Aubergines and peppers caponata: a summer recipe

Since Summer it’s still here, I’m going for a recipe that definitely showcases the best of summer vegetables, with their full and rich taste.

This is a traditional Sicilian recipe, and I always loved the balanced mix of flavours and the richness of it, together with the fact that such an incredible taste is reached using exclusively vegetables and herbs.

Is the right recipe to add to a festive dinner for its colourful flavour, and it works well with meat or fish, or with pasta/potatoes-based dishes, but to be honest, is the perfect savoury snack or light meal simply accompanied by a slice of brown toast. Surely not a light recipe, but more on the healthier side anyway, not containing any saturated fat or animal product.

Although the preparation is not difficult in itself, it is a lengthy one, just because most of the ingredients are first prepared separately, and then mixed together following a specific order. It is well worth the effort though!

The recipe must be prepared in advance, ideally the day before, to let it develop the characteristic full flavour and a texture that almost melts in your mouth, but not quite, thanks to the surprisingly rich list of ingredients.


The recipe

Caponata ingredients

Ingredients for 4 persons:

3 medium/big aubergines

1 green pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

250g pitted green olives

1 onion

50g of sultanas

50g of pine nuts

1 piece of celery

400ml of tomato sauce

2 tablespoons of capers

150ml of vinegar

1 spoonful of sugar

A bunch of basil leaves

Extra virgin olive oil as needed

Salt and pepper

Chopped ingredients
Chopping ingredients ahead to have everything ready



Wash aubergines and peppers and cleaned them eliminating the green parts. Cut the aubergines in medium cubes, and then cut the peppers in small pieces after having eliminated the seeds and the internal white parts.

Put the aubergines in a colander, spread them with coarse salt and let them rest aside for at least 30 minutes while they lose their water, that is slightly bitter.



Frying the aubergines
Frying the aubergines

Then in a large pan heat abundant evo oil and after cleaning the aubergines with a kitchen cloth, fry them in the pan until golden. Drain them and put them on a plate layered with kitchen paper to let them loose the excess oil.

Fried aubergines
Let the aubergines lose the excess oil

In the meantime, place the peppers in the same pan, using the same oil, and slightly fry the peppers as well, drain them, and leave them aside.

Frying the peppers
Fry the peppers in the same pan using the leftover oil

Now in a big saucepan, put 6 tablespoons of evo oil and add the finely sliced onion, letting it cook until soft, then add the celery finely sliced as well, capers, sultanas, pine nuts, and finally the green olives and brown everything accurately.

Browning the onion
Browning the onion
Adding ingredients
Adding the pine nuts, olives and celery to the sauce pan


As soon as the mix begin to turn golden, add the tomato sauce and the roughly chopped basil leaves, adjust salt and pepper, and let it all boil for several minutes.


Adding aubergines and peppers
Adding aubergines and peppers

Then take the vinegar mixed with the tablespoon of sugar, and add it to the saucepan, and then delicately mix in the aubergines and the peppers, let it go for another 2/3 minutes and then take away from the fire/hob.

Transfer the caponata in a serving plate, and let it cold completely before serving. As already said, the day after it becomes something out of this world!

Buon Appetito!


Sicilian Caponata
Aubergines and peppers caponata left to cool down!

Lighter Version Tips

If you want to go for a lighter and easier version more for the day-to-day use, and with a less bold flavour, follow these 2 tips:

  • Stir fry the all the vegetables, following the order in which you add everything after the onion, and skip the pre frying of aubergines and peppers.
  • Swap the vinegar mixed with sugar for a glass of white wine, that will help you moderate the quantity of evo oil needed to stir fry!

Have you ever tried this recipe? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Fancy discovering another recipe? Head to the food & recipes section for further ideas!

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