Courgette Caponata Pasta

A tasty, plateful of vege goodness for under a £1 per serving

I was hoping that the Hairy Dieters’ ‘Go Veggie’ book would become my non-meat bible, however very few recipes caught my eye which I thought would be regulars on my meal planner. Courgette Caponata Pasta was one of them and I was pleasantly surprised by how much flavour is packed into one meal for just 133 calories, or 314 calories based on a 50g serving of pasta (per person, serving 4).

Now before I go on, I’ll say this now. Don’t make this if you hate chopping vege as dicing the onions, peppers and courgettes is time-consuming, unless you’re a proper chef and can have everything prepped in 20 minutes as the Hairy Dieters claim. It takes me 20 minutes to find all the ingredients in my kitchen! Ok, that’s bollocks too, but you get my drift.

If you are willing to persevere with prepping everything, you’ll be rewarded. With or without pasta, this is a gorgeous plate of food thanks to the addition of the cinnamon, lemon zest, chilli flakes, honey and red wine vinegar. If you’re looking for another pasta dish with a kick, check out spaghetti on fire – it is suitable for vegetarians if you omit the bacon.

Recipe: Courgette Caponata Pasta                                        

Calories: 133 per serving without pasta, 314 per serving with pasta

Serves: 4

Book: Hairy Dieters – Go Veggie

Prep time: Approx 40 mins

Cooking time: Approx 40 mins


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions (diced)
  • 2 red peppers (diced)
  • 3 large courgettes (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp capers (rinsed)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

To serve

  • 200g pasta, such as penne or shells
  • Small bunch of parsley (finely chopped)

Cost per portion: Approx £0.96


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions and peppers. Stir to coat them in the oil, then put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are softened.

Turn up the heat and add the courgettes. Fry briskly for about 5 minutes, until everything starts to brown a little but the courgettes are still firm. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, lemon zest and cinnamon, then stir briefly.

Pour the tomatoes into the pan with a splash of water and add the vinegar, honey and capers. Season with salt and pepper, bring the mixture to the boil again, then turn the heat down and cover the pan. Leave the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and serve with the sauce and plenty of chopped parsley.


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