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Caponata is a classic Sicilian dish that’s a delightful blend of savory, sweet, and sour flavors. This single serving recipe is perfect for a quick, delicious meal. With roasted eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and olives, it’s both hearty and healthy. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, or even a main course.

We’ve got plenty of easy single serving eggplant recipes you’ll love. Check out our tasty Eggplant Parmesan, flavorful Chicken Tagine, and delicious Twice Baked Eggplant!

Why You’ll Love This Caponata Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This caponata recipe is simple and can be whipped up in no time.
  • Versatile: Enjoy it as an appetizer with crostini, or as a side dish with chicken or fish. It’s great as part of a mezze platter, antipasto platter, or cheese board too.
  • Healthy Ingredients: Made with fresh vegetables, this dish is nutritious and delicious.
  • Great for Meal Prep: Caponata keeps well in the fridge, so you can make it ahead and enjoy a little throughout the week.
  • Flavorful: The combination of roasted eggplant, tangy tomatoes, and briny olives creates a rich and satisfying flavor profile.
a bowl of caponata with a spoon on the side of the bowl.

We think this recipe is special because it’s tailored for a single serving, making it perfect for anyone looking to make a quick and delicious caponata without leftovers. Roasting the eggplant instead of frying not only lightens the dish but also simplifies the cooking process, giving it a rich, smoky flavor. The combination of tangy tomatoes, briny olives, and sweet raisins creates a delightful balance of flavors. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile, offering the perfect combination of convenience and flavor!

Ingredients and Substitutions

caponata ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this single serving caponata recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Eggplant: I use one small eggplant, roughly 10 ounces/283 grams. Roasting the eggplant brings out its natural sweetness and reduces the need for excess oil. If you prefer, you can grill or fry it instead.
  • Olive Oil: Adds richness and helps to cook the vegetables. Use extra-virgin for the best flavor.
  • Onion: Provides a sweet and savory base. Use white, yellow or red onions. Extra onions can be added to Chicken Paprika, Lasagna Soup, or Spanish Rice.
  • Celery: Adds a nice crunch and fresh flavor. If you don’t have celery, try using fennel. Leftover celery can be added to a Macaroni Salad or Vegetable Soup.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Brings sweetness and color. Yellow or green bell peppers work too. Leftover bell peppers can be used in a Shrimp Quinoa Bowl or Chicken Shawarma.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a hint of heat. Adjust to your spice preference or omit if you prefer no heat.
  • Garlic: Essential for depth of flavor. Fresh is best, but 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder can be a substitute in a pinch.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: Creates a rich sauce.
  • Green Olives (Castelventrano): Provide a briny contrast. Kalamata olives can be used if you like a stronger olive flavor. Extra olives can be used in Ropa Vieja or in a Mini Muffuletta.
  • Capers: Add a salty, tangy element.
  • Raisins: Add sweetness to balance the acidity. Currants or dried cranberries can be used as substitutes. Some eggplant caponata recipes call for using sugar but I feel the raisins add the perfect amount of sweetness. Got extra raisins? Add a handful to Morning Glory Muffins or Cream Scones.
  • White Wine Vinegar: Provides acidity to brighten the dish and is traditionally used in many caponata recipes. Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar are good alternatives.
  • Honey: Balances the flavors with a touch of sweetness. Maple syrup or agave can be used if you prefer.

Recipe Variations

This caponata recipe is delicious as is, but here are some variations to try:

  • Spicy Caponata: Add more red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce for extra heat.
  • Herb Caponata: Mix in fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or oregano.
  • Nutty Caponata: Add toasted pine nuts or almonds for extra crunch.
  • Caponata with Cheese: Stir in crumbled feta or goat cheese for added creaminess.
  • Mushroom Caponata: Add sautéed mushrooms for a heartier dish.
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How To Make Caponata For One

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how make this eggplant caponata recipe. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

peeled and cubed eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet.
  1. Roast the Eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the peeled and cubed eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat evenly, then spread the eggplant out in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
onions, celery, garlic, and chopped red bell peppers cooking in a skillet.
  1. Cook the Vegetables: Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, red bell pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes until the vegetables start to caramelize. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly.
tomatoes and vegetables simmering in a skillet.
  1. Simmer the Sauce: Pour in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
tomato sauce with vegetables and olives simmering in a saucepan.
  1. Add Flavorings: Stir in the olives, capers, raisins, vinegar, and honey. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
caponata simmering in a pan.
  1. Combine and Heat Through: Stir in the roasted eggplant and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the eggplant to absorb the sauce.
caponata in a blue bowl topped with fresh parsley.
  1. Finish and Serve: Transfer the caponata to a bowl and top with fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy!

Expert Tips

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh vegetables and high-quality olives make a big difference in the final dish.
  • Make Ahead: Caponata tastes even better the next day, so consider making it ahead and let the flavors meld.
  • Serve at Room Temperature: This dish is best enjoyed at room temperature, which allows the flavors to shine.
  • Add Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh basil or parsley can add a burst of freshness.
  • Adjust Sweetness: If you prefer a sweeter caponata, add a bit more honey or raisins.
  • Store Properly: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat Gently: If you need to reheat, do so gently to maintain the texture and flavor.

