This quick refrigerator recipe will teach you how to make giardiniera, a popular Italian antipasto and condiment.  Giardiniara has many uses, and is often put in Italian beef sandwiches, appetizers, salads and pizza.  It is easy, healthy, and low carb!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
bowl of giardiniera
Appetizers

How to Make Giardiniera

Giardiniera.  Do you know what it is?  This dish originated in Italy as a way for Italians to preserve their garden vegetables for the wintertime.  In Italian, giardiniera means from the garden.  Basically, giardiniera is a pickled relish, and is commonly used as an appetizer or a condiment.  It is pronounced JAR-di-NAIR-ah.

forkful of giardiniera

How can I use giardiniera?

  • Italians use it as an antipato, and serve it with olives, cheeses, and sliced meats.
  • In Chicago, it is used as a condiment on top of Italian beef or Italian sub sandwiches.
  • In New Orleans, it is used in olive salad and is served in a muffaletta sandwich.
  • Try giardiniera in a salad, on pizza, with bread and cheese, and with scrambled eggs.

holding a bowl of giardiniera

How to Make Giardiniera

Decide what fresh vegetables you want to include, then cut them up into bite size pieces.  I used cauliflower, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and shallots.

veggies for giardiniera

The pickling liquid is pretty straightforward: equal parts water to vinegar and equal parts sugar to salt.  With the pickling spices you’ll have more freedom of expression.  Since this is a sweet giardiniera and not a spicy one, my spices were cloves, celery seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and a bay leaf.

giardiniera brine ingredients

Now the fun can begin.  Pour all the pickling liquid ingredients in a big pot.  Over medium high heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved then add the pickling spices and the fresh veggies.

veggies for giardiniera in a pot

Put the lid on and bring the mixture to a boil.  Let it boil for a minute then remove it from the heat.  It will look like the picture below.  Keep the lid on, and let the giardiniera cool to room temperature.  With this technique, the vegetables will continue to cook while the pot cools, but they will still be a bit crunchy–and that’s a good thing.

boiled veggies for giardiniera in a pot

Transfer the cooled vegetables into clean canning jars making sure to leave some head space.

jars of giardiniera

Pour in the pickling liquid so the vegetables are totally submerged.

pouring brine into a jar of giardiniera

Add a 1/2 teaspoon of pickling spices into each canning jar.  This will help give the vegetables a wonderful flavor.  Screw a lid onto each jar, invert it and shake it so the spices get mixed in.  Store the jars in the fridge for a minimum of 48 hours before using.  The flavor does intensify the longer it sits, so patience is needed.  Really, the only hard part of this recipe is the waiting. 😊

adding spices to a jar of giardiniera

To serve as an antipasto, remove the giardiniera from the jar and place in a small serving bowl.  Serve alongside olives, cheese, and sliced charcuterie or other Italian meats.

bowl of giardiniera

Pro Tips

  • Use a one step pickling process for a Northern Italian giardiniera
  • Use a two step process: pickling 3 days and then stored in oil for a Silician giardiniera
  • For a Chicago style giardiniera, use two serrano peppers and some red pepper flakes
  • Make sure to use cauliflower as it easily soaks up the pickling liquid
  • Customize it by adding a few more different kinds of veggies or adding less.

Homemade giardiniera is super simple to make and tastes a lot better then store bought.  If you have never made any pickled vegetables before, I encourage you to start with this recipe.  It’s totally foolproof, so it’s guaranteed to turn out.  Buon Appetito!

Do you love this giardiniera recipe?  You’ll want to check out these ones, too!

spoonful of olive salad for muffaletta muffaletta sandwich on a plate a forkful of refrigerator dill pickles with a glass jar of pickles

Are you a total fan of this homemade giardiniera?  We would love it if you could leave a review or a comment.

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bowl of giardiniera

How to Make Giardiniera


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1/2 cups
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This quick refrigerator recipe will teach you how to make giardiniera, a popular Italian antipasto and condiment.  Giardiniara has many uses, and is often put in Italian beef sandwiches, appetizers, salads and pizza.  It is easy, healthy, and low carb!


Ingredients

For the Brine

  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

For the Vegetables

  • 1 3/4 cup celery, sliced on the bias (4 stalks, 191g)
  • 1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias (4 carrots, 200g)
  • 2 cups red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch strips (1 large pepper, 221g)
  • 5 cups cauliflower, cut in bite-sized florets (1 large head, 484g)
  • 3/4 cup shallots, peeled and quartered (74g)

Instructions

  1. Cut the celery and carrot on the bias in 1/4 inch slices, and cut the red pepper into 1-inch pieces.  Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets and quarter the shallots.  Set aside.
  2. Pour the water and vinegar into a large Dutch oven.  Turn the heat to medium high and sprinkle in the sugar and salt, then stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Stir in the spices, then add the veggies.  Put the lid on and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  4. Take the pot off the heat, let the pot cool to room temperature with the lid on.  The goal is to slowly cook the veggies so they are still a bit crunchy.
  5. Once cool, spoon the veggies into 7 clean canning jars (don’t worry about sterilizing them).  Leave an inch of head space.
  6. Transfer the pickling liquid from the pot into a 4-cup measuring cup, then pour the pickling liquid into the jars.  Using a 1/2 teaspoon, distribute the remaining pickling spices into each of the seven jars.  Screw the lids on tightly, then invert and shake the jars.  Store upright in the fridge for 2 to 3 days before using.
  7. Serve the giardiniera as an appetizer with cheese and salami, in an olive salad for muffaletta, or on an Italian beef sandwich, hot dog, sub sandwich, as a pizza topping, or with bratwurst sausage.

Notes

  • Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, in an airtight sealed container like mason jars.

Keywords: antipasto, pickled vegetables, giardiniera

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