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Cauliflower Caponata

Cauliflower Caponata

This bowl of veggies will take you straight to the streets of Sicily. But it's not just a simple bowl of veggies, it is Cauliflower Caponata! Slightly sweet, slightly sour, perfect for any Italian food lover in need of a healthy, easy, quick and delicious meal. 

I'm really excited to share this recipe with you. I love Caponata so much, it has a ton of flavour and it's made with a bunch of fresh ingredients. Also, I love making food from every corner of the world, especially those dishes that have been part of the culture for a long long time.

Caponata is all those things, it is a super tasty Italian appetiser that made its first appearance around the 1700s. It's hard to track exactly where and when Caponata was created. But it's now a big staple and probably the most famous appetiser of the Sicilian cuisine. 

The dish has a lot of influences from the surrounding countries and there are 37 official versions of it. And then, of course, each family adds their own little extra touch to it. So if you are after one specific recipe, you'll have a hard time finding it.

Cauliflower Caponata ingredients

The versatility of Caponata makes it perfect for us. The recipe is not strict. So we can adapt it to our own needs and do little substitutions here and there. One of the things that will make caponata an actual caponata is the sweet and sour, somewhat vinegary taste, so that, we did not mess with. 

Eggplant is usually the main ingredient in caponata and is really yummy. But to be honest, eggplant can be a bit tricky to cook. If you overdo it you will end up with a sloppy mess.

To make the recipe a bit more practical and not have to worry about that, I just got rid of the eggplant. Instead, I used cauliflower, which has a much more subtle flavour than eggplant. The rest of the veggies and the seasonings will add the flavour we might be missing out on by leaving the eggplant out. 

cauliflower florets

Some caponata recipes include pine nuts but there are a lot that don't. I'm adding a handful to the dish but you can also use almonds or just leave them out. Pine nuts can be expensive and sometimes we want to stick to the budget, so using almonds, is a great alternative, especially if you use roasted almonds.

Also, I hadn't heard about this but there's a thing called pine mouth or pine nut syndrome. People that have this condition get a very distinctive bitter, somewhat metallic taste in their mouth after consuming pine nuts. No one really knows why this is, so if you are one of these people, almonds are the way to go. 

The recipe is incredibly simple considering the delicacy you'll end up with. And to get the real Sicilian experience you will need some slices of ciabatta. I usually toast the bread just before I serve the caponata so everything is still warm and steamy when it gets to the table. 

Cauliflower Caponata top down

Prep time
15 minutes
Total time
Category: Lunch, Dinner
Serves: 2
Allergens: Gluten, Tomatoes


For the caponata

  • 1 head cauliflower (florets)
  • 2 medium celery (chopped)
  • 2 tbsps fresh parsley (thinly sliced) (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ½ cup green olives (pit removed and cut in half)
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (thinly chopped)
  • 2 tbsps raisins (soak in hot water)
  • 1 lb tomato (chopped)

For the seasoning

  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 1 dash chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 dash ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

For the seeds

  • ¼ cup pine seeds (toasted)

For the bread

  • 2 slices ciabatta


  1. Heat up the oil and saute the onion and celery for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the bite size cauliflower florets and saute for 5 minutes and stir occasionally.
  3. drain the capers and raisins and add the rest of the caponata ingredients together with the seasoning to the frying pan.
  4. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower is soften, add a bit more water if needed.
  5. Before serving scatter with the toasted pine seeds and serve the cauliflower caponata with fresh slices of bread, enjoy!

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