Giardiniera (Preserved Vegetable Condiment)

Here's a lacto-fermented version of giardiniera, the super popular preserved vegetable condiment that is most popular in Chicago delis, but actually originated from Italy.

Traditional preparation calls for pickling (using vinegar) for a period of time, and then adding olive oil to the pickled product. All that is well and good, except that probiotics are not produced when vinegar is added.

So, here's a healthy and delicious makeover of giardiniera. No cooking or canning necessary! And watch the below video for fun tips.


  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons (22.5 ml) sea salt
  • 3 cups (720 ml) filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) coriander, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5) fennel seeds
  • 8 oz. (227 g) cauliflower florets
  • 3 oz. (85 g) carrots, cut into rounds
  • 4–5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 oz. (57 g) combination of spicy and sweet peppers, cut (serranos, red bell, or cherry bomb)



1. Make your brine by dissolving the sea salt in filtered water. If you do not have a water filter, you can also bring tap water to a boil for a few minutes, then add in salt and stir to mix well. Allow to cool completely before using.

2. Add spices to the bottom of the glass jar.

3. Layer your prepared vegetables in until they are in line with the lip of the jar.
As there's a lot of air-space between the cut vegetables, compact them gently with a kraut pounder, rolling pin, or with your fist until they are compressed down and the top of the ingredients are now at the "Fill" mark of the jar.

4. Cover with brine until it exceeds the top of the vegetables by 1-inch (2.5 cm).

5. Assemble ChouAmi onto the jar according to directions. Allow to ferment for 10–12 days on your kitchen counter, away from direct sunlight. Check every few days that there is water in the moat, and top off as needed.

6. When ready, remove ChouAmi and wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth. Make sure the Le Parfait sealing cap and screw lid are both clean with no brine, salt, or acid, and place on the jar. Store in the refrigerator.

Additional serving suggestion:

If you like the traditional style of giardiniera with olive oil, simply serve the fermented vegetables with a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

No waste tip: 

Don't toss the fermented brine, please. It contains live-cultured probiotics and is also very tasty. Use the brine to make a salad dressing or to marinade vegetables or meat before cooking.

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