Chicago hot giardiniera

Adam Liaw
Chicago-style giardiniera pickles.
Chicago-style giardiniera pickles. Photo: William Meppem

The Chicago version of the classic Italian pickle is differentiated by the addition of olives, chilli and olive oil to the pickling liquid. The olive oil rises to the top and helps seal the pickle.


5 large green chillies (about 100g)

½ cauliflower, broken into small florets

1 red capsicum

1 small yellow capsicum (optional)

1 carrot

2 celery stalks

½ cup salt

150g pitted green olives

3 garlic cloves, bruised

1 tsp black peppercorns

Pickling liquid

2 cups white vinegar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp dried oregano

½ cup olive oil


1. Combine the chilli, cauliflower, capsicum, carrot and celery with the salt in a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and refrigerate in the brine overnight. 

2. The next day, drain the water, add the olives and mix through. Pack the vegies into sterilised jars with the garlic cloves and black peppercorns. 

3. To make the pickling liquid, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and oregano and whisk in the olive oil. Pour the mixture over the vegetables until they are covered and seal the jars. Keep in a cool, dark place for 3 days, then refrigerate until you're ready to use.

Also try: my spring vegetables with tuna and turmeric dip