This vegan Sicilian caponata is a dish from Southern Italy/Sicily. It can be eaten warm as a side dish, or a cold antipasto. Savour the rich creamy taste of the auberines married with the sharpness of the the green olives and capers. I’ve grapped this recipe from the web, then taken a few liberties in embelishing it to make it more nutritious! My chief addition is the flageolet beans which are just the right size, colour and texture to blend perfectly with the rest of the dish.
Cutting the aubergines in nice sized chunks is critical to getting that melt in your mouth not over oily effect. Nice large firm ones are best. They can be hard to find, but worth it when you do. This can be a meal in itself – especially when eaten with hummus and garlic bread. Pan fried polenta would go well too. Or you could try my avocado and cucumber salad to add a bit of zestiness to the meal. Either way this is a great dish that you can re-heat, or use over several days, so it’s well worth the effort in making it.
As with all great dishes and cooking you have to use good quality ingredients. If you use cheap poor quality vegetables etc, the final result will not be as good – so don’t skimp when buying. The whole dish comes together wonderfully and is a firm favourite of one of my close friends who begs me to make it for him!
So next time you see some nice firm plump aubergines, buy some & make a note to make this vegan Sicilian caponata!
- mediteranean casserole or large ovenproof saucepan
- 50 ml olive oil
- 2 large aubergines or 3 medium aubergines, cut into largish chunks – not too large though!
- 1 teasp heaped dried oregano
- 1/2 teasp sea salt
- 1/2 teasp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium medium red onions peeled and chopped in slivers
- 50 g a bulb or so of garlic peeled and finely sliced
- 30 g small bunch fresh flat-leaf coriander or parsley roughly chopped (30g)
- 35 g salted capers rinsed, soaked and drained (35g)
- 75 g green olives (handful) stones removed (75g)
- 45 ml/g best-quality herb or white wine vinegar
- 5 large ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds lightly toasted, optional
- 1 flat teasp onion powder.
- 1 flat teasp garlic powder
- 1 can (245g) Flageolet Beans
- Use firm aubergines, with few seeds (though that is of course difficult to tell without cutting them open! Don’t use too much oil, and cut the aubergines into reasonable sized chunks to avoid adding too much oil.
- Cut the aubergines into chunks and cook in Actifry with one spoon of oil for 12 mins. If you don't have an Actifry you will need to pan fry them separately.
- Meanwhile in Mediterranean casserole pour in a generous amount of olive oil, and place on the heat. Add the onions, and garlic and begin to saute them.
- Add in the oregano with a little salt
- Add in the chopped parsley or coriander.
- When they’re softening a bit, add in the aubergines from the Actifry.
- Continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Feel free to add a little more oil to the pan if you feel it’s getting too dry.
- Throw in the drained capers and the olives and drizzle over the herb vinegar. When all the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes and garlic/onion powder and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender – then in the oven on 150° C for about another 15 or so until the tomatoes have begun to disintegrate a bit.
- Towards the end of the cooking add in the flageolets. This adds substance and protein, but doesn’t interfere with the dishes overall effect.
- Taste before serving and season if you need to with salt, pepper and a little more vinegar. Drizzle with some good olive oil and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley leaves and the almonds if you like.