Dairy Free, Gluten/Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Vegan, Whole30
Servings 8
Calories 80 kcal


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions finely diced
  • 4 cups chopped eggplants
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil


  • In a large frying pan on medium heat cook the diced onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. While that's cooking, cut the eggplant into approx 1/2 inch sized cubes and add to the frying pan. Season with salt.
  • Cook the eggplant for approximately 5 minutes until they become tender. If the eggplant starts to look dry drizzle more olive oil over top
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, bell pepper and vinegar to the pan and let the mixture simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes and peppers have become soft
  • Add in the chopped basil and capers and serve. Enjoy!
Calories: 80kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSodium: 230mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6g
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!

Eggplant Caponata