Giardiniera: Italian-Style Mixed Pickled Vegetables

Giardiniera Italian-style mixed pickled vegetable recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
213 Calories
8g Fat
32g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 213
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 944mg 41%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 5g
Calcium 132mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

 These are the colorful, tangy mixed vegetable pickles graced with olive oil that show up as part of your antipasto plate before the main food arrives in Italian restaurants. They are easy to make and delicious.

The oil in this recipe is used more as a flavoring than as a preservation factor, so be sure to use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Also, the oil will congeal in the refrigerator, so let the giardiniera come to room temperature for the olive oil to re-liquify before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower head (about 1 pound)
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 1 red bell pepper (and/or yellow or green peppers)
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 onion (white or yellow)
  • 1 3/4 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or other non-iodized, medium grain salt)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or 2 teaspoons honey)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (peeled and lightly smashed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional: 1 small, hot chile pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 4 to 6 black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pickled antipasto vegetables
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Wash the cauliflower, celery, and bell pepper. Remove the solid core from the cauliflower and break the rest up into approximately 1-inch florets.

    Wash cauliflower
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  3. Remove the stem, seeds, and any white pith from the red bell pepper. Chop the celery and pepper into 1-inch pieces. Alternatively, cut the peppers into strips.

    Remove stems
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Peel the carrots and chop them into 1-inch pieces.

    Peel carrots
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Cut the halves into 1/4-inch thick slices.

    Cut onion
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Combine the white wine vinegar, water, salt, and the sugar or honey in a large pot.

    Combine white wine vinegar, salt, honey
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar or honey.

    Boil
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Add the vegetables to the brine and simmer them for 5 minutes. 

    Add vegetables to brine
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Meanwhile, put the garlic, hot chile pepper (if using), bay leaf, mustard seeds, and whole black peppercorns into a clean glass quart jar.

    Put spices in jar
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Remove the pot from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to the jar.

    Remove pot from heat
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Pour the hot brine over the other ingredients. You want the vegetables and spices to be completely immersed in the liquid, but there should still be a 3/4-inch headspace between the surface of the brine and the rim of the jar.

    Pickled antipasto
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  12. Pour the extra-virgin olive oil on top of the brine. There should be just enough oil to completely cover the surface of the brine.

    Pour brine in
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  13. Refrigerate for at least one week before sampling.

    Refridgerate
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Pickling Equipment Warning

Do not use copper, brass, galvanized, or iron utensils/pots when pickling food. These metals can react with acids or salts and cause undesirable color changes and/or form toxic compounds in the pickles.

Tip

  • The giardiniera will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 months. If you want to can it for longer storage at room temperature, leave out the layer of olive oil and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude).

Recipe Variation

  • Note that you could also use distilled white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, but the flavor won't be as good. Either way, what you're after is not only acidity to safely preserve the food, but also a clear brine that shows off the colors of the pickles.