Oven Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Do you need an appetizer to go along with your next dinner-and-movie night which may very well be tonight? Or, maybe you’re tired of sitting around your TV like this naughty eggplant and need an excuse to cook something delicious and healthy.

So many delicious appetizers are naturally vegan, from caponata and hummus, to guacamole and beyond — no vegan labels necessary! Happy Belly’s Caponata is a wonderful sweet and spicy Sicilian-inspired dish that traditionally consists of chopped and fried eggplant and veggies. Caponata is especially delicious on toast or tossed into your favorite pasta.

Today’s recipe is mixed up with a sweet and sour combination of eggplant with capers, olives, and fresh celery. I like to add a bit of spice with calabrian chiles, but if you prefer less spice, you may use espelette pepper from Italy’s neighbor, France.

Oven Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Preheat the oven to 400˚

Prepare eggplant – Place the diced eggplant in a colander and lightly salt. Let drain at least 30 minutes, then rinse well and pat dry.  

Make the caponata – Line two 13” x 18″ sheet pans with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, toss the eggplant with the olive oil. Spread onto the first sheet pan.  In the same bowl, add the red onion, garlic, celery, red pepper and tomatoes. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast both of the trays of eggplant and vegetables until tender and browned. Place in a large bowl and toss with the remaining olives, capers, raisins and chilies. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil and garnish with the julienned basil. Serve warm or at room temperature with toasted baguette slices,


serves four


  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1”dice
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, threads removed and sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1-14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 10 pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp calabrian chiles
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, julienned