The sun is out for more than a few hours a day – spring is upon us.
And what better way to get into the summer mood than to take a culinary trip to the clear blue waters of Malta.
Kapunata is one of Malta’s most famous dishes. It’s the Maltese version of the Sicilian Caponata, which is similar to the French Ratatouille.
It’s consists of a stew of vegetables, flavored with savoury olives and capers.
Kapunata is a super flexible dish. You can eat it as a main dish and serve with some crusty bed, or as a tasty side dish for cooked meat. It makes a great addition to fish like tuna or you can also add in some extra vegetables high in protein for an extra protein boost.
Whether you want to keep it simple or add some extra flavours in, this is a perfect healthy dish for summertime. If you want to add a little extra, try some pine nuts or raisins.
It can be served hot, cold from the fridge or at room temperature.
Maltese Kapunata – Health Benefits
This dish is full of veg – there’s 5 veg in this dish alone. Pair it up with some meat or fish and you can make it a high-protein meal too.
Peppers are very high in vitamin C but also contain good amounts of other vitamins and minerals like vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.
Eggplant (aubergine) is a high-fiber, low-calorie food that is rich in nutrients. These include potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, which all support good heart health.
Olives may not spring to mind for the health benefits, but some studies note that olives and olive oil may reduce blood pressure (1, 2). They contains good amounts vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium. However, they may also contain lots of sodium or salt if packaged in saltwater, so don’t eat too many if that’s the case.
Considering we’ve used lots of garlic in this recipe, it’s worth mentioning that it has some surprising health benefits, particularly when it comes to cholesterol. Garlic supplements appear to reduce cholesterol by up to 15% in some studies (3, 4, 5).
All in all, you’re in for a (healthy) treat. Let’s get cooking.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 eggplant (aubergine), cut into cubes
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- 90 g black olives, chopped
- 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the onions. Cook for 2 minutes to caramelize the tomato paste.
- Add the eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes and stir occasionally until vegetables start to soften and release liquid.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are very soft, stirring occasionally. If there is no liquid in the pot, add 100ml of water.
- Remove from heat and stir in the olives, capers and vinegar. Taste and add more salt or vinegar, if needed.