Meatless Monday: Hot Caponata over Spaghetti
Today’s recipe in honor of Meatless Monday is a Sicilian themed dish that highlights eggplant in place of meat. Eggplant is a great alternative to meat in a dish because of it’s firm texture and satisfying taste plus it’s low in calories and sugar but high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber which makes it nutritious as well as delicious. This specific recipe called Caponata, is a Sicilian dish that is traditionally served cold or at room temperature like a salad along with a large chunk of bread. My husband has a strong Italian/Sicilian heritage and growing up enjoyed eating caponata as a side dish, however given the heartiness of the eggplant, it can also make for a great vegetarian main dish when served hot.
Since my husband is familiar with the flavors and preparation of this recipe, I let him wear the chef apron and cook this deliciousness for us while I happily stepped down to the role of sous chef 😉 While making this dish does take a little bit of prep, it really isn’t that complicated once you have your initial ingredients chopped. We also cheated a little bit by using canned tomatoes and sauce and pre-made spaghetti (ok, we never make our own pasta but it seems kinda sacrilegious to make an authentic dish with pre-made spaghetti).Since I eat gluten free I chose to use a gluten free spaghetti but you could absolutely use any kind that you prefer. That is what is awesome about this recipe- it is so versatile! While one would not traditionally associate the words “gluten free” and “vegan” with Italian/Sicilian cooking; this dish is both of those things and without sacrificing any flavor.Doesn’t that look delicious? It’s hearty like a meat sauce but better because it’s made with eggplant instead
Here is the recipe:
- 2 small to medium size eggplants, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 3.5 oz jar of capers
- 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with zesty jalapenos
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 package of gluten free spaghetti
- In a large pan, heat olive oil, add onions and garlic and sautee until soft and no longer opaque.
- Add eggplant and olives and simmer until eggplant cooks down.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and sea salt, stir.
- Add capers and wine and let simmer for several more minutes.
- While caponata is simmering, make spaghetti according to package instructions.
- Rinse spaghetti noodles in a strainer, plate & top with caponata.
- Enjoy! :)
The best thing about this dish other than the taste is that you can stick it in the fridge and eat it for left overs. It doesn’t even need to be reheated since it’s traditionally meant to be eaten cold. It would taste great for lunch along with a slice of bread and a crunchy green salad! It also freezes really well too so you can always save some for later or next Monday
QOTD: What is your favorite alternative for meat in a main dish?