How to Make Homemade Hot Giardiniera, My New Favorite Condiment

If you've never tried hot giardiniera (pronounced jar-dih-NAIR-uh), I urge you to immediately. I first fell in love with the condiment -- made with pickled vegetables and spices -- when I tried it on Pappa Geno's ridiculously delicious Wicked Philly. It even prompted me to pick up a jar and make my own (slightly/barely lighter) version of the cheese steak at home. Well, that jar has since been demolished and because I'm a bit of a if-I-can-find-the-ingredients-I-can-just-make-it-myself type of asshole, I've decided to make an at-home version of the Italian-American relish.

Filled with pickled carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, garlic, spices and hot peppers, this easy-to-do hot giardiniera makes the perfect briny and zesty companion to sandwiches, salads, pizzas, pastas, chili, tacos, hot dogs, chicken, steaks, seafood and more. What I'm saying is, outside of dessert, this stuff is pretty much good on anything. Add it to your next meal...and I dare you not to like it.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients yields 3-4 cups

  • 1 medium carrot, diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 1 zucchini, diced small
  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 6 Serrano peppers, thinly sliced (add more for more heat)
  • 2 sweet banana peppers, diced small
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


    Add prepared vegetables to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix until combined and add in enough water to completely cover. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

    Drain the vegetables from the brine and rinse to remove excess salt. In a large bowl, add the minced garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper. Stir in the vinegar and then slowly whisk in the oils.

    Add the reserved vegetables to the oil mixture and toss to combine. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate overnight and up to 48 hours before adding to jars. Alternatively, you can add the mixture to the jars to marinate immediately.

    The spicy, pickled vegetables will keep in the fridge for about two to three weeks and are delicious on anything and everything, especially the Wicked Philly.

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    Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
    Contact: Brooke Viggiano