Vegan Caponata Pasta
Today we will take you on a little trip to the south of Italy because we will show you our version of the Sicilian Caponata! Maybe you know the sweet and sour vegetable meal as a side dish, but today we serve the caponata with pasta, which makes a wonderful summery main course! Usually, lots and lots of fresh vegetables go into a caponata, such as eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, celery, and garlic. The stewed vegetables are mixed with an agrodolce, which is a mix of sugar and vinegar that is caramelized. This gives the dish its typical sweet and sour taste. We serve our caponata with pasta and finish by adding almonds, olives, and vegan Parmesan cheese. Well, ready for an evening that feels like a vacation?
To cook this recipe, we used wholemeal rice spaghetti from Naturata, which is especially convenient if you don't tolerate gluten yourself or are expecting guests who are gluten intolerant. The pasta is made from wholemeal rice flour and contains no additives or adjuvants. Rice flour and water are mixed to form a homogeneous dough, which is pressed into shape and then dried and packaged. Although the pasta is very similar to wheat pasta, make sure to use a larger pot and more water (at least 2.5 liters per 250 g of pasta) and stir more often than usual when cooking it. The absence of gluten allows the starch to cook out more, making the cooking water bubble more than it does with other pasta. Naturata has a company motto of "more than organic" and always goes an extra step beyond the organic standard in its products. You can tell what's "more than organic" about each product by the printed pink icons, which are explained in detail on each label.
If you want to extend your little trip to Italy, here is our recipe for a caponata sandwich.
Vegan Caponata Pasta
For the pasta:
- 250 g (9 oz) whole grain rice spaghetti (e.g. from Naturata)
- 1 eggplant
- 1 zucchini
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 10 g (0.33 oz) fresh oregano
- 10 g (0.33 oz) fresh basil
- 50 g (1.75 oz) olives (pitted)
- 50 g (1.75 oz) tomato paste
- 200 g (7 oz) strained tomatoes (e.g. from Naturata)
- 25 g (2 tbsp) brown sugar
- 20 ml (1.5 tbsp) water
- 75 ml (0.33 cup) white wine vinegar (e.g. from Naturata)
- olive oil (highly heatable)
For the toppings:
- 100 g (3.5 oz) almonds
- vegan Parmesan cheese
Finely dice the eggplant, then place it on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and weigh down with a pan. Leave for about 10 minutes, so the eggplant loses as much water as possible. Once done, squeeze out the eggplant chunks and set them aside.
In the meantime, finely dice the zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, and garlic. Pluck the herb leaves from the stems and finely chop them. Cut olives into thin rings.
Sauté eggplant chunks in a large frying pan with olive oil until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, remove from pan, and allow to drain on a clean kitchen towel.
In the same pan, heat olive oil again and sauté onion and garlic for about 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the zucchini and bell pepper and sauté until well browned. Then add tomatoes and tomato paste and let simmer on low heat. At the end add eggplant chunks.
In a small saucepan, prepare the agrodolce. To do this, combine brown sugar and water and let caramelize over medium heat. Once the liquid turns amber in color, carefully and slowly deglaze with white wine vinegar and whisk until you get a homogeneous mixture. Add the agrodolce to the caponata.
Add sliced olives, tomatoes, and chopped herbs to the caponata, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the pasta is ready.
In the meantime, toast the almonds in a fat-free pan until fragrant. Remove from the pan, chop coarsely and add the almonds to the caponata.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and either toss them directly in the caponata or serve with the sauce on the side. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan cheese.