Homemade Giardiniera Pickles, also known as Italian Pickled vegetables, are a staple in my fridge all summer long and a great way to preserve the harvest or farmer’s market haul! Enjoy these pickles on their own straight out of the jar or as a tangy and sweet side dish to rich meals.
Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American condiment that typically consists of pickled vegetables in olive oil or vinegar. The vegetables used in giardiniera can vary but commonly include bell peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, and sometimes cucumbers. These vegetables are marinated in a mixture of vinegar and oil, often with added herbs and spices like dill and garlic.
This recipe does not use any oil and is more of a refrigerator pickle style recipe. Giardiniera pickles can be used as a topping for sandwiches, salads, antipasto platters or charcuterie boards. They add a zesty and crunchy element to dishes and are known for their versatility.
The specific ingredients and preparation methods can vary, leading to different regional variations and family recipes for giardiniera pickles. Similar recipes are found across the world, including in Mexico where Escabeche (Pickled Mexican Vegetables) are more common.
Simple, fresh and wholesome ingredients is all you need to make the perfect pickled giardiniera.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Vegetables. Classic pickled giardiniera (or pickled Italian vegetables) includes cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, and green and red bell pepper. Some people also use green beans. But honestly, the choice is yours here. The recipe as written below is very adaptable so feel free to add or omit any vegetables.
- Herbs. I like to use dill because it gives such a classic flavor, but feel free to play around with the fresh herbs.
- Spices. Classic pickling spices are my preference (coriander seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns and bay leaves). You can use a couple of juniper berries if you have them too.
- Vinegar. I recommend using two different vinegars (white distilled vinegar and white wine vinegar). You can use any light-colored vinegar such as apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar or champagne vinegar.
- Hot peppers (optional). You can make your homemade giardiniera recipe spicy by adding sliced jalapeno or serrano peppers.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make Pickled Italian Vegetables
This recipe is so easy to prepare in just 4 simple steps.
Step 1. Prepare the pickling solution. In a large measuring cup, combine both vinegars with water, salt and sugar. Using a whisk, stir well to dissolve.
Step 2. Cut the vegetables. Prepare your vegetables by cutting them into bite-sized pieces. I like using a Ruffled Cutter (Affiliate link).
Step 3. Pack the jars. To a clean glass jar, add the garlic cloves, dill and spices. Pack the jars down with the vegetable mix.
Step 4. Add the brine. Carefully pour the vinegar brine into the prepared jar. Tap the jar a few times to release any air bubbles. Make sure the brine is covering the vegetables all the way. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to pickle for 4-5 days.
Storage and Safety Information
As always, make sure your equipment and jars are clean (with hot soapy water) and sterilized if possible. This will help reduce the chance of any bacterial growth. This recipe was NOT tested for water bath canning. It is a refrigerator pickle, meaning that the pickling and storage stage happens in the refrigerator, just like in my other easy recipes, pickled cherry tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes, pickled cauliflower, quick pickled jalapenos, and pickled turnips.
Fridge pickles could last in the fridge for several months, but I recommend you consume these pickles within 2 months. After 2 months, their texture and color will begin to deteriorate.
If you observe any unusual growths or odors, discard the pickles. A good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, throw it out.
- Fresh produce is best. Always use fresh vegetables. Cauliflower, cucumbers and celery can become soft in the refrigerator, so I recommend you make these pickles the day you buy or harvest your ingredients. When buying cauliflower from the grocery store, look for firm and bright cauliflower heads. Avoid buying any with dark spots. Cucumbers should be firm and not bendy.
- Grow your own garden vegetables. Cucumbers are quite easy to grow in the home garden. Cauliflower and celery are more difficult. If you have an abundance of cucumbers, try making fermented cucumbers (dill pickle).
- Pickle jars: I recommend using large Ball or Bernardin mason jars, but you can also use Weck jars. The jar pictured in the recipe is from Ikea and is perfectly suitable for large batch pickles like this. Glass jars are ideal. You can also use a 2-quart mason jar (affiliate link).
Chicago-style giardiniera is a specific variation of the traditional Italian or Italian-American giardiniera, and it is closely associated with Chicago's culinary scene. This style of giardiniera is often characterized by its spicy and flavorful profile. The key components typically include a mixture of pickled vegetables and hot peppers in oil. It's commonly found in jars at grocery stores or local delis in the Chicago area and used on hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches.
Yes, you can make a small modification to the recipe to make quick pickled giardiniera. If you don’t want to wait for the pickling to occur in 4-5 days as per the recipe, you can speed things up by making the brine in a small saucepan and then bringing it to a boil. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables in the jar and then seal. Let the jar come to room temperature on its own and then refrigerate. This should help speed up the process. I would say the pickled Italian vegetables should be ready to enjoy in a day or even less. But they will get better with time.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer some of the pickled vegetables to a cutting board. Chop them up into smaller pieces and transfer them to a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, mix and there you have it. Use this mix on your favorite sandwiches including muffuletta.
If you make this Homemade Giardiniera Pickles (Italian Pickled Vegetables) recipe or any other preservation recipe on Urban Farm and Kitchen, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe.
Homemade Giardiniera Pickles (Italian Pickled Vegetables)
- One 2 qt (2L) pickling jar or two 1-quart (1L) mason jars
- 1 cup White vinegar
- 1 cup White wine vinegar - see note
- 2 cups Water
- 2 tablespoon Kosher salt, pickling salt or sea salt
- 3-4 teaspoon White sugar - Use more or less if you prefer
- 1 Small head of cauliflower - Or half a large head
- 3-4 Celery stalks
- 3-4 Persian cucumbers
- 8-10 Mini carrots - Or 3-4 regular-sized carrots
- 3-4 Garlic cloves - Peeled
- 2-3 Dill sprigs
- 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon Black peppercorns
- 1 Bay leaf
- Prepare the pickling liquid. Combine both kinds of vinegar with the water, salt and sugar in a large bowl or measuring cup. Using a whisk, stir well to dissolve.
- Cut the vegetables. Prepare your vegetables by cutting them into bite-sized pieces. Baby carrots can be kept whole or cut.
- Pack the jars. To a clean glass jar, add the garlic cloves, dill and spices. Pack the jars down with vegetables. Use a cocktail muddler or spoon to press down. Make sure the jar is full with vegetables to the top, leaving about ½ of head space.
- Add the brine. Carefully pour the pickling solution into the prepared jar. Tap the jar a few times to release any air bubbles. Make sure the brine is covering the vegetables all the way. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to pickle for 4-5 days.
- Mix of Vegetables. Classic Italian giardiniera (or pickled Italian vegetables) includes cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, and green and red peppers. But honestly, the choice is yours here. The recipe as written below is very adaptable so feel free to add or omit any vegetables.
- I like to use dill because it gives such a classic flavor, but feel free to play around with the fresh herbs.
- Classic pickling spices are my preference (coriander seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns and bay leaves).
- I recommend using two different vinegars (white vinegar and white wine vinegar). You can use any light-colored vinegar such as apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
- Hot peppers (optional). You can make your homemade giardiniera recipe spicy by adding sliced jalapeno or serrano peppers. You can also add red pepper flakes.