It's officially zucchini season and this easy zucchini antipasti is a great way to enjoy it! A simple olive oil marinade with fresh herbs and garlic add lots of flavor to zucchini slices that get pan-fried or grilled. It makes a fabulous Italian antipasto to enjoy with some olives, rustic bread and a glass of wine. As a bonus, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free and quick to make.
Why I love this recipe
I know not everyone likes zucchini as much as I do but with the right recipe, this summer squash is a real treat. Sometimes I feel like it's my duty to convert people into zucchini-lovers lol.
All kidding aside, this recipe has a great texture and lots of bold flavor. It's an elegant and unexpected appetizer to serve up in the summer and it's healthy too, at under 100 calories per serving. Serve it up on it's own or as part of an antipasti platter.
Slices of zucchini get a bold and delicious marinade before getting cooked simply on the stove top or BBQ. Serve it up with bread, olives or cool herbed yogurt dip. Not just an antipasti recipe, this is great as a side dish or a simple snack too.
- Fresh Zucchini - Try to find small, firm zucchini for the sweetest flavor and best texture. I've cut them on the diagonal but you can cut them in long, thin slices if you prefer.
- Mint + Parsley - Fresh herbs are a must for this recipe but if needed, you can swap out other fresh, green herbs instead. Basil, dill, cilantro and thyme are all tasty subs but use a little less if you're subbing in one of these stronger flavored herbs. If you only have dried herbs, use 1 teaspoon of each.
- Chili Flakes - A small amount goes a long way. I like to use just enough to add a little excitement to the flavor but not so much that they are noticeably spicy. I love wine with my antipasti and too much spice makes it hard to pair. Of course you can omit these or add more to taste if you like.
See recipe card for quantities.
Substitutions + Variations
- Vegetable Antipasti - Other veggies work great with this recipe. Particularly eggplant (aubergine), yellow and red bell pepper, mushrooms, fennel and sweet onions. Cook each until tender.
- Vinegar or Citrus Juice - If you like your antipasti a little sweeter, swap dark and delicious balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar or add a fresh drizzle of balsamic after cooking when ready to serve. 1 tablespoon in plenty. For a lighter flavor, sub the vinegar for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Roasting - Instead of pan frying or grilling, try roasting these in the oven! This is great for making large batches and keeping your stove free for other things. Place zucchini slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer and roast approximately 15- 20 minutes in a 450'F preheated oven (a convection oven works fine too). Flip slices halfway through cooking if you want browning on both sides.
- Doubling The Recipe - Easily double (or even triple) this recipe for a crowd. Bake as above on a baking tray to keep it easy.
Whip up this tasty, garlicy marinade in under 5 minutes. Toss with sliced zucchini and let it soak up the flavor before frying or grilling it up for a delicious antipasti.
Step 1. Combine all ingredients except herbs and zucchini in a medium sized bowl. Reserve some herb leaves for garnish, and chop remaining herbs and add to the ingredients in the bowl.
Step 2. Whisk well and set aside.
Step 3. Wash zucchini and trim stem and blossom end off. Slice diagonally to make ovals. Add slices to the marinate and toss well.
Step 4. Let sit to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Step 5. Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat. Once preheated, add zucchini slices in a single layer to the pan. (No additional oil is needed.) Fry until spots start to get golden brown and the zucchini is softening.
Alternatively, grill these on a barbecue set to medium-high heat to get nice grill marks and a slightly smoky flavor.
Step 6. Flip and fry other side until zucchini is as soft as you like. Approximately 4-5 minutes per side.
Remove from pan and serve warm or at room temperature.
Serving And Using Leftovers
Serve up zucchini antipasti on your favorite serving dish with small forks, crostini, grissini, olives, cheese or other tasty food that you like with your antipasti.
Leftover zucchini antipasti makes a great sandwich with some sliced focaccia bread and a flavorful spread like aioli or tapenade and a slice of provolone cheese.
Be sure to store any zucchini leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Do not freeze.
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Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine is a great choice. Or go for a refreshing, light, herbal and grassy white wine like Arneis, Albarino, and Soave which compliment the vegetal flavors well. If you prefer red wine, chianti or a light, fruity Valpolicella work well.
Sherry, vermouth, or aperol make great aperitifs.
Antipasti is simply Italian for before the meal. Otherwise known as an appetizer. These tasty small bites are meant to whet the appetite and be enjoyed with a glass of wine or an aperitif.
Antipasti means many and antipasto is one. Zucchini is cut into many pieces which is why this recipe is called zucchini antipasti!
Any soft summer squash works well in this recipe. For harder, winter squash, they will taste great but need to be cooked longer than zucchini. If making this with hard winter squash, I recommend slicing it thin and baking it on baking sheet at about 350'F for ½ hour.
No. The peel of the zucchini is nutritious and adds great texture, structure and flavor to the dish. The only time to peel zucchini is if it is old with damaged or excessively dirty skin.
Cheers friends! Sabrina
Traditional, Easy Marinated Zucchini Antipasti
- 1 lb Zucchini Squash 450 grams
- ¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- ¼ c Mint + Parsley ¼ cup gently packed, fresh herbs total
- ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- Reserve some herb leaves for garnish and finely chop the rest of the herbs. Combine all ingredients except zucchini in a medium sized bowl. Whisk well and set marinade aside.
- Wash zucchini and trim stem and blossom end off. Slice diagonally to make ovals. Add slices to the marinate and toss well. Let sit to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat. Once preheated, add zucchini slices in a single layer to the pan. (No additional oil is needed.) Fry until spots start to get golden brown and the zucchini is softening. Flip and fry other side until zucchini is as soft as you like. Approximately 4-5 minutes per side.Remove from pan and serve warm or at room temperature.