Butternut squash caponata

February 16, 2012
4 Ratings
Author Notes

Trying to figure out something new to do with the butternut squash that's been carrying us through the winter. I was craving caponata, so I decided to try using the squash in place of an eggplant. Smashing success! It was delicious over some roasted fish, and amazing on a grilled mozzarella sandwich. Who needs eggplants anyway? —fiveandspice

  • Serves around 8
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes
  • olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons raisins (preferably golden)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons heaping, chopped green olives
  • 3 tablespoons capers (rinsed if of the salt packed variety)
  • salt and pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Toss the butternut squash cubes with a nice dousing of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast in a 425F oven until just tender, around 25 minutes.
  2. Put the raisins and vinegars in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. While the squash is roasting you can do the rest of the vegetable chopping. Then, in a large pan, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Stir in the onions and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the fennel and garlic and cook for another 5-7 minutes until they've started to turn golden.
  4. Add the maple syrup, the vinegars, the raisins, the squash cubes, and about 1/2 tsp. salt to the onion mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring until the squash is quite coated with the rest of the flavors.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, and capers. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and almost sticky, the vegetables quite tender and almost falling apart, 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You can also adjust the amount of syrup and vinegar to suit your tastes.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve at room temp. It should keep in the fridge for several days, and the flavors will just get nicer as it sits (to a certain extent, we're not talking 60 day aged caponata, or anything here). Use as you would eggplant caponata: on bruschetta, sandwiches, with meats and fish, on a pizza with some goat name it.

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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.