I was browsing Facebook the other day and saw this incredible photo of a recipe that used eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers and it looked SO good that I knew I had to try it immediately!
So here is my version of Oil-Free Caponata Pasta and I hope you like it as much as I do.
Caponata is a traditional Sicilian Recipe that uses a lot of vegetables you may have at the end of summer. Vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
What's different in this recipe, from say a normal Ratatouille, is this is more of a sweet and sour version.
Many recipes I saw used sugar to make it sweet (I decided to use raisins). They also use capers to give it a hint of salt, and of course, Red Wine Vinegar to give it a nice tang.
Caponata is like an eggplant/tomato relish or a Bruschetta that is normally served with little pieces of toasted baguettes. But I wanted to make a full meal of it so I added some Brown Rice Pasta and let me tell you - it came out delicious.
The hardest part of this recipe to me, being perfectly honest here, is that I do not have a lot of experience using Eggplant.
I saw where a lot of people would salt and drain their eggplant first to remove any bitterness. Because I try to watch my sodium intake I did not do that. I also saw where people would then fry their eggplant in oil - and of course, I did not do that either as I stick to a WFPN No Oil diet.
So I tried roasting my cubed Eggplant in a dry pan and it seemed to work ok, but maybe there are better methods you have to get your Eggplant crispy?
- Does it even need to be crispy - I honestly don't know.
- Would an air-fryer work?
- Or could you roast it in an oven?
If you try any of these other methods and have good results - I would be very curious to hear about them.
Yes, sometimes I do try recipes that are a little outside of my wheelhouse - but that's how we improve as cooks, right? So if there are any true Italians or Sicilians out there who are laughing at me for totally butchering this recipe lol - my apologies!
But - I will tell you it still came out incredible and I know that because I had my daughter taste it as she was dropping off my grandson to spend the night ... and her first words were "OMG!"
That's usually a good sign 🙂
So with all of that said - let me show you how I made my Oil-Free Caponata Pasta.
Oil-Free Caponata Pasta
Let's start with a medium Eggplant and slice it into fairly thick 1" rounds. Then cut them into evenly sized cubes. Add them to a dry pan and roast over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt until they
Next, dice a medium-sized Red Onion and add it to a large saucepan with a splash of veggie broth or water to prevent sticking, and begin to saute it until softened.
Then we add in a chopped Zucchini (aim for the same size cubes as the eggplant), a stalk of chopped celery, and a diced Red Bell Pepper.
Simmer the veggies until they begin to soften then stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Now we add 2 cans (14oz) of diced tomatoes (fresh would definitely work here but make sure they come from your garden, not the grocery store - yuck). and a good splash of Red Wine Vinegar. All the exact amounts will be down in the recipe box below.
This is a good spot to add a little oregano, I tossed in about ½ tsp.
This is where we add our eggplant back into the sauce. Stir until mixed and then add in a handful of golden raisins, another handful of chopped Kalamata Olives, and about a tablespoon of capers.
Now, this was my first time buying capers too, and I did not realize they sell different kinds so I was a little confused when I went to the store. First, look for capers next to the olives in your grocery store. Then make sure you get the non-pareil kind - which actually refers to the size of the caper. You want the little ones.
I added any ingredients you may have trouble finding to my Amazon Store so be sure and check that out if you need to. I'll include a link here.
Now all that's left is to simmer your sauce until everything is heated through. Give it a taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper as needed. I also tossed in a small bunch of freshly chopped parsley and basil to make it especially tasty.
Prepare 2 cups of your favorite pasta while the sauce is simmering. I use Brown Rice Pasta but you can use whatever kind you like. When the pasta is almost ready, use a strainer to add the pasta to your sauce, along with a ladle or so of the pasta water and stir to mix.
Be sure and give it a good sprinkling with my Vegan Parm and cut yourself a nice hunk of crusty bread and dinner is served.
Be sure and leave me a comment telling me what you think and I'll try and get the video ready for YouTube in the next day or so.
Have a great weekend everybody and we'll see you back here next week!Print
I saw this incredible photo the other day that looked SO good I KNEW I had to try it! So here is my version of Oil-Free Caponata Pasta and I hope you like it as much as I do.
- 1 med eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 med red onion, diced
- 1 med zucchini, cubed
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (14 oz)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 Tbs capers
- salt, pepper
- fresh parsley & basil to taste (maybe ¼ cup each) and for garnish
- 2 cups of your favorite pasta
- Cut your eggplant into 1" rounds and then into evenly sized cubes. Roast them in a dry pan until slightly browned. Remove and set aside.
- In a saucepan, saute a diced red onion until softened, then add in the celery, zucchini, and bell pepper. Cook over low heat until softened, then stir in the minced garlic.
- Add the tomatoes and vinegar and stir until everything is mixed well. Season with oregano.
- Add the eggplant back in and mix.
- Stir in the raisins, olives, and capers.
- Season to taste and add fresh basil and parsley to taste.
- Prepare pasta and when it's almost done, add it to the sauce along with a ladle of the pasta water to thin if needed.
- Garnish with parely and/or basil and serve with a side salad or a nice hunk of crispy bread.