How To Serve Caponata

  • French bread for crostini: Toast slices of French bread and top with caponata for a tasty appetizer.
  • Baked Chicken Thighs: Serve caponata alongside baked chicken thighs for a complete meal.
  • Baked Cod: Pair with baked cod for a light and healthy dinner.
  • Serve with rice: Spoon caponata over a bed of rice for a satisfying vegetarian meal.
  • Pasta: Toss caponata with your favorite pasta for a quick and easy dinner.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Use caponata as a filling for stuffed peppers.
  • Frittata: Add a spoonful of caponata to your morning frittata for a flavorful twist.
  • Cheese Board: Add caponata to a cheese board for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Mezze Platter: Include caponata in a mezze platter with hummus, pita, and other Mediterranean delights.
caponata on crostini.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use instead of eggplant in caponata?

Although we prefer eggplant, zucchini is a good substitute.

Is caponata served hot or cold?

Traditionally, it’s served at room temperature and I also like to eat it cold.

Can I add meat to caponata?

Yes, cooked sausage or ground beef can be added.

How long will caponata last in the fridge?

Up to 5 days.

How can I make caponata for two?

To make a small batch of caponata, double the ingredient amounts.

What is the difference between ratatouille and caponata?

Both ratatouille and caponata are great summer vegetable dishes, each with its own unique style. Ratatouille is a savory French stew, simmered until tender and comforting. Caponata, from Sicily, has sweet and sour notes from raisins, capers, and vinegar, offering a burst of flavor with some texture.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve tried this single serving eggplant caponata recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
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Caponata For One

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Enjoy a simple and flavorful single serving caponata made with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and olives. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish, and easy to make!

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 small eggplant or ½ of a medium eggplant – (10 oz/280 g) – peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil -divided
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt -divided
  • teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 celery stalk -chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic -minced
  • ¾ cup canned crushed tomatoes (6.5 oz)
  • 4 pitted green olives -chopped. (I recommend using Castelvetrano olives)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • chopped fresh parsley or fresh mint -optional for topping.
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Instructions 

  • Roast the Eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the peeled and cubed eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Feel free to add more olive oil if you feel it's necessary.
    Toss with your hands to coat evenly, then spread the eggplant out in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Cook the Vegetables: Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, red bell pepper, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes until the vegetables start to caramelize.
    Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly.
  • Simmer the Sauce: Pour in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
  • Add Flavorings: Stir in the olives, capers, raisins, vinegar, and honey. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Combine and Heat Through: Stir in the roasted eggplant and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the eggplant to absorb the sauce.
  • Finish and Serve: Transfer the caponata to a bowl and top with fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh vegetables and high-quality olives make a big difference in the final dish.
  • Make Ahead: Caponata tastes even better the next day, so consider making it ahead and let the flavors meld.
  • Serve at Room Temperature: This dish is best enjoyed at room temperature, which allows the flavors to shine.
  • Add Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh basil or parsley can add a burst of freshness.
  • Adjust Sweetness: If you prefer a sweeter caponata, add a bit more honey or raisins.
  • Store Properly: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat Gently: If you need to reheat, do so gently to maintain the texture and flavor.
 
How To Serve Caponata
  • French bread for crostini: Toast slices of French bread and top with caponata for a tasty appetizer.
  • Baked Chicken Thighs: Serve caponata alongside baked chicken thighs for a complete meal.
  • Baked Cod: Pair with baked cod for a light and healthy dinner.
  • Serve with rice: Spoon caponata over a bed of rice for a satisfying vegetarian meal.
  • Pasta: Toss caponata with your favorite pasta for a quick and easy dinner.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Use caponata as a filling for stuffed peppers.
  • Frittata: Add a spoonful of caponata to your morning frittata for a flavorful twist.
  • Cheese Board: Add caponata to a cheese board for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Mezze Platter: Include caponata in a mezze platter with hummus, pita, and other Mediterranean delights.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 549kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Sodium: 807mg, Potassium: 1.061mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 471IU, Vitamin C: 30mg, Calcium: 122mg, Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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5 from 3 votes

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. Marie Nixon says:

    I grew up in an Italian household but never had Caponata. This recipe is really, really good. I chopped the vegetables all the same size and on the small side. The flavor is great. Definitely can taste the sweet taste of the raisins and the tart and tangy taste of the vinegar.

    The one thing that I do disagree with is the Prep Time listed as 10 minutes. I spent about 45 minutes preparing all of the vegetables before beginning to cook.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the caponata.

  2. F says:

    I was just thinking of making this dish and you stuck with the original recipe (I prefer baking than frying for health purposes) so thank you! I’m sure it will taste great 😊

  3. J.Hegyi says:

    Good recipe.