Aubergine and Chickpea Caponata

This recipe is inspired by the Italian dish and produces a rich and tasty stew. The addition of chickpeas brings protein to the dish and the use of blackstrap molasses means that sweetness comes with some nutritional benefits. This is a dish to be enjoyed by the whole family. The recipe serves 2 adults and a child.

Whilst the dish is made in 2 stages, it is still simple and worth the extra time.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 small aubergine, chopped up into small cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas (or equivalent made from dried chickpeas)
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large handful of green olives, chopped in half


  1. Using a good gulp of oil, fry the aubergine until browned and cooked through. You may need to do this over a relatively high heat and turn frequently. I did this in 2 batches, in a medium sized frying pan. Once cooked, put the aubergine aside.
  2. Using the same pan, fry the garlic in 1 tbsp oil for a couple of minutes. Do not let it brown. Add the celery and fry for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, mix well and then leave to simmer for around 20 minutes. This should cook into a rich and thick sauce.
  4. In the meantime, mix the blackstrap molasses with the vinegar. Set aside so that the molasses dissolves in the vinegar.
  5. Once the tomato sauce has cooked down, add the chickpeas, aubergine and olives. Stir well and then add the vinegar and molasses mixture.
  6. Let the sauce simmer for a further 5 minutes so that everything is heated through and the flavours have time to develop.
  7. Serve with pasta, cous cous or anything else that you fancy alongside this beautiful stew.
  • Nutritional Highlights: Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Blackstrap molasses contains significant amounts of B6 and other minerals.
  • A-L age and rating: First served at 15 months. A-L enjoys this dish and likes to pick out the olive halves with her hands and spike the chickpeas with her fork. She wasn’t so keen on larger chunks of the aubergine or if they weren’t cooked well enough.
  • Freezer friendly? Probably not
  • Adult adaption: Add a good handful of capers or caper berries with the olives.

2 thoughts on “Aubergine and Chickpea Caponata

  1. Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious and went down really well with Fabio, (just served the olives seperately as Fabio is not keen). The blackstrap is new to me, have always used sugar before, so its nice to know I’m adding sweetness with all the extra nutrional bits!

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