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Sweet and sour zucchini featured image.
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5 from 2 votes

Sweet and Sour Zucchini

Easy zucchini recipe with garlic and onions in an agrodolce sauce that works well as a side dish or appetizer.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
chilling time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8


  • 5 medium zucchini sliced into 1/4" discs
  • 1 medium red onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (for frying) divided


  • In a saucepan, bring the water, red wine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, onions, and garlic to a low boil. Stir and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the sauce reduces by about half, thickens, and becomes sticky. When finished set the sauce aside.
  • In a large pan, fry the zucchini in a few tablespoons of olive oil (coat the pan) until well browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Spread the zucchini out to drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with kosher salt as they come out of the frying pan. Work in batches, using more olive oil as required until all the zucchini discs are fried.
  • Layer the zucchini in a flat dish and pour the vinegar sauce on top. If the sauce doesn't touch all of the zucchini, flip the top layer after 15 minutes or so. Let the zucchini sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the sauce, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour to chill.
  • The zucchini will taste much better in a couple of hours after they absorb the flavor of the sauce. Serve the zucchini with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy!


  • Frying the zucchini in a stainless steel pan will achieve a browner color than a nonstick pan.
  • Make sure to salt the zucchini discs once removed from the oil, since when hot they will more readily absorb the salt.
  • Refrigerating the zucchini for at least a couple of hours is recommended.  They will taste way better!
  • The zucchini agrodolce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.3g | Protein: 1.6g | Fat: 8.6g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 1.6g | Sugar: 7.2g | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg