Caponata is a vegetable dish from Sicily, originally made with sardines. In this vegan caponata version, we boost the original dish with some protein by adding tempeh; a traditional Javanese fermented soy product. The result is a tasty and umami-packed recipe perfectly served on a crunchy piece of bread.
- 400 grams (1 large) aubergines, eggplants
- 250 grams (1.5 cups) potatoes peeled
- 200 grams (1.5 cups) vine tomatoes
- 150 grams (5.5 oz) tempeh
- 1 whole (1 whole) carrot
- 1 whole (1 whole) onion
- 1 stalk (1 stalk) celery
- 10 leaves (10 leaves) basil
- 4 tbsp (4 tbsp) white vinegar
- 2 tbsp (2 tbsp) agave syrup
- 50 grams (1.8 oz) green olives
- 40 grams (1.4 oz) almonds
- 30 grams (1.1 oz) pickled capers
- 20 grams (0.7 oz) raisins
- salt, pepper to taste
- 4 slices (4 slices) sourdough bread thick and grilled
- Peal, rinse and boil the potatoes. Cut the carrot into halves lengthwise and then into semi-round slices. Do the same with the celery. Cut the onion in half and slice thinly.
- In a stainless steel pan on medium heat dry-fry onion, celery and carrot. Do not use any liquid. Just keep stirring the vegetables until they release their own oils. When the bottom of the pan starts to brown, add a dash of water, and keep water-frying the vegetables for a couple of minutes.
- Cut aubergine into large cubes and add to the stir-fry, add some water and let cook on medium heat till soft (about 5 min with a lid)
- Blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds in the boiling water of the potatoes, then peel off their skin, cut them in large dice and add to the aubergines.
- Add capers, almonds, raisins and olives and let simmer on low-medium heat for another 5 mins. Season with salt and pepper at this stage.
- Cut the tempeh into small dice (⅓ of the size of the aubergine) and add to the pan. Let cook for 10-12 minutes in the stir-fry with the aubergines.
- Once cooked, dice the potatoes and add them to the pan.
- Add agave syrup and white vinegar. Season again with salt and pepper, and add basil leaves.
- Let the flavours come together on medium heat for another 2 to 3 minutes, before serving on a thick slice of grilled sourdough bread and a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil (optional).
If you don't like tempeh, you can easily substitute it with firm tofu cubes, cannellini beans, or chickpeas. You can also add some fresh chili or chili flakes to the dish if you like to spice it up. This caponata can also be served on white and brown rice, if you'd like to avoid the bread.
If you are serving it with bread, and you want a fully homemade meal, try serving it with our overnight no-knead loaf. It will be a crunchy and delicious pairing to the caponata, I promise.
If you want the classic Italian (Vegan) Caponata, you can easily skip the tempeh all together. Capers are important to add instead, as they add umami and saltiness to the vegetable mix.
Caponata stores well for a 3 to 4 days if kept in an air tight container in the fridge. Actually, caponata is best served the day after cooking as the flavours have time to sit and develop together.
This recipe was adapted from "The fodellers".
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Will you be cooking this Caponata at home? I'd love to hear!