It has been a quiet week for us here in Palermo. A bit rainy too, so we’ve been at home for most of the week enjoying our tiny space.

Caponata Siciliana

Since moving here in September, we really haven’t “settled in”. If we aren’t travelling on the weekends, then we’re off somewhere during the week. We’re constantly checking bus and train schedules, so being home for an entire 12 days simply feels nice.

Caponata Siciliana

Making Sicilian food at home is a lot easier than I thought. I expected the recipes to be complicated since I had never even heard of half of the dishes we’ve tried, but so far my experience has been the exact opposite. Whenever I ask someone for a recipe, whether it’s for arancini, pasta alla norma, or parmigiana bianca I always just get a list of a couple ingredients and am told to “go and figure it out”. Following a recipe in its exact instructions, is not a Sicilian thing to do.

Caponata Siciliana

I wanted to save this recipe for last, but I really can’t wait any longer since it’s my favorite. Caponata (or caponata siciliana) is probably the most Sicilian recipe I could possibly share with you. It’s a sweet and sour vegetable antipasti that combines eggplant, tomatoes, celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, salted capers, onions, and green olives.


If you Google caponata, you’ll find that every recipe is different, and in Sicily it’s a lot like that too. Paul and I have tried the caponata at every new restaurant we’ve gone to and have created this recipe to make, what we consider, the ultimate caponata!

The highlights of this recipe? Big chunks of green olives, diced canned tomatoes over fresh (it helps make a juicier sauce), capers in salt over capers in brine, and red wine vinegar!

Caponata Siciliana

Happy Sunday! xx

Caponata Siciliana

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • Sprinkle of fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp capers packed in salt, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Freshly cracked black pepper and fine sea salt, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Chopped fresh basil


  1. Place the cubed eggplant in a colander and toss well with a sprinkle of salt. Let the eggplant sit for about an hour. Do not rinse the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the eggplant on a lined baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until it looks slightly browned and has shrunk in size.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté the chopped onions in 1/4 cup of olive oil, gently, for about 5 minutes. Add in the celery and 2 tablespoons of water and sauté for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the olives, capers, vinegar and sugar and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the roasted eggplant, stir, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Allow dip to sit and marinate for at least one hour (more time is better). You can leave it on the counter or put it in the fridge for later.
  6. Before serving, add a sprinkle of sea salt, some fresh cracked pepper, and a few glugs of olive oil, if desired.
  7. Serve at room temperature or warmed with a bit of chopped fresh basil and some crusty bread.


This lasts several days in the fridge and freezes really well!

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20 Responses to Sicilian Sundays: Caponata Siciliana

  1. This looks so delicious! I love how simple Mediterranean food can be. I am a big fan of olives and capers and bet their saltiness contrasts so well with the sugar and vinegar. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Leslie says:

    I want this!!!!

  3. Happy Sunday right back at you two 😀 That sounds wonderful to have almost two entire weeks to settle in, at least a little bit more 🙂
    This caponata looks deeeelicious! I am going to plan my coming week’s food shop, and I will most definitely be jotting down a couple of your Sicilian Sunday recipes *goes to fetch notepad*
    Have a lovely evening 🙂 x

  4. Sicilian cuisine sounds intriguing. I love italian in general, need to check out your recipes to learn more 🙂

  5. I’ve been to Sicily twice and loved it to bits!! My dad was born and raised there, so that makes it even more special. He also makes a mean caponata, like you. Looks incredibly delish!

  6. Monica says:

    Everything that I’ve ever had with “Sicilian” in its name is always amazing. It’s always packed with flavor and I love the use of olives and capers. I was just watching a show the other day featuring a pasta dish that was smothered in a sauce rich of olives, capers, and anchovies – and I’m dying to make it. I could likely toss your caponata with pasta – but it looks so good on top of bread!

  7. Sues says:

    Mmm this looks absolutely amazing. Hope you’re enjoying your time at home!!

  8. Jess says:

    This looks and sounds so delicious! I find a lot of Italian food is very regional with so many different variants of recipes. You’ve done an amazing job with this one!

  9. Olives and tomatoes in the recipe sounds like a winning combination to me. It’s always nice to spend quiet time at home to relax.

  10. Just a guy says:

    Any One of you girls, would there be a nice recipe in which the Shiitake Mushrooms are being used? Either dried or fresh mushrooms. Some recipe for a ‘mid-substantial value meal’, e.g. a light dinner, would be truly great.

    Shiitake have great nutritional profiles –> are very healthy mushroom to digest, providing benefits almost like the Chaga and Reishi (Lingzhi) medicinal mushrooms. But mainly, they taste well i reckon ;–). Thanks girls!

    Warm regards

  11. That looks incredibly yummy! YUM

  12. I love Caponata. This looks divine!

  13. Amrita says:

    this looks crazy amounts of delicious! I can totally imagine it as a vegan lasagna filling or even in some pastry and baked in the oven!

  14. Joanne says:

    Based on how my mom and dad cooked, I can definitely say that YES, Sicilians do not follow recipes. 😛 I love love love caponata though! That sweet and briny is such a great combo of flavors.

  15. I love the clean bold flavors of Italian food and caponata is no exception!

  16. Kylie says:

    Oh my goodness! Not sure how I missed this, but you live in Italy?! Since when?! That’s amazing! I’m hoping to travel there for my first time next Autumn. I’d love to hear all your deets when you have a chance!

  17. oh my gawd, this is fabulous!!! can’t wait to try this! I love eggplant!

  18. Denise says:

    Hi would like to make this for Thanksgiving. How many servings is this recipe? I am feeding 6 for dinner and want to give everyone a hearty portion of this with bread Thanks

  19. Vicky says:

    I made this today… It is so good! I added a little bit of garlic… Sensetional! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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