What the heck is Giardiniera? It's a spicy Italian pickled vegetable mixture that's mostly eaten as an antipasto. Sometimes it's included in salads and it's occasionally shoved into a delicious Italian sub. In my case, it's a healthy snack eaten directly out of the jar!

Ever since I had this simple salad at one of our favorite pizza places, I've been somewhat addicted to the taste of crunchy pickled carrots, tangy bites of cauliflower and red peppers with spicy slices of Serrano peppers. It's definitely a party in your mouth! When I wasn't able to find a reasonably priced jar of Giardiniera in my local grocery store, I figured I'd make my own. Turns out it's a cinch to make and the second you open the lid, one whiff will you transport you to that kitschy Italian restaurant from your childhood. Pickling your own vegetables is super fun! I highly recommend it.

And we're off!

Get the ingredients together.

Vinegar, sugar, water, salt & peppercorns get heated up and simmered.

More chopping...

Again with the chopping...

Serrano slicing and onion slicing...don't touch your eyes! Stop crying.

Throw it all in a bowl. MIX.

Put the mixture into two quart sized mason jars.

Top with halved garlic & Serrano slices.

Get the basil & oregano together. Oh! More peppercorns? Sure!

Top the loaded jars with the spice mixture.

Pour the vinegar over the top of each jar.

Put the lid on and shake each jar. Open them up. Let them cool off.

Two days in the some sunflower seed butter while you wait.

Look! You pickled stuff! Now eat that pickled stuff!


Makes 2 quarts

(recipe adapted from

  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets, chopped (about 1 head)
  • 1 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Put all of the chopped cauliflower, peppers, onions & carrots in a large bowl. Mix to combine and then divide mixture between two quart sized-mason jars. Top each jar with half the dried herbs, peppercorns, Serrano peppers and garlic. Carefully pour vinegar mixture over cauliflower mixture. Place the lids on the jars and slightly agitate to evenly mix. Take the lids off the jars and let giardiniera cool off, about 15 minutes. When cool, seal the jars tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 days, making sure to agitate a couple times per day. The giardiniera will last for up to a month in the fridge.

Shutterbean Notes:

-If your vinegar mixture doesn't fill up the jars all the way, don't fret! Add a bit of water! Agitate it. Done.

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  • Kristen
    July 20, 2011

    I live in Chicago and we eat giardiniera on everything, its really good on pizza... Ive never thought to make my own! Thanks

    • July 21, 2011

      PIZZA! So doing that next.

  • July 20, 2011

    Oh it looks great. Even I could manage that ( my husband is the pickler/preserver in this house!)

  • July 20, 2011

    I never would have thought to make my own Giardiniera but I love the spicy kick. This would be so good with some prosciutto and bread.

  • July 20, 2011

    the pickled veggies look good, but i'm drooling over your sunbutter jar there....

  • July 20, 2011

    Yum. I cant wait to try this out it would be awesome in a salami sandwich!!

  • July 20, 2011

    This sounds super yummy! Really unique too. Awesome.

  • July 20, 2011

    yum...i loved pickled things! i bet this would be amazing mixed into potato salad!

  • brenda
    July 20, 2011

    I keep this stuff on hand like some keep water. store bought usually has jalapenos, but knowing how to make it will save me lots of cash.


  • July 20, 2011

    Im obsessed with pickling things nowadays. These look delish!

  • July 20, 2011

    awesome! i've been looking for a good pickling recipe !

  • July 20, 2011

    I agree on the giardiniera on pizza comment. espeically with italian sausage too. and especially i get past the thought that the word 'giardiniera' sounds like a bad disease.....

    also, great podcast yesterday. you reminded me that i am not ready for kids yet - what with all the extra work for vacation! thanks for that ;).

  • Vicky
    July 20, 2011

    Sounds lovely. Do you think it would work with granulated sweetener rather than sugar. I'm following slimming world and if it would this recipe would make an excellent addition to it.

    • July 20, 2011

      I bet you could go with none at all. It really doesn't change much!

  • July 20, 2011

    I've been listening to your podcast and reading your blog, and I just have to say, it's all so amazing!
    I love that you post recipes for unusual Giardiniera!

    • July 21, 2011

      THANK YOU, KIM!!! I'll keep the weird stuff coming! haha

  • That first pic of your Giardiniera looked like candy to me at first! I bet we can call it vegetable candy though - it looks so good. Would be great to lighten up a heavy pizza ..

