White Bean Eggplant Caponata (1 Pan!)

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Slices of toasted bread topped with white bean eggplant caponata

Have you tried caponata? If not, let us introduce you! It’s a delicious Sicilian eggplant dish with sweet and savory flavor, and we ADORE it! While commonly served as an appetizer or side, it’s worthy of being a main when a little protein and fiber are added in. Introducing: white bean eggplant caponata! 

Made in 1 pan with just 10 ingredients, this is an effortless, plant-based entrée that pairs well with pasta, polenta, bread, or even mashed potatoes. Let us show you how it’s done!

Basil, salt, garlic, pine nuts, raisins, capers, eggplant, onion, olive oil, water, white beans, and crushed tomatoes

What is Caponata?

Caponata is a sweet and sour cooked eggplant dish from Sicily, Italy. It’s traditionally made with chopped eggplant seasoned with olive oil, tomato sauce, celery, olives, and capers.

There are many variations of caponata, with the ingredients varying by region. Other vegetables are sometimes included, and pine nuts and raisins can be incorporated, too. Our inspired version has many of the elements of the traditional dish, but with a non-traditional add-in: white beans!

How to Make White Bean Eggplant Caponata

This EASY, 1-pan dish begins with sautéing onion, eggplant, and garlic in olive oil with a little salt until the eggplant begins to soften.

Stirring a skillet of sautéed eggplant, crushed tomatoes, raisins, white beans, and capers

Then we add caponata classics including tomatoes, capers, and raisins, which creates the sweet, savory, and slightly tangy sauce. Adding water ensures very tender eggplant, while white beans add protein and fiber.

Adding toasted pine nuts into a skillet of white bean eggplant caponata

Once the sauce is thick and fragrant, we stir in fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. Then it’s ready to enjoy!

Wooden spoon resting in a skillet of white bean eggplant caponata

We hope you LOVE this dish! It’s:

Saucy
Comforting
Sweet + savory
Nutty
Easy to make
& SO delicious!

Caponata can be enjoyed in many ways! It’s delicious with toasted crusty bread or over pasta, polenta, or mashed potatoes.

More Eggplant Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Serving of white bean eggplant caponata over polenta

White Bean Eggplant Caponata (1 Pan!)

Easy eggplant caponata with white beans for added protein & fiber! A satisfying, plant-based meal with just 1 pan and 10 ingredients required. Delicious with pasta, polenta, bread, potatoes, and more!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Skillet of our white bean eggplant caponata
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Course Appetizer, Entrée
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 onion yields ~2 cups or 200 g)
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into ~1/2-3/4-inch cubes (1 medium eggplant yields ~6 cups or 425 g)
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-oz.) can white beans, drained (we like cannellini beans // or sub ~1 ½ cups homemade)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (lightly toasted for best flavor)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil (optional but recommended for best flavor!)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • OPTIONAL: If your pine nuts are not toasted, you can toast them (for best flavor) by adding to a dry skillet and cooking over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring often to prevent them from burning (it happens quickly!). Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent — about 3-4 minutes. Next, add the eggplant, minced garlic, and salt. Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, white beans, water, raisins, and capers. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook (uncovered) for ~20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is very tender and the sauce is thick and fragrant.
  • When the sauce has thickened and the eggplant is fully cooked, stir in the toasted pine nuts and optional basil. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more salt for overall flavor, capers for zing, raisins for sweetness, or olive oil for richness.
  • Serve warm with toasted crusty bread or over pasta, polenta, or mashed potatoes.
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop until warm, adding a little water as needed.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of salt and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 360 Carbohydrates: 49.8 g Protein: 12 g Fat: 16.6 g Saturated Fat: 2.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.5 g Monounsaturated Fat: 9.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 607 mg Potassium: 1063 mg Fiber: 14.1 g Sugar: 19.8 g Vitamin A: 45 IU Vitamin C: 17 mg Calcium: 75 mg Iron: 2.4 mg

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  1. The Vegan Goddess says

    This looks amazing and is on my “must try” list!

    How did you make the mashed potatoes? Did you bake or broil them to make them crispy on the edges as shown in the photo?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We hope you love it! We’re not sure which photo you’re referring to? The first photo is on toasted bread and the last photo is polenta. Hope that helps!

  2. Sheila says

    This recipe popped up in my inbox yesterday on a day where I really needed some dinner inspiration. It came together quickly and easily and is absolutely delicious, will definitely be making again!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad the recipe was timely and you enjoyed it! Thank you for the lovely review, Sheila! xo

  3. Susan Ottwell says

    Excellent, and I don’t even like eggplant all that much! I did sub sunflower seeds for pine nuts, and unsweetened dried cranberries for the raisins, as well as some zuccini in place of half of the tomatoes, too much tomato upsets my medication-irritated stomach. Made enough to box up three servings to add to my don’t-feel-up-to-cooking freezer stash. So many of your recipes are easy on the stomach, but full of essential nutrition, even on those days when I have no appetite and no sense of taste. I think they’ve really made the cancer treatments easier to tolerate. Thank you so much.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so sorry you’re having to go through that, Susan! But glad our recipes have been helpful. Sending lots of love and healing your way! xoxo

    • Marina says

      I was wondering how cranberries would go as a substitute. Glad you subbed them and let us know – I will now do the same when next I am in the kitchen!

  4. SNL says

    Funnily enough I was going to make a Mediterranean veg stew tomorrow – ratatouille but Italian flavour, but now I’m going to use this recipe as the base instead. Thanks :)

    • SNL says

      It was great, but even better with the authentic agrodolce/sweet n sour element. Then it was 10/10, I can’t believe it’s vegan. Served with well cooked rice to replicate polenta texture. Made a few subs as necessary but still in keeping with the authenticity. Omitted raisins/dried fruit, added 1.5 peppers and 1/3 cup cooked green beans to replace deficit aubergine (my large aubergine was 267g), agrodolce makes the dish – 1tbsp/12g honey and 2tbsp/30ml red wine vinegar cooked into the dish, 4 shallots instead of an onion, fresh oregano instead of basil, probably 1/2 cup spicy red pepper dip that needed using up, good pinch chilli powder, 1 pound fresh tomatoes blended with 2tbsp* tomato paste to amp up the umami factor, 1 good tablespoon of nutritional yeast for umami, slightly more beans because I cooked from dry and lastly roasted pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts.