Homemade Giardiniera

If you like pickling projects, you are going to love this recipe for homemade giardiniera. Cauliflower, carrots, celery, peppers, olives, and onions are all featured along with a menagerie of herbs and spices. This spicy, tantalizingly tangy recipe is a surefire crowd-pleaser!

3 jars of giadiniera on a countertop with a dish towel

For me, pickling is pure joy! I love the process of transforming nature’s bounty into a perfectly preserved product. Today’s recipe for Mediterranean-inspired giardiniera is a great way to get started. Even if you have never pickled or canned a day in your life, this recipe for Italian pickled vegetables is a great way to learn.

And please don’t be intimidated! I’ve included instructions for both canning or simply making a quick batch to serve within days. The choice is yours! And, speaking of choice, don’t be afraid to toss whatever garden vegetables you have on hand in the mix. After all, giardiniera translates literally to mean gardener. If you can grow it, you can pickle it!

3 jars of giadiniera on a countertop with a dish towel

For more pickled recipes, check out my recipes for Quick Lemon Pickles and Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Vegetables Giardiniera is a zesty mix of cauliflower, celery, carrots, bell peppers, pepperoncini, onions, and olives. 
  • Herbs and Spices – These Italian pickled vegetables are infused with zingy garlic, aromatic oregano, spicy-sweet basil, and licorice-laced fennel seeds. We also include tangy mustard seeds, piney black peppercorns, and smoky chili peppers along with a dash of celery seed and bay leaf. 
  • Brine – White wine vinegar, kosher salt, and water make up the beautiful brine.

Tip From Kevin

To Can or Not to Can

If you want to enjoy your homemade giardiniera all year round, I can’t say enough good things about canning it instead of simply cooking and then cooling it. Follow the instructions below to learn how to make your pickled vegetables last for an entire year in your pantry.

How to Make Homemade Giardiniera

  1. Salt the Veggies. Combine the chopped bell peppers, celery, carrots, and cauliflower in a large container. Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables and sprinkle them with ¼ cup of kosher salt. Using both hands, toss to combine the mixture and evenly distribute the salt. Cover and let the veggies soak in the salt water for at least 8 hours. 
  2. Prepare the Jars. If you are canning, take steps to sterilize the jars, then add the herbs and spices to each jar. 
  3. Drain & Rinse. Drain the vegetables in a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Divide and distribute the vegetables into the prepared jars, pressing to pack them as tightly as possible. 
  4. Boil the Brine. Use a large pot to combine the water, salt, and white wine vinegar to a boil. With care, use a ladle to transfer the hot brine liquid into the jars with the veggies. Gently pour it over the vegetables, leaving ½ inch of clearance from the top of the jar. 
  5. Remove Air & Cover. Jiggle the jars to remove any air bubbles and use a damp paper towel to wipe up any splatters. Place a lid on the jar, tightening until finger tight. 
  6. Cool & Stash. If your giardiniera is not getting canned, allow it to cool at room temperature, then transfer it to the refrigerator. Give it at least two days to marinate before enjoying. It will stay fresh in the fridge for at least two weeks. 
  7. Process to Preserve. For canning, the process has a few more steps. If you are making this recipe at sea level to 1000 feet above sea level, you want to boil the jars for 10 minutes and then cautiously remove them from the water. Transfer to a towel to catch any drips. Leave the jars on the counter overnight, then store in a cool, dry area for up to a year. 
  8. Adjust for Altitude. If you are canning at a higher altitude, use the following specs to adjust your processing time: 
    • 1,001 – 3,000 ft above sea level = 5 minutes
    • 3,001 – 6,000 ft above sea level = 10 minutes
    • 6,001 – 8,000 ft above sea level = 15 minutes
    • 8,001 -10,000 ft above sea level = 20 minutes
  9. Open, Seal & Serve. Once ready to enjoy, pop open the lid and add a splash of olive oil to seal the flavors. Replace the lid and store opened jars in the refrigerator.
3 jars of homemade giadiniera on a countertop

Frequently Asked Questions

What is giardiniera for?

