Eggplant Caponata that’s Naturally Plant-Based, Allergy-Friendly, and Delicious


Eggplant Caponata is a Sicilian relish that’s similar in some ways to French Ratatouille, but it’s tangier and a little less chunky. It’s also naturally dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and allergy-friendly, and quite versatile.

Plant-Based Eggplant Caponata Recipe and How to Serve It (naturally dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and paleo)

How to Serve Plant-Based Eggplant Caponata

You can enjoy Eggplant Caponata as an appetizer with baguette or crackers, or use it as a main dish feature. It is traditionally served with fish dishes, as an accompaniment. But it also pairs well with chicken and roasted potatoes. Another idea is to serve it over pasta or rice, and keep it plant-based by adding chickpeas.

Or you can bake this caponata atop flatbread or a pizza crust. I recommend sprinkling on some baby spinach leaves just before you bake it!

We originally shared this recipe way back in 2006, but I’ve given the recipe and post a big update. Now it’s easier to find and enjoy today!

Plant-Based Eggplant Caponata Recipe and How to Serve It (naturally dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and paleo)

Special Diet Notes: Eggplant Caponata

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, paleo, and vegetarian.

Plant-Based Eggplant Caponata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serve with crackers or baguette as an appetizer relish or use it as the base for a main dish. See my notes in the post above for ideas!
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: about 3 to 4 cups
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, ¼ inch dice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes partially drained.
  • ¼ cup sliced pitted olives, green or black
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • Dash sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat a large skillet or cast iron pan over high heat.
  2. Carefully drizzle in the oil and immediately add the celery, onion, and garlic. Then add the eggplant. Sauté for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir in the tomatoes, olives, vinegar, tomato paste, capers, basil, and sugar.
  4. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is very tender. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Cool and serve at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

More Plant-Based Eggplant Recipes

Eggplant Paprikash

Eggplant Paprikash Recipe: A Fresh Vegan Twist on a Hungarian Classic (includes Tofu Sour Cream recipe; gluten-free with nut-free option)

Plant-Based Barbacoa

Plant-Based Barbacoa Recipe with Grilling and Oven Roasting Directions. Healthy, Whole Food, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free Homemade Meat Alternative

Creamy Eggplant Dip

Easy Eggplant Dip - this dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free dip is so creamy and full of flavor. Perfect for a party dip or as a sandwich spread!

For More Dairy-Free Recipes, Get Eat Dairy Free!

Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Oh my goodness. I made this using the last of my fresh tomatoes and eggplant. It is delicious. But I made a lot! Can I freeze it?

Leave A Reply

Rate this recipe: