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Spicy pickled cauliflower and carrots


Spicy pickled cauliflower and carrots

Quick pickled cauliflower and carrots

We had just eaten the last of the store bought California mix, and I thought, why not make my own pickled cauliflower?

A quick google, and it looked like the folks at Fine Cooking had a pretty good recipe.

I of course tweaked it – you can too! Don’t like red bell peppers? Get rid of ’em! I did. Like celery? Add it. I didn’t, but probably should have. You get the idea.

First things first – quick pickles vs. canned. Canned are a pain (but of course store longer), and quick are, well, quick. So may as well make them as you finish them up. If you feel like being Betty Crocker and making a dozen pints, go ahead.

Quick pickles will keep a couple of weeks in your fridge, even longer if you are clean. (Don’t go digging those luscious clumps of brassica out with your grubby little hands, you hear?) The acid of the vinegar keeps the harmful bacteria and such at bay in the pickles.

First things first, the recipe makes about 3 pints. Just the right amount for quick pickles.

Recipe is below, with ingredients in order of use.


Spicy pickled cauliflower and carrots

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3 pints

Spicy pickled cauliflower and carrots


1/2 head of cauliflower
1 tsp coriander (the seeds, not the leaf which technically is cilantro to most of the world)
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp of black mustard seed (brown or yellow can do in a pinch. Available at Indian grocers)
2 1/2 cups of vinegar, white or apple cider
1 1/4 cup of water
3 large carrots or more
1 stalk of celery
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1/4 cup of sugar
1 TBSP of kosher salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional, just adds a yellow color to the mix)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
additional chiles if you like. If using fresh chiles, cut them in half length-wise.


  1. Prepare the star of the show. 1/2 a head of cauliflower. I did not use a large one, but you can. You may have to make some more pickle juice though if you do. When you do cut the cauliflower, cut just the stem. The top parts will separate when you pull it apart. It makes all the difference in the world if you want good looking little clumps of cauliflower.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size chunks. In a medium bowl, fill about half way with warmish water. Add about two tablespoons of salt to the water and dissolve. Plop the cauliflower pieces into the brine for a quick soak, say fifteen minutes.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the coriander, mustard and cumin over medium heat. We want to toast these. Be careful not to burn. (Toss in the vinegar and water if it does get too toasty)
  4. Meanwhile, cut the carrots into about 1/2 inch thick pieces. Cut on the diagonal, or use a fancy blade of a mandolin.
  5. Cut one stalk of celery into about 1/2 inch chunks.
  6. Toss carrots and celery in the brine.
  7. Take about 4-5 cloves of garlic, cut off root end, smash a bit, get rid of skin and slice thick.
  8. Slice one medium onion thinly. You might want to cut it so the slices stick together.
  9. If you haven't already, grab the 2 1/2 cups of vinegar and 1 1/4 cup of water, toss it in the pan as the spices in there are probably on the cusp of burning. Anyway, toss it in there when the spices are toasted.
  10. Add the garlic, onion and the last of the spices to the pan.
  11. Bring to a boil.
  12. When vinegar mixture has boiled for a minute or so and filled your kitchen with lovely pickle aroma, turn off the heat.
  13. Rinse the vegetables, put into suitable clean containers.
  14. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables, cover and let cool on the counter.
  15. Stuff 'em in the fridge and start to enjoy them in 2 days.
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