Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Easy chicken with roasted eggplant caponata! The chicken and eggplant roast together on a sheet pan. The sweet-sour caponata comes together with tomatoes, green olives, celery, and capers. Perfect for cooler weather.

Jump to Recipe
Photography Credit: Sabrina Modelle

Caponata is a beloved sweet-sour Sicilian dish that brings together eggplant, tomatoes, celery, olives, and capers.

It’s usually served as a relish or as a topping for bruschetta. I decided to turn it into a complete meal and use it to top roasted chicken thighs.

I’ve opted for roasting the eggplant rather than frying, which is both easier when preparing a weeknight meal and a little lighter.

The rest of the veggies are left raw. I love the bright acid of the tomatoes, the fresh crispness of the celery, and the briny goodness that come from the olives and capers. Rounding it all out is the nutty crunch of toasted pine nuts and the bite from raw garlic.

This is one of those dishes where each bite has a little something different to offer.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Tips for making the best caponata

  • If you have time, try salting and straining your eggplant up to 24 hours ahead of time. This helps it become extra crispy when roasted.
  • Place the pan for the eggplant in the oven while the oven heats so both are very hot when you’re ready to roast. This also helps with crisping.
  • Choose the summer’s sweetest cherry tomatoes. In this recipe, this is part of what gives the caponata its sweetness.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata Recipe

Print
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

The eggplant is even better if you salt it the night before and let it drain overnight!

Ingredients

For the roasted eggplant caponata:

  • 1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds), cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • 1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Additional chopped parsley, to garnish

For the chicken thighs:

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

1 Prepare the eggplant: In a large bowl, combine diced eggplant with 1/2 tablespoon salt. Place the eggplant in a colander set inside a large bowl. Strain at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer you strain the eggplant, the crispier it will get.

When ready to roast, press the eggplant firmly to squeeze out moisture.

2 Place a large baking sheet on a middle rack in the oven and preheat to 450ºF for 15 to 20 minutes.

3 Prepare the chicken: In a shallow bowl, combine chicken with paprika, red pepper, fennel, salt, pepper, and one tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat.

The chicken can also be prepared, covered, and refrigerated overnight.

4 Roast the eggplant and chicken: When you’re ready to cook, toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working quickly, pull the baking sheet from the oven and place chicken skin side down. Add the eggplant in a single layer around the chicken.

Return the hot pan to the oven and immediately lower the heat to 425ºF. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken skin side up, and roast another 15 minutes, or until the thighs are cooked through and register 165ºF with an instant-read thermometer.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

5 Prepare the rest of the caponata: In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic and the honey or sugar. Add the cherry tomatoes, celery, green olives, capers, parsley, and garlic. Toss to combine well.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

6 Finish and serve: When chicken is ready, transfer it to a plate and rest for 10 minutes.

Add the roasted eggplant and the pan juices to the bowl with the cherry tomato mixture, and stir well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Mix pine nuts into the caponata just before serving so they retain their crunch.

Serve the chicken thighs and top with the caponata. Sprinkle with extra parsley.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Print

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Sabrina Modelle

Sabrina Modelle started The Tomato Tart in 2010. Since then, recipes and photographs have been featured in media outlets, worldwide. The site features handmade, homemade, food that happens to be gluten free. When she’s not working, Sabrina can be found with her nose in a cookbook and a dog in her lap.

More from Sabrina

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

4 Comments

  1. Paul

    Delicious! One of the best uses for eggplant I’ve found.

  2. Terry

    What is capers ? also what does Caponata mean?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Terry! From the intro: “Caponata is a beloved sweet-sour Sicilian dish that brings together eggplant, tomatoes, celery, olives, and capers.” Capers are pickled flower buds from the caper plant. They add a salty, tangy flavor to dishes. Look for them in jars near the condiments and jarred/canned goods at the grocery store. Hope that helps!

  3. Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    This is simply gorgeous and it makes a great mid week meal too. I really love the combination of chicken with caponata.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant CaponataSheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata