This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Caponata is served cold as an hors d’oeuvre. However, it has also become a relish to eat with cold meats. It is Italian in origin.

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursehors d'oeuvre, side dish

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, high fiber, kosher, lactose-free, low carb, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Textureherby, salty, sweet, tangy

Type of Dishvegetable


  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 or 4 small eggplant, unpeeled and cut in strips, or a 1½ pound eggplant, unpeeled and cut in dice
  • 8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1½ cups Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons dry basil or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup capers
  • 1 cup pitted soft olives—the Italian or Greek variety
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced


  1. Sauté the onions and celery in the oil till just golden in color. Add the eggplant and toss well. Shake the pan several times to blend the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and cook down, uncovered. Do not overcook, for each vegetable should retain its own personality. Add the seasonings and cook 10 minutes. While it is cooking stir in the tomato paste. Add the capers and olives. Correct the seasonings and chill for a day or two before serving. Serve with lemon slices, and some chopped parsley and quartered tomatoes if you like. It will keep, covered, for a week or so in the refrigerator.


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