Veg out for World Vegan Day!

Whether you are participating in World vegan day (1st November) or doing the whole month; caponata could have you taking the pledge.

One of my favourite stalls in our Mercado Central  had some beautiful, wonky aubergines, courgettes, and tomatoes – so, when life gives you these ingredients; you make caponata. Originally from Sicily, caponata is a warming, velvety stew which could be eaten at any mealtime. It could be served – for ovo-vegetarians – with a poached egg on top, or spooned over pasta with mozzarella (or burrata). I opted to serve it as a vegan bruschetta for our supper.


Serves 2 – twice!

100ml olive oil

2 aubergines cut into large chunks: ~3cm

2 courgettes cut into large chunks: ~3cm

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1 dried red chillies, broken up

3 tablespoons capers

3 tablespoons of raisins – I used pasas de Málaga

a good handful of green olives: about 50g

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or vinagre de Jerez.

1x400g can of Italian chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons sugar

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

a handful of Toasted almonds, roughly chopped

a few mint leaves


For the bruschetta

2 slices of toasted bread: sourdough would be great.

Garlic clove, root end cut off

Olive oil

Sea salt


  1. First, toss the aubergine and courgette chunks with the oil in a large bowl – that way you will use less oil when cooking. Purists would be up in arms: as traditionally the aubergine is deep-fried. I don’t, as a rule, deep-fat fry –  so, I’m happy to deviate.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed pan before adding the aubergine and courgette chunks. Season and cook over a moderate heat for 5-7 minutes; or until the pieces are browned on all sides. Remove and set aside in a bowl. N.B. Don’t crowd the pan: cook them in batches.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and celery. Season and cook for a two minutes.
  4. Stir in the olives, capers, and sultanas – and then the vinegar.
  5. Add the aubergine and courgette before pouring in the tomato; cover, and simmer for 15 minutes until soft and unctuous.
  6. Check the seasoning – salt, pepper, and vinegar (for that all important piquancy). Once happy with the seasoning remove from the heat.
  7. While your caponat is simmering you can toast your bread.
  8. Rub the toast with the garlic clove then finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  9. Spoon the caponata over the bruschetta before adding the almonds and mint leaves.


P.S. This great Sicilian stew shares its name with Big Bird from Sesame Street in Spain – La Gallina Caponata.

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