    • July 21, 2011

      haha! it kinda does, huh? Pickled candy!

  • July 20, 2011

    i am all over this. we always have a jar in the fridge as i grew up with this stuff- my dad was a spicy pepper, pickled eatin' freak!

    why did i never think to make my own?!?!? i am making a jar that's cauliflower + peppers cause that's what i end up picking out the most!

    thanks bean!!!!

    • July 21, 2011

      can't wait to see a few mason jars in your new fridge!!! xoxoxox

      • July 21, 2011

        yeaaaaaaaah!! i will never buy this stuff from the grocery again thanks to mah sweet bean!

  • Kim
    July 20, 2011

    Stupid question: where does one purchase said Mason jar? AND...this looks and looks like it smells delicious. My mouth just watered. Maybe I'm hungry. I need a snack. Thank for the pickle love.

    • July 21, 2011

      You can usually find them at a hardware store OR a big store like Target or Walmart or perhaps in your grocery store! They are usually in the baking section. Hope that helps! In a pinch, you can order them online!

    • Erin
      July 25, 2011

      I picked up two empty ones at my local health food store, $1.35 each. Same ones as in the pic.

  • Miranda
    July 21, 2011

    Love it! Can't wait to make it this weekend.

  • Kimberly
    July 21, 2011

    Mmmm...giardiniera. I've seen recipes for it before, but yours is the first to make it seem so ridiculously doable. I think it's your fabulous step-by-step pix. There's a very good chance I'll make some this weekend, so thank you!!

  • Leslie
    July 22, 2011

    Love your podcast. I also sleep in a cotton dress and agree it is great in that you don't have to get dressed to go to the grocery in the am.

  • July 22, 2011

    Whoa, this looks amazing. I've been super into spicy pickles lately. These sound perfect for summer.

  • Erin
    July 25, 2011

    Just made this and in the fridge it goes for two days before I can taste! but thank you I'll be back to let you know how I like it!

    • July 25, 2011

      Oooh! Yay! Lemme know how it goes!

  • August 10, 2011

    So you'll be submitting this to PD, right? :)

  • August 10, 2011

    Wow, the colours are absolutely incredible, I believe you gave me something to do this weekend!

  • kutschi
    October 22, 2011

    Thanks for this recipe, looks so yummy :D

    Just one question - how long can you keep this for? Do you have to eat it really quickly?

  • Krysta
    November 5, 2012

    Thanks so much! I just my first batch on Friday and enjoyed the deliciousness on my homemade Italian Beef yesterday. And the giadiniera was the best part!

    It's too early for some now but I'm already drooling for lunch ;)

  • August 22, 2013

    Is it possible to can this mixture to preserve it longer and give as Christmas gifts?

    • Tracy
      August 22, 2013

      You could go through the canning method of boiling/sterilizing/preserving and it would most likely work out ok!

  • Tracey
    October 24, 2013

    My husband and I love this! Thanks for sharing it. I pinned it in a few places.

  • February 15, 2014

    I just saw this recipe as I wanted to re-create Howie's Sue's Salad, too! I order it everytime we eat there, and my favorite pizza there is sundried tomato pesto with mozzarella, parmesan, scallions, and roasted pistachios!

  • Christopher
    April 29, 2014

    Instead of using vinegar, try lacto-fermenting it. Use a 2% salt solution and let it sit for 4 days. It not only gets nice and tangy, but it's a fantastic source of probiotics, and will keep for quite a while. My lacto-fermented giardiniera is done, and I love it, even though I do not like spicy foods.

  • Randy in Tucson
    January 4, 2015

    So a guy who has been cooking for 40+ years and loves bruschetta of all kinds stumbles across giardiniera at a the Coronet Restaurant in Tucson and is hooked. Looks online for recipes and finds Shutterbean's. OMG! Made six jars and added a some capers on top. Can'! Have been looking for a healthy pickled veggie dish as a better snack alternative and this is it. Chopped 2 of the jars fine with a walnut chopper and it makes the most amazing relish! Thanks Tracy! God Bless.

  • Tracy
    January 4, 2015

    Randy in Tuscon! THAT IS SO AWESOME!!! I'm glad you love it. YAY

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