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Charred Giardiniera Recipe

You know the drill. Atop our brats, kielbasas, hot dogs and sweet Italian sausages, we love our toppings. Rarely do we find the time to make these toppings homemade since store-bought suffices just fine. Well, not today. Let’s bring our favorite topping to the grill and make it homemade.

We’re talking about a spicy, briny, crunchy topping. That’s right – giardiniera! And to make it even better, we are grilling our veggies prior to a quick pickle. Store in an air-tight container for up to a month in the refrigerator. 

Traditionally, giardiniera is a mix of vegetables and hot peppers in a vinegar-based brine. Keeping with that tradition, we will need onion, carrots, jalapenos, and cauliflower. Begin with peeling three carrots and slicing them once lengthwise. Cut off the ends of each side of the onion and slice into three horizontal slices. Do not break the rings up. Slice your cauliflower into steaks about ¾ inch thick. Any parts that do not stay with the steaks can be used for other delicious purposes. Leave your jalapenos whole. Toss all of the prepared veggies in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

On the hot side of the grill, lay out your vegetables and let char for 2 minutes on the first side. Once definite grill marks are made, flip your veggies to the other side. Cook another minute until the other side is also charred. Your veggies should be charred but not cooked all the way through. We are looking for firmness still. 

Remove from the grill onto a cutting board. Set aside and let cool. To make your pickling brine, add 1 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt and ½ tablespoon pepper. Add 4 cloves of whole peeled garlic and half a cup of olive oil. 

When cool enough to handle, remove any tough stem pieces from the cauliflower. Dice your vegetables roughly, depending on how chunky you like your giardiniera. I prefer a ½ inch dice. Slice your jalapenos, removing any blackened bits of skin from the pepper. Leave the seeds in for extra heat. 

Marinade the warm vegetables in the vinegar mixture for at least 4 hours, overnight preferred. Transfer to the fridge if you marinade overnight. Top any sandwich or dish with your homemade grilled topping.  

Pickling began 4000 years ago using cucumbers native to India. This was used as a way to preserve food for out-of-season use and for long journeys, especially by sea. Salt pork and salt beef were common staples for sailors before the days of steam engines. Although the process was invented to preserve foods, pickles are also made and eaten because people enjoy the resulting flavors. Pickling may also improve the nutritional value of food by introducing B vitamins produced by bacteria, according to


Incorporating vinegar based recipes into your diet can help combat the side effects of gluten or other digestive disturbances. At the same time, ingesting vinegar can help eliminate toxins and promote healthy gut bacteria which is beneficial to overall health and wellbeing.

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