Levantine pickled cauliflower is an easy and delicious entry into the wonderful world of preservation and pickling. This recipe comes together with just a few simple ingredients. The deep pink color is so gorgeous and fun you might even get your kids to eat cauliflower!
Enjoy these pickles with chicken shawarma, falafel wraps, kababs, Arayes (meat-stuffed pita), beef kafta or chicken kafta. They also go well with rice dishes like Maqluba (upside-down chicken and rice). Go beyond Middle Eastern cuisine and serve them with a hearty rice bowl or anytime you are looking for a sweet and acidic touch.
This recipe is incredibly easy to make and requires no canning equipment. The pickles are stored in the refrigerator, which means that they will be safe to consume for several weeks. A great way to start your pickling journey if you’re a beginner. If you are looking to pickle a mixture of vegetables including celery, carrots, cucumbers, green beans and more, check out my Pickled Giardiniera recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Pickled Cauliflower Recipe
Are you a fan of Middle Eastern food? I’ll wager a guess and say yes since you’re reading this right now! Here are some of the reasons why I think you will enjoy this recipe:
- These pickles are irresistible! They are incredibly delicious and can be added to falafel sandwiches and bowls, shawarma wraps and platters, and even enjoyed on a charcuterie board. They are sweet and have a crisp texture.
- A sense of accomplishment. Honestly, I love making homemade pickles, especially during the summer and fall when local produce is at its peak! If you have never pickled anything before, this is your sign to start now!
To make this pink pickled cauliflower, you only need a few fresh ingredients. The rest are pantry staples everyone should have.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Distilled White Vinegar: I recommend sticking with white vinegar, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute with a light-colored vinegar like white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar. Avoid any darker-colored vinegars.
- Kosher Salt: Like all my other pickling recipes, I recommend using Kosher or pickling salt. Avoid using table salt as it has other ingredients like Iodine added to it.
- White sugar: Can you omit the sugar entirely? Sure, but these pickles are meant to be balanced. The sweetness of the sugar helps balance out the acidity of the pickling brine.
- Cauliflower: Use the freshest possible cauliflower before it starts browning and break them into small florets. White cauliflower is preferred, so it can soak up the pink color. As this is a pickled cauliflower recipe, I don’t have any substitutions to offer you. If you’re looking for another pickling recipe, try my Basic Refrigerator Pickle recipe, Homemade Giardiniera, my Pickled cherry tomatoes, Escabeche Pickles, or my pickled green tomatoes.
- Beetroot: The reason why this pickled cauliflower is pink is because of the added beet slices. Without them, the pickles wouldn’t turn a beautiful pink. I don’t recommend you skip this. This is the same technique used in my Pickled Turnips recipe.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make Refrigerator Cauliflower Pickles
Step 1. Prepare the pickling solution. In a large measuring cup, combine vinegar with water, salt and sugar. Using a whisk, stir well to dissolve.
Step 2. Pack the jars. To a clean glass jar, add the garlic cloves and beet slices. Pack the jars down with cauliflower florets.
Step 3. Add the brine. Carefully pour the 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.
Step 4. Pickle. When the jar is at room temperature, place it in the refrigerator and allow the cauliflower to pickle for 4-5 days. The brine will turn a vibrant pink color. Enjoy.
Safety Notes and Storage
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.
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 is best. Always use the freshest ingredients possible. Cauliflower and beets 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.
- Grow your own. Beetroots are incredibly easy to grow in a home garden. Cauliflower is a little more difficult to grow, but very rewarding when done right. I would encourage you to think about adding them to the garden in the spring.
- Don’t waste the stalk. Reduce your food waste and pickle the cauliflower stalk too. You can peel the stalk and cut it into sticks or rounds.
- Pickle jars: I recommend using Ball or Bernardin mason jars, but you can also use Weck jars.
Yes, you can make a small modification to the recipe to make quick pickled cauliflower. 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 cauliflower 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 cauliflower should be ready to enjoy in a day or even less. But it will get better with time.
This recipe does call for equal parts sugar and salt. This helps offset some of the bitterness you might get from cauliflower. But if you’re not a fan of a sweet pickle, you can certainly reduce the sugar or eliminate it altogether. What’s important is the salt, so I don’t recommend you alter the salt quantity.
If you make this Levantine Pickled Cauliflower (Refrigerator Pickle) 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.
Levantine Pickled Cauliflower (Refrigerator Pickle)
- 1quart jar - 1000 ml mason jar
- 1 cup Water - Hot
- 1 cup Distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, pickling salt or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon White sugar - See note about using less
- 1-2 Cloves of garlic - Peeled
- 1 lb Cauliflower - Cleaned and cut into small bite-sized florets (about 1 small head or ½ a large head of cauliflower)
- 1 Small beetroot - Peeled and cut into rings
- Prepare the pickling solution. In a large measuring cup, add the hot water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Using a whisk, stir well to dissolve. The warm solution should help dissolve the salt and sugar quickly, but if not, keep whisking. Eventually, they will dissolve.
- Pack the jars. To a clean glass mason jar, add the crushed garlic and beetroot slices. Pack the jars down with cauliflower florets. Make sure to pack down as much as possible without crushing.
- Add the brine. Carefully pour the 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, with about ¼ inch clearance from the top of the jar. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Pickle. Place the jar in the refrigerator to pickle for 4-5 days. The brine will turn a vibrant pink color. Enjoy.