Instant Pot (and not!) Eggplant Caponata

We love a pickled eggplant situation. Yes I promise I’ll get you hooked too!

If there is one thing you should love about me, I love a pickle situation. I used to go to falafel places in Israel just to get some pickles. I always get the pickle situation at my favorite hummus place in the city. Heck I put pickled onions on everything. But if you don’t like eggplant, don’t let the title scare you… because you can barely tase the eggplant in said dish.

I promise.

So here we have a recipe that my dad used to make me all the time as a kid, in both the regular low and slow stovetop version, and the supa fancy Instant Pot version. You know, in case you’re like me and want to look at the dogs in the park while dinner is cooking. It is seriously best for nights when you’re craving Italian, but you’re also wanting to keep things healthy..ish and summery. Plus it’s full of all the veggies, plant based, and beyond delicious. YAY VEGGIES.

I’ve always enjoyed zucchini and eggplant, but I know it can also get a bit boring at times too. Especially during these August days when you have so much on hand. Sometimes you just can’t eat any more raw zucchini salads or zucchini off the grill. I get it, it can get old. But the fun thing about zucchini is that you can really do so much with it. You just have to get a little creative.

So let’s get to the deets, shall we?

So we start with cooking the eggplant, baking it in the oven until it is nice and CRISPAY. Then, we add all the other veggies to our pan and let em cook down until they’re saucy. Simply add spices, mint, and the eggplant and BOOM. We have ourselves veggie magic.

Honestly, I sometimes make a double batch of this stuff because it freezes so darn well. I love serving it with chickpeas, on top of toast, alongside salmon (or your protein of choice) or pretty much anytime anywhere. It’s a pickle lovers dream and, y’all, you can’t go wrong with dis. Trust me!

Yields 4 servings

Eggplant Caponata

10 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

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stuff

  • 1 large eggplant stem removed, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 medium white onion diced, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • 1/4 raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon tiny capers drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 fresh tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil

meanderings

Instant Pot Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Place cubed eggplant on a baking sheet. Cook for 25-30 min, turning once, until the eggplant is browned and cooked through.

Heat olive oil in an instant pot on the saute function (just set the time for ~30 min). Add the onion to the oil remaining in the pan and cook, stirring 1 minute. Add the zucchini and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the celery and cook until the vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the raisins, green olives, pine nuts/sunflower seeds, and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and give it a big stir. Add the diced tomatoes and 1-2 tablespoons water and stir to combine. Seal the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Manually release the pressure. Finally, stir in the eggplant, zucchini, balsamic vinegar, and mint and cook 2-3 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pot, cook on saute until most of the water evaporates. Cool completely before refrigerating.

Regular Pot Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Place cubed eggplant on a baking sheet. Cook for 25-30 min, turning once, until the eggplant is browned and cooked through.

Heat olive oil in a separate large skillet. Add the zucchini and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion to the oil remaining in the pan and cook, stirring 1 minute. Stir in the celery and cook until the vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the raisins, green olives, pine nuts, and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking, stirring, until the vegetables are soft but not mushy, about 8-10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes add mint and balsamic vinegar, stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, stir in the cooked eggplant and zucchini and cook 1-2 minutes. Cool completely before refrigerating.

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