This Italian giardiniera recipe is the perfect appetizer for your antipasto platter, with loads of garden fresh vegetables tossed in a seasoned vinaigrette. Lots of peppers!
It’s time for something seriously awesome in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. It’s an appetizer with loads of fresh vegetables, including lots of chili peppers. Our favorite thing! We’re talking Homemade Italian Giardiniera, and I think you’re going to love it.
If your garden is exploding with peppers and vegetables, this is the perfect recipe for you.
What is Giardiniera?
Giardiniera is an Italian recipe of garden fresh vegetables tossed with a seasoned vinaigrette (vinegar and oil). The name means “gardener” or “from the garden”. It is commonly served as an appetizer, though it can also be served as a condiment. It is also referred to as sottaceti, which means “under vinegar”, common for pickled vegetables.
It’s huge on flavor, perfect for parties and gatherings.
It will be the star of your antipasto platter with its vibrant colors and big flavor. Skip the pasta salad this year and bring giardiniera! Your friends will love you.
Let’s talk about how we make Italian giardiniera, shall we?
Italian Giardiniera Ingredients
- Giardiniera Peppers. I used several colorful sweet peppers (the equivalent of 2 bell peppers) along with 2 jalapeno peppers and 2 serrano peppers for a hot version. You can use milder peppers, like red bell peppers, to your preference. This recipe works with any peppers, either mild and sweet or hot peppers.
- Fresh Produce. Use 1/2 a head of cauliflower (about 2 cups), 2 medium sized carrots and 2 celery stalks. You can use other fresh produce from your garden or grocer.
- Oil and Vinegar. Use 1 cup white vinegar (half apple cider vinegar is a nice touch) and 1 cup olive oil.
- Seasonings. I use 3 cloves garlic, minced, along with 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, and fresh ground black pepper. I also like to use red pepper flakes. You don’t need to add extra salt, as you’ll get plenty from the initial brine, though you can add more to your taste.
How to Make Italian Giardiniera – the Recipe Method
Brine the Vegetables. To a large bowl, add all of the peppers, carrot, celery and cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, covered. I like to brine mine for 24 hours or longer for maximum flavor.
Drain and rinse away the brine. Set aside.
Make the Vinaigrette. In a separate bowl, add garlic, basil, celery seed and ground pepper to taste. Add vinegar and oil and whisk to combine.
Add to your vegetable mixture.
Store in Jars. Pack the vegetables into jars, ensuring the vegetables are covered with your vinegar/oil mixture. I like to use smaller jars.
Refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 days before using, to allow flavors to mingle. A week is better! This will last for several weeks or longer.
Boom! Done! Italian style giardiniera in the house! Ready to serve! I love this stuff. Pretty easy to make, isn’t it?
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Peppers. You can realistically use any chili peppers for this recipe. I like to use a mix of mostly sweet and some hot peppers when serving it as an appetizer. You can, of course, make this with all hot peppers, which will really bring the heat!
- Other Ingredients. As the name indicates, you can use any garden fresh vegetables for this recipe. Others you might include are rashes, gherkins, olives and more.
- How Long Does Giardiniera Last? Giardiniera will keep several weeks in the refrigerator, covered, due to the acidity of the vinegar.
- Preserving. You can process your giardiniera in a hot water bath of boiling water for longer keeping.
Chicago Style Giardiniera Vs. Italian Giardiniera
Chicago style giardiniera is a variation of Italian giardiniera, with more of a focus on the peppers. Also, the vegetables are much more finely chopped and usually served as a condiment for beef sandwiches, hot dogs and more. There are hot and mild versions. It’s usually made with sport peppers or serrano peppers. Check out my Homemade Chicago-Style Giardiniera Recipe to learn more. I was born and raised in the Chicago. I love this stuff!
What Do You Use Giardiniera For?
Italian Giardiniera is outstanding as an appetizer, party food or as a snack. More finely chopped, use it as a condiment to serve on sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and even pizza. It’s particularly good on Italian beef sandwiches.
That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your homemade giardiniera! Let me know how you serve it up. Delicious!
Check Out Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Chicago Style Giardiniera
- Pickled Carrots
- Taqueria Style Pickled Jalapenos and Carrots
- Blistered Shishito Peppers
- How to Make Homemade Mustard – the Basics
- Homemade Garlic-Chili Sauce
- Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
- Homemade Buffalo Sauce
- Fra Diavolo Sauce
If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! — Mike H.
Homemade Italian Giardiniera Recipe
- 2 bell peppers sliced. Use colorful peppers - you can also use sweet peppers
- 2 jalapeno peppers sliced
- 2 serrano peppers (Optional, for a hotter version)
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 2 cups cauliflower florets (about 1/2 head of cauliflower)
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- Ground pepper
- 1 cup of white vinegar or half white and half apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil + more as needed
- To a large bowl, add all of the peppers with radishes, carrot, celery and cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with water and refrigerate for 12 hours, covered.
- Drain and rinse away the brine. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add garlic, basil, celery seed and ground pepper to taste. Add vinegar and oil and whisk to combine.
- Add to your vegetable mixture.
- Place it all into jars, ensuring the vegetables are covered with your vinegar/oil mixture.
- Refrigerate at least 2 days before using, to allow flavors to mingle. A week is better! Should last you 2-3 weeks.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 7/3/20 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 11/4/16.