Caponata is a classic Italian dish from the South.
It is sort of the Italian version of the French Ratatouille. Though Italians would definitely think that the Ratatouille is the French version of the Caponata.
The original recipe is truly amazing but it has two caveats for us, looking to get lean and strong: it has a disproportionate amount of calories and basically no protein whatsoever.
“Such a pity!” — I said to myself.
So I did something that is sort of illegal in Italy: I changed the traditional recipe.
I know, many grandmas are most likely turning in their graves as I cooked this.
But, if you can forgive me the biggest Italian sin, then this recipe should really be in your high-protein staples.
Mind you, it still has a lot of calories, but waaaaay less than the original. Which makes this a great recipe for a clean and healthy bulk.
Let’s talk about the mind-blowing taste. Bittersweet, flavorful, rich, and truly mouth watering. Each bite will call for the next.
You say that you can’t gain weight because you seem not to eat enough? Try this recipe and try to tell me that again! 😉
Given the relatively high amount of fiber, this dish is pretty satiating too!
This recipe is also low carb high fat (LCHF) so, if you happen to be on this diet, you’re good to go!
You know, well, everybody knows that cabbage is good for you.
Right. But that taste…
I wanted to include some green cabbage in my diet and tried to think of how can I make this enjoyable and not a dread.
I thought: Chinese have been using green cabbage since forever and they make delicious stuff out of them!
Since I am not Chinese and I wouldn’t dare mess around with such a complex, rich, and ancient culinary art, I decided to give Chinese cabbage rolls an Italian spin so nobody gets offended. Though if you are Chinese and want to teach me how to make high-protein healthy cabbage rolls, please write me 🙂
So, what makes this dish “Italian”?
Besides the usual aromatics (onion, carrots, leek) I used red wine and fennel seeds. Fennel seeds really give a twist to this dish!
This has only 19g of carbs per serving which makes it ideal for someone on a LCHF diet or keto (when carbs are kept below 50g).
It’s also fairly high-protein. But if you want to increase the amount of protein without increasing calories, go for lean beef (here I used a fatty cut).
This dish can easily be boosted in protein to have 30-40g per serving just by using lean beef.
This dish has less than 500kcal per serving so it can be used for cutting as well (use lean beef in this case which will also increase the amount of protein per serving!)
If I had a broiler, I would have put some Parmesan cheese on top and gave them a couple of mins to become crunchy and even more delicious!
My grandma (and mom) used to make this all the time: a big tradition in southern Italian cuisine.
The flavors are incredible and the way they combine makes you feel in Italy after a first mouthful.
Little that I realized, how high-protein and low-carb high-fat this dish can be!
Therefore, whenever I have some time and can find cheap eggplants, this dish is a must do for my post-workouts.
This is very filling too so if you are cutting you can make it as well.
So, there you have it, the authentic south Italian stuffed eggplants recipe adapted for muscle mass gains!
(I’m sure my grandma would kill me if she knew I posted her recipe hahah)