Giardiniera is lovely to eat on its own and as a snack or appetizer, but it also pairs perfectly with a surprising variety of dishes. It works wonderfully as a relish for hot dogs and Sausages, and makes a great addition to any Sandwich, Burger, or Wrap.

These Italian pickled veggies are amazing with omelets and other egg dishes like Moroccan Shakshuka

These pickled veggies have the ability to enhance just about any dish with their bright, briny flavor. I recommend pairing it with other Mediterranean classics like Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup), Creamy Tuscan Chicken, or Eggplant Moussaka.

Does giardiniera need to be refrigerated?

It depends. If you aren’t going through the entire canning process, it is best to stash your Italian pickled vegetables in the refrigerator as soon as they have cooled off. They will stay fresh for at least 2 weeks when processed this way. 

If you are canning your giardiniera, you can stash it in your pantry, at room temperature, for up to a year. Upon opening, however, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator and consuming it within a couple of weeks. 

Some sources will tell you to leave it on the counter, but I prefer to play it safe. You can always take it out of the fridge in advance if you prefer to serve it at room temperature.

Is giardiniera good for your gut?

Absolutely! This hodgepodge of crunchy, spicy, and cruciferous vegetables delivers health-promoting fiber, prebiotics, and a host of vitamins and minerals. And, since these Italian pickled vegetables are soaked in a fermented vinegar brine, they also offer a gut-loving dose of probiotic power.

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Homemade Giardiniera (Italian Pickled Vegetables)

This homemade giardiniera recipe is a bright, zingy, and zesty mix of Italian pickled vegetables. It is easy to make and super versatile.
Servings: 6 quart jars
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Pickle Time: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 head cauliflower chopped into small florets
  • 8 ribs celery 1/2-inch slices
  • 6 carrots 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 large red bell peppers seeded and 1-inch pieces
  • 16 oz peperoncinis drained
  • 16 oz cocktail onions drained
  • 4 oz pimento stuffed green olives drained
  • 12 cloves garlic

Spices/Herbs for EACH Quart jar

Brine

Instructions 

  • Transfer chopped cauliflower, celery, carrots and bell peppers to a large container. Sprinkle 1/4 cup kosher salt over the vegetables and enough cold water to cover them. Stir using both hands, cover and soak vegetables in the salt water for at least 8 hours.
  • Prepare the jars by making sure they are sterilized if canning. Place the herbs and spices into each of the jars.
  • Thoroughly rinse and drain the vegetables in a colander then divide between jars, packing the vegetables in as tightly as you can.
  • Bring the brine ingredients (white wine vinegar, water and salt) to a boil in a large pot. Using a ladle, carefully pour the hot brine over the vegetables leaving 1/2-inch headspace from the top. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims of jars with a damp paper towel to remove any spill residue. Place a lid on the jar and screw a ring on until finger-tight.
  • If you are not canning the giardiniera, leave at room temperature until jars are cool and transfer to refrigerator. Leave for 2 days before serving. These will keep for at least 2 weeks refrigerated.
  • If canning, the processing times is for high acid foods based on canning at sea level to 1000 feet (10 minutes). When processing at higher altitudes, adjust the processing time according to the below times.
  • Altitude in Feet >> Increase Processing Time
    1,001-3,000 ft above sea level = 5 min
    3,001 – 6,000 ft above sea level = 10 min
    6,001 – 8,000 ft above sea level = 15 min
    8,001 – 10,000 ft above sea level = 20 min
  • Boil the jars for 10 minutes and carefully remove from hot water bath and place on towel to catch drips. Leave overnight and then store. These will keep for 1 year.
  • Once a jar is opened add a little olive oil on top to "seal" it and then cover with lid and keep refrigerated.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 2735mg | Potassium: 1074mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 13062IU | Vitamin C: 222mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: appetizers
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): homemade giardiniera italian pickled vegetables

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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