A versatile, vegan italian dip that's great for picnics.


  • 1 large aubergine, diced in 2 cm cubes
  • 1 large zucchini, diced in 2 cm cubes
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in 2 cm chunks
  • tomatoes, or 1 large tomato
  • tomato purée
  • green olives, halved
  • raisins
  • almonds, toasted and salted
  • capers
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate, grated
  • red wine vinegar
  • sunflower oil, or vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • table salt
  • bread, to serve


  1. Dice the aubergine and the zucchini in 2 cm cubes, lightly salt, then leave to rest in a colander for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat sunflower oil in a pan. You need enough oil to fry the vegetables. It should be hot enough to instantly brown a breadcrumb.
  3. Fry the aubergine and zucchini in batches until golden. Let the oil get hot again between batches. Let the fried cubes dry on paper towels or table clothes.
  4. In a separate pot, brown the onion and celery in olive oil with a pinch of salt.
  5. When the onion and celery begin to colour, add chili flakes. Fry for another minute.
  6. Add tomatoes and fry for an extra 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the capers, olives, raisins, sugar, tomato purée, red wine vinegar and chocolate.
  8. Bring to a boil, then add the fried aubergine and zucchini.
  9. Season with salt, turn heat down, cover, and leave to simmer for 1 hour.
  10. Let the caponata cool to room temperature, then season again as needed.
  11. Serve cold with fresh bread.

This recipe is adapted from The Guardian's caponata recipe. After a few iterations, I believe I got the right mix.

A few notes about this recipe:

  • This caponata is slightly spicy, but not hot.
  • Sunflower oil is totally worth the extra expense.