The Best Appetizer

I make this on any given weeknight when I want something divine, but can’t really come up with an actual meal idea. What’s great about caponata is that you don’t necessarily have to have absolutely every single vegetable that typically goes in it, though eggplant is key. So, while I typically make this at home with my husband, I made it for my mother last time I visited. And she loved it, hence the “oh, it looks good,” in the video : )


Oh, and one more note on the caponata, you really should make it and bring it to a dinner party as an appetizer on really crusty bread and watch people be all like, “OMG I thought vegans just ate vegetables.” HAHAHA. It is just vegetables you morons LOL. But for reals, there is nothing not to love about this dish vegan or not. And while it’s not a stretch to come up with your own version by combining different takes from a gazillion chefs, I just had to put this out because again, it’s amore!


PREP TIME: 40 minutes | COOK TIME: 1 hour

  • 2 medium sized eggplants
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup capers
  • ¼-½ cup red wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped OR substitute 2 TBS Italian seasoning for fresh
  • ¼ cup roasted pine nuts

Cut eggplant into cubes and “salt” it by placing in a calendar in the sink and sprinkling with salt. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes then rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Salting it helps draw out the excess liquid so your dish doesn’t get quite as soupy. Not a necessary step but one I prefer. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Once eggplant is dried, spread evenly on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, cut remaining vegetables into same size hunks and sautė in an oven-safe dish (like a covered Dutch Oven) olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, olives and capers and sautė for another 2-3 minutes. Add red wine and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Gently fold in the roasted eggplant, add salt and pepper, bay leaf, herbs, and cook covered for 30-40 minutes. When serving, sprinkle with pine nuts. That’s it. Serve with crusty bread and a good bottle of wine … leftovers are fabulous added to pasta, or used to top off seafood or added into a grain bowl for a distinctive Mediterranean flare. Enjoy!!

How to Choose an Olive Oil

Cold pressed. Made in Italy. Extra virgin. Deciphering olive oil … notes from industry experts and an Iron Chef on what to choose.

On Being a Flexitarian

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