Sweet and sour, with lots of olive oil, this caponata is my favorite vegan eggplant recipe.
Maybe this caponata recipe is a bit different from the ones you’re used to: I skip the tomatoes and the celery, only using eggplants, bell peppers, garlic and onions. If you were looking for a caponata without tomatoes, you just found it.
How to make it
Some bake the eggplant first, some bake everything together for hours: I keep mine simple.
Cube your eggplant, take the seeds of your bell peppers if there’s any and slice them. Peel and cut the onion into half-moon slices and chop the garlic cloves. Gather the remaining ingredients before you start and clean the oregano leaves if using it fresh.
Start by frying garlic and onions with olive oil for 2 minutes on high heat. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for half an hour, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent from burning at the bottom.
It’s done when eggplant cubes are soft. Thirty minutes are usually enough for me!
Wait for it to cool a bit before serving - unless you rather have it hot. I always cook my caponata in advance, as I prefer it at room temperature or cold. After one day or two, the taste is even more amazing.
How to store it
After cool, store it in an airtight container, in your fridge. It’s good for 2 to 3 weeks if stored right (it never lasted over 2 weeks here).
Will caponata freeze well? Hum, I don’t think so. The texture of the vegetables may change, so I wouldn’t risk it. But if you did, and it turned out ok, let me know!
Tips for getting the perfect caponata
- If you prefer yours less sweet, use half the amount of sugar the recipe asks for;
- Don’t forget to stir, or it may burn on the bottom and that can make your caponata tastes bitter;
- You can substitute fresh oregano for its dried version. In this case, 1 ½ teaspoon should be more than enough.
- I like my caponata with a LOT of olive oil: dipping bread into it is the best part. If you rather make it with less olive oil, use only ½ cup;
- I cook with less salt, so maybe for you only 1 teaspoon of it is too little. Taste for salt and add more if needed;
Serve them with crostini (you can make it with a baguette bread), or on a delicious sourdough bread toast. By morning, have it along with a coffee lemonade, or a refreshing iced ginger tea with lemon.
Easy Caponata (quick and without tomatoes)
- 1 large eggplant cubed
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- 2 small or 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 small or 1 medium yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- About ¼ cup fresh oregano or 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon chili powder optional
- Gather all the ingredients. Wash clean eggplant and bell peppers, then dice the eggplants in small cubes and slice the bell peppers. Peel and slice the onion, peel and chop the garlic cloves.
- In a medium pan, start by frying garlic and onion with olive oil for 2 minutes on high heat. Add the bell peppers and eggplant and stir until the eggplants absorb a good amount of olive oil.
- Add balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar, oregano, and chili powder if using it, and stir to combine everything. Cook for 30 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent caponata from burning at the bottom.
- Check for salt, adding more if needed. It’s done when eggplant cubes are soft.
- Wait for it to cool before serving.