Zucca Gialla con la Menta (Butternut Squash Marinated with Garlic and Mint)

Photo by Judy Doherty



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Butternut Squash Marinated with Garlic and Mint

  • Author: By Rosetta Costantino | Adapted from My Calabria
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x


Zucca Gialla con la Menta (Butternut Squash Marinated with Garlic and Mint) is a traditional side dish or appetizer from Calabria that layers slices of fried squash with red wine vinegar, mint, and garlic. I have found that it works just as well with roasted or grilled squash. My Sicilian mother-in-law makes an agrodolce (sweet-and-sour) version by dissolving a little sugar in warmed vinegar and garlic-infused olive oil. She then adds the mint before spooning the dressing over the fried squash. Let the dish rest for several hours so the seasonings can fuse and mellow. It’s always served at room temperature.


Units Scale
  • 2 pounds butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing squash slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olio nuovo or other fresh olive oil for serving
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely torn or chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced crosswise


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Peel the squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Slice crosswise into 3/16-inch-thick pieces. Brush the squash slices with olive oil on both sides. Place on non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over with tongs and continue baking for 10 minutes or until the slices are lightly browned and tender. I prefer to cook the oiled squash slices on a grill pan, allowing 2–3 minutes on the first side, turning once with tongs, and continuing until the slices have developed golden-brown markings on each side and are tender.

Choose a serving dish or deep platter that will hold three layers of fried squash. An oval 8- by 13-inch gratin dish would be perfect. Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of cooked squash slices. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with wine vinegar and olive oil. Scatter the mint and garlic evenly, using about one-third of each ingredient. Continue layering and seasoning until you have used all the squash and seasonings. Let the squash marinate at room temperature for several hours before serving or refrigerate it overnight and bring it to room temperature before serving.


  • Category: Vegetable entree