Italian Pickled Eggplant In Olive Oil

Italian pickled eggplant are a delicious antipasto (appetizer) perfect to serve over bruschetta or as a side dish for a steak, grilled chicken or fish.

If you ever seen those expensive jars of Italian melanzane sotto olio at the deli store let me tell you that they’re so easy to make at home for a lot less

Italian pickled eggplant in jars and served on a bruschetta.

What are italian pickled eggplants?

In Italy there are various ways for preserving melanzane (eggplants), for example they can be frozen, dehydrated, on vinegar, oil, etc.

Sott’aceto means the vegetables has been preserved in a mixture of only vinegar and water, while sott’olio means they are preserved in oil. Many recipes have also a combination of both (vinegar and oil), just like this Italian pickled eggplant recipe.

Closeup on Italian pickled eggplant on a jar.

Melanzane sott’olio (eggplant under olive oil) is an easy recipe that italians loves to make at home, specially in the countryside where you need to find a way to preserve veggies for the incoming cold months.

Before preserving, those vegetables can be cooked in different ways; for example boiled (as in our recipe), grilled or fried. The taste of course depends how they are cooked, but they’re delicious any way.

Ingredients

The ingredients for this Italian pickled eggplant recipe are pretty simple. An excellent quality of extra virgin olive oil, your favorite eggplant type, vinegar (preferably white wine vinegar) and simple spices.

Ingredients for the recipe labeled and displayed on a marble top.

Italian pickled eggplant is a very easy recipe that you can make at home by following simple steps. But, if it’s your first time trying this recipe, my recommendation is to go with half of the amount of ingredients that the recipe calls.

What type of eggplant are best for this recipe?

You might want a type of eggplant that is meaty and with almost not seeds. Graffiti, sicilian and italian eggplants works wonderful here since they’re big enough to have lot of pulp and have a very little amount of seeds.

I don’t recommend using smaller eggplants such a chinese or japanese types since you’ll have to use a lot more than the recipe calls and also those types are more bitter than the ones I told you before.

A wood box with various types of Italian eggplants.

Is ok to use eggplants a little bit old, maybe the ones that are sitting in your fridge for a week or so. Just make sure they’re not too bitter.

The traditional Italian pickled eggplant recipe

Peel the eggplants. You can use any Italian kind, I used this sicilian type with white stripes (graffiti).

peeling eggplants.

Then cut them into long strips about 1/4-inch (0,6cm) thick.

cutting eggplants.

Fill a large boiling pot with water. Add 3 tablespoons of coarse salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Working in small batches, add eggplant and let them simmer for about two minutes. Place them in a colander, let them drain and then allow them to cool down.

Transfering cooked eggplants to a strainer.

Squeeze them a little using the back of a spoon, don’t do this when they’re still hot or you will mash them.

Working in layers, add eggplants to a jar, then some peppercorns, peperoncino chilies, oregano and garlic.

Pour the extra virgin olive oil into the jar filling it completely, use the back of a spoon to gently push down the vegetables. Repeat the process until all jars are filled.

Jarring Italian pickled eggplants.

Let the jars rest for about 20 minutes, then use a skewer to break the air bubbles that have formed. This is an important step as there shouldn’t be any air gaps that could possible spoil the pickled vegetables.

Bursting the air bubbles with a skewer.

Close the jars tightly and place them in a dark and cool spot for at least a week before consuming.

How to eat

  • On top of a bruschetta made with homemade bread.
  • Alongside with salami, cheese, zeppole, olives, etc.
  • On an Italian sub sandwich.
  • On top of pizza or focaccia.
  • With gnocco fritto.
  • As a side dish with your favorite grilled protein.
Italian pickled eggplant with olive oil.

How long last pickled eggplant?

I have stored my pickled veggies for about a year. Just need to be very careful when handling them and placing them in the jars to avoid cross contamination.

  • It’s very important that you sterilize the jars in a proper way.
  • Place the jars in a cool, dark and dry spot in your house.
  • Once a jar is opened you have to refrigerate it and consume within a week.

Watch How To Make It

More Italian Appetizer Recipes

Italian pickled eggplant recipe.

Italian pickled eggplant with olive oil

The recipe for italian pickled eggplant is a wonderful and easy recipe to preserve your veggies. You won't need to buy them anymore at the deli store for those overrated prices because with our recipe you'll learn to make them at home in a very easy way.
PREP 20 minutes
COOK 20 minutes
TOTAL 40 minutes
4.5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6 jars
Author: Maricruz

Equipment

  • 6 jars sterilized (250 ml capacity)

Ingredients 

  • 6 ½ lb eggplants (peeled and cut into strips)
  • 4 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 large garlic cloves (peeled and sliced)
  • 3 peperoncino peppers (chopped)
  • peppercorns (as needed)
  • Oregano (as needed)
  • 3 Tbsp coarse salt

Instructions

  • Fill a large boiling pot with water. Add coarse salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil.
  • Working in small batches, add eggplant and let them simmer for about 2 minutes.
  • Place eggplants in a colander to drain them and let them cool down.
  • Gentyl squeeze the eggplants a little using the back of a spoon.
  • Working in layers, add eggplants to a jar, then some peppercorns, peperoncino peppers, oregano and garlic.
  • Pour the extravirgin olive oil into the jar filling it completely, gently press the vegetables to the bottom. Repeat the process until all jars are filled.
  • Let the jars rest for about 20 minutes, then use a skewer to break the air bubbles that have formed.
  • Close the jars tightly and place them in a dark, cool spot for at least a week before consuming.

NOTES

  • It’s very important that you sterilize the jars in a proper way.
  • Place the jars in a cool, dark and dry spot in your house.
  • Once a jar is opened you have to refrigerate it and consume within a week.
  • Calories count also the oil, but don’t be scared, first, you won’t eat the whole jar, and second, you won’t use all oil in that jar at once.
  • Actually, since this is a homemade recipe, you can use the oil (once you finish the eggplants) for seasoning salads or pasta!
Nutrition
Calories: 1581kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 163g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 118g | Sodium: 3517mg | Potassium: 1149mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am a regular visitor of your website . I can enrich my cooking skill by seeing your blog. easy procedure to make expensive Italian pickled eggplant at home

  2. 5 stars
    wonderful recipe! we’re about of making this because we just harvested the last aubergines from our garden. I’ll let you know how it turned out.