The Washington Post

Sheet Pan Caponata and Couscous With Goat Cheese

Sheet Pan Caponata and Couscous With Goat Cheese 4.000

Rey Lopez for The Washington Post; Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Eat Voraciously Newsletter Sep 16, 2021

Here, a variation on Italian caponata, roasted on a sheet pan instead of fried on the stovetop, becomes a main course atop fluffy couscous and creamy goat cheese. Buy the freshest eggplant you can find — it should feel heavy and have no soft spots — and you won’t need to salt it to pull out any bitterness. Pine nuts are traditional in caponata, but they can be pricey; pepitas or chopped walnuts are fine substitutions. Finally, if you don’t like goat cheese, omit it, or substitute ricotta or farmer cheese.

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Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 50 mins

Storage Notes: Leftovers may be refrigerated in covered containers for up to 4 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the caponata
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound Japanese or globe eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion (8 to 10 ounces), chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato (6 to 8 ounces), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar or honey, or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup raisins (any kind)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, pepitas or chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, or to taste
  • For the couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups water or low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 9 ounces) couscous
  • For serving
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese, or more if desired
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil, mint or parsley (optional)


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the eggplant, onion, bell pepper, tomato and garlic, and use your hands to toss everything together. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top, followed by the brown sugar or honey, salt, cinnamon and black pepper. Toss again, then spread into an even layer.

Roast for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using tongs or a spatula, flip and redistribute vegetables so they cook evenly. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned. Transfer the pan to a heatproof surface. Mash the garlic cloves into a paste. Push the vegetables aside to expose a small area of the hot metal and place the tomato paste on it. Using a wooden spoon, stir the tomato paste and garlic into the vegetables, followed by the raisins, nuts or seeds, water and vinegar; stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with more vinegar, sugar, salt and/or pepper as desired.

Make the couscous: About 10 minutes before the eggplant is finished roasting, in a medium lidded saucepan over high heat, bring the water or stock, olive oil and salt to a rolling boil. Immediately pour in the couscous, ensuring it’s moistened throughout, then cover, remove from the heat and let it steam for about 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

To serve, portion about a quarter of the goat cheese into the center of each plate. Top with a pile of couscous and some of the caponata. Garnish with the torn herbs and more goat cheese, if desired.

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Recipe Source

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by G. Daniela Galarza .

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 692

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 35g 54%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 10mg 3%

Sodium: 890mg 37%

Total Carbohydrates: 78g 26%

Dietary Fiber: 11g 44%

Sugar: 16g

Protein: 17g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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