Sicilian Sweet-and-Sour Pumpkin Salad

In Sicily, pumpkin is marinated and served as an antipasto.

Serves 4–6

In Italy, pumpkin, or zucca, is used as a filling for ravioli. It’s also used to make gnocchi, baked into bread and is puréed for soup. In Sicily, pumpkin is marinated and served as an antipasto. The beautiful orange color of this dish, mingled with dark-green basil leaves and flecks of refreshing mint, reminds one of a beautiful fall day in New England.

1 small sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
3 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
4 fresh mint leaves, minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, cut in half
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Cut the stem off, and peel the pumpkin or squash. Cut the pumpkin or squash in half, and remove and discard the seeds and stringy pulp. Cut the flesh into strips 1/8-inch thick, 2-inches wide, and about 4-inches long. Set aside.
  2. In a 9-inch-by-12-inch glass dish, mix the vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the basil and mint, mix, and set aside.
  3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil, add the garlic and press it into the oil with the back of a wooden spoon. When the garlic starts to turn color, remove and discard it. In batches, fry the pumpkin or squash pieces for about 10–12 minutes, or until they soften and start to look glazed and brown.
  4. Remove the pieces from the skillet and add them to the vinegar mixture. Add salt and pepper, and stir to mix well. Cover the dish and marinate at room temperature for 3–4 hours before serving. Or refrigerate and serve the next day
    at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of

Categories: Soups & Salads