Recipe | Cauliflower caponata by Anna Jones

Recipe and words extracted from Easy Wins by Anna Jones

Caponata is a masterclass in balancing sweet, sour and salty. It’s most often made with aubergine, which you have to fry in lots of olive oil first, making it less of a weeknight situation. This buttery cauliflower version is all done in the oven and to me it’s just as good as the aubergine version. It has the texture of a stew and can be eaten warm as an antipasto, as is most common in Italy, or on toast or tossed through pasta.

Cauliflower Caponata by Anna Jones

Serves 4


1kg cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets

3 red onions (350g), peeled and cut into eighths

3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces

extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes

100g stone-in green or black olives, stones removed (I use a mixture of both)

3 tablespoons capers

50g raisins

½ a bunch of parsley (20g), leaves picked

warm bread, to serve


Preheat the oven and roast the cauliflower

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan. Put a cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets, 3 red onions, peeled and cut into eighths, and 3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces, into a large, high-sided baking tray with r tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and a little sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast for 25 minutes, until everything is slightly charred and starting to soften. Turn the oven down to 200°C/180°C fan.

Add the rest

Add 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes, breaking them in your hands as you do so, along with 100g stone-in green or black olives {stones removed), 3 tablespoons capers and 50g raisins. Give everything a good mix, mashing slightly with a fork, and return to the oven for 40 minutes, or until everything is soft and sticky.

Finish with the vinegar and oil

Once ready, and while the mix is still piping hot, add another tablespoon of vinegar, toss through a handful of parsley leaves and serve. Finish with a very generous dousing of extra virgin olive oil to bring it all together.


More recipes by Anna Jones:

Courgettes agrodolce with sticky onions

Double lemon cake with streusel topping