Pickled Cauliflower, Carrots, and Jalapeños Recipe

Alex Farnum
Ratings (31)
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups (8 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
67 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
2g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe comes from Tacolicious, the cookbook from the eponymous San Francisco restaurant. It's a variation on a traditional Mexican pickle that they serve alongside their tacos. Instead of discarding the brine when the pickles have been consumed, they serve it as a chaser, or pickle back, with shots of tequila. The spicy, salty brine makes for a brusque palate cleanser between shots. Because this recipe calls for rice wine vinegar, which is less than 5% acidity, it cannot be canned via water bath canning ​but will keep, refrigerated. 

When it comes to setting the table in Mexico, this mix of spicy pickled vegetables, also known as escabeche, is almost as expected as salsa. 

At Tacolicious, they include cauliflower, but most typically you’ll see jalapeños, carrots, and onions. Unless you have the time and the desire, don’t worry about removing the seeds from the chiles. Try experimenting with a chunkier version, too, leaving the jalapeños whole and cutting the carrots into large pieces.


  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup carrots (sliced ​into 1/8-inch-thick coins)
  • 1/2 cup red onion (halved and cut lengthwise into 1/2" thick slices)
  • 1 1/2 cups jalapeño chilies (in 1/4-inch-thick rounds)
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large cloves garlic (lightly crushed)

Steps to Make It

  1. Put the cauliflower, carrots, onion, and chilies in a wide-mouthed quart canning jar or a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl.

  2. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, cloves, oregano, bay leaf, and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

  3. Remove from the heat. Place the jar or bowl in your sink to catch any overflow and carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables.

  4. Let sit for about 1 hour, or until completely cooled.

  5. If you have used a jar, screw on the lid. If you have used a bowl, transfer the vegetables and liquid to a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

  6. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours before serving. The vegetables will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Tacolicious, ​by Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave, copyright © 2014, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
Photographs copyright © 2014 by Alex Farnum