Giardiniera – Italian Pickled Vegetables

Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil.

Varieties and Uses

Italian giardiniera is also called “sotto aceti”, which means “under vinegar”, a common term for pickled foods. It is typically eaten as an antipasto or with salads.

  • In the United States, giardiniera is commonly available in traditional or spicy varieties, and the latter is sometimes referred to as “Hot Mix”.
  • In the cuisine of Chicago, giardiniera is used as a condiment, typically as a topping on Italian Beef Sandwiches.
  • A milder variety of giardiniera is used for the olive salad in the Muffuletta Sandwich.

Common Ingredients

The Italian version includes onions, celery, zucchini, carrots, and cauliflower. The pickled vegetables are in red- or white-wine vinegar. Chicago giardiniera is commonly made “hot” with sport peppers or “mild” without, along with a combination of assorted vegetables, including bell peppers, olives, celery, pimentos, carrots, cauliflower, and gherkins, and sometimes crushed red pepper flakes, all marinated in vegetable oil, olive oil, soybean oil, or any combination of the three. On the West coast of the United States it is common to see it pickled in vinegar.

Chicago Style Giardiniera Recipe

Chicago Style Giardiniera
Giardiniera is a mixture of different fresh vegetables pickled in a vinegar/oil mixture. Many people put it on their salads or serve it as an antipasto. In fact, in New Orleans the olive relish on the Muffuletta sandwich is a type of giardiniera.
Cuisine: Chicago
Recipe type: Pickle
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, sliced (or 8 to 12 serrano peppers)
  • 2 green capsicum, diced
  • 2 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • ½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup stuffed pimento green olives, chopped
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional for more "heat"
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  1. In a large non-reactive bowl, add all the peppers, celery, carrot, onion. and cauliflower florets. Stir in salt and add enough water to cover vegetables. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours. After 12 hours, drain and rinse vegetables to remove excess salt. Set bowl aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, celery seeds, and ground pepper. Pour in vinegar and whisk in olive oil until combined. Add this to the vegetable mixture, add in the chopped olives and toss well. You can either cover this and refrigerate or place the vegetable mixture into jars making sure the vegetables are covered by the oil/vinegar blend. This recipe is good at 48 hours, however, the longer you let it ferment in the fridge the better the flavours are. We try to wait a week before we eat it.
  3. You can use a combination of peppers such as serrano, hot red cherry, banana, and jalapeno depending on what you like.

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