Grilled Caponata

Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant dish that consists of chopped fried eggplant and other vegetables seasoned with vinegar and capers. Everyone has their own interpretation of this dish, and in fact, I already have a few unique recipes for caponata on the blog including my traditional Caponata Siciliana, my version of Roasted Eggplant with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and an Almafi Caponata that is actually more similar to Panzanella than caponata.

Other variations of caponata may contain olives, carrots and bell peppers, while other versions can contain potatoes, pine nuts or raisins. Caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes or meat dishes although I like to serve it as an appetizer, or light lunch dish.

It has been really warm the past couple of weeks and I have been trying to grill as many of my meals outdoors as possible. I had a craving for caponata last week and decided that rather than heating up the kitchen by using the oven, that I’d grill my vegetables instead. Grilling the caponata ingredients add a subtle smoky flavor to this dish that is both unique and delicious.

I like to make a large batch of caponata and after I first serve it as an appetizer or side dish for dinner, we enjoy it for lunch with some crusty Italian bread the following day. For this version, I included some bell peppers and onions to my mixture of eggplant and tomatoes, along with some briny Kalamata olives and capers. The trick to grilling the vegetables for this dish is to grill them separately. The onions and peppers will take longer than the tomatoes and eggplant.


Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Grilled Caponata

Grilled Caponata

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

A Sicilian appetizer or side dish made with eggplants.


  • 3 Small Eggplants
  • 1 Pound Ripe Plum Tomatoes, Halved
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, Halved & Cored
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Halved & Cored
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion, Peeled
  • 1 Large Head of Garlic
  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Salted Capers, Rinsed & Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Kalamata Olives, Chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1/4 Cup Lightly Toasted Pine Nuts


  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  2. Cut the onions into 1 1/2-inch slices crosswise, and then use bamboo skewers to hold the slices together.
  3. Trim the eggplants and cut into 1-inch slices.
  4. Wrap the head of garlic in foil and place on the grill, and cook, turning often, for about 20 minutes.
  5. Begin the grill your peppers and onions over medium heat, starting with the peppers cut side down.
  6. As the vegetables begin the color, turn over, brushing with olive oil as you go and keeping the grill lid closed, about 15 minutes.
  7. Once the peppers are charred on the skin side, remove to a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Grill the eggplant until softened and brown on both sides, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Once the vegetables have been grilled, allow to cool to room temperature.
  10. Cut the eggplant, tomatoes, and onions into 1-inch dice, and place in a large bowl.
  11. Remove most of the charred skin from the peppers, and cut into 1-inch dice.
  12. Squeeze the garlic into a bowl, then whisk in the vinegar, capers, olives, and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil.
  13. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper, then stir in the fresh basil.
  14. Stir the vinaigrette into the vegetables, then arrange in a serving bowl or platter, and scatter the toasted pine nuts on top.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 3g

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