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Chicago – Style Giardiniera

This Midwestern staple makes for such a beautiful condiment to use all month long. This recipe is fresher, crunchier and tangier than any store-bought giardiniera can offer.

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Making any homemade condiments just feels so fulfilling. Great quality flavors that you control and can have some pride in. Today we are making a big jar of crunchy, salty, pickled vegetables that we can store in the fridge for up to a month. Sign me up! Giardiniera pairs so well over crunchy salads finished with roasted vegetables and stuffed in sandwiches. Get creative with it. Homemade condiments add such a special home-y touch to dinner. Follow my roadmap to create your own giardiniera with vegetables in your fridge. A great lesson in overnight fermenting and pickling.

What makes this Chicago giardiniera different than the Italian version, is the way you chop the vegetables. The vegetable medley is classically cauliflower, peppers, and carrots. In Italy, these pickled vegetables are cut large, to be eaten whole as an antipasto. In Chicago, we chop up the pickled vegetables and put them on stuff. Italian beef, Italian sausage, pasta salad, and you haven’t lived until you’ve tried an Italian beef and giardiniera pizza in Chicago. I like both ways frankly. My recipe reflects the Chicago condiment-like style, but I also like to trim the cauliflower into tiny florets, so it’s easy to snack on.

This recipe is good for those of us who love vegetables but like to change how we eat them every once in a while. Pickles are the answer! They’re the perfect way to spruce up any roasted vegetables or a nice crunchy snack when poking into the fridge. If anything, let this be a fun thing to do over the weekend. Take your time, practice some of your knife skills, and get your kids to help out. Have someone help you break apart each little cauliflower floret too for the cute little crunchies in your giardiniera. It’s easy to get the whole family involved in unique recipes like these. Build-your-own Giardiniera Parties! I can’t wait to be invited and for you to be using this condiment everywhere, even gifting it to friends. The pickled snack you didn’t know you needed in your life.

Yield(s): Makes 16 oz

20m prep time

Rated 4.8 out of 5
Rated by 5 reviewers
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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 jalapenos, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin or julienned
  • 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 4 cups water (Preferably filtered)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, jalapenos, bell pepper, and carrots.
  2. Using 1 cup of water, microwave water and salt on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir water until salt dissolves.
  3. Add salt water and remaining water to vegetables, cover with a loose fitting lid or plastic wrap, and let brine on the counter overnight.
  4. Drain vegetables in fermented salt water after at least 12 hours.
  5. In a bowl combine oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper.
  6. Pour vinaigrette over vegetables, toss and pack vegetables into a container with a tight fitting lid with oil.
  7. Refrigerate for up to 30 days, it only gets better.
  8. Enjoy!