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Giardiniera Recipe (Chicago Style)

I love this simple giardiniera recipe! This Chicago style, Italian vegetable relish is a great accompaniment to most everything!

Giardiniera in a jar with spoon

Thank goodness for this simple giardiniera recipe! With a garden that was prolific in the jalapeno area, I needed something besides pickled jalapenos in my fridge!

Salsa is great, but the world does not live on salsa and chips, I keep telling Manservant.

Growing up South of Chicago meant eating lots of Vienna Red Hots. Just the sound of them makes me giddy! I loved them prepared Chicago style, with lots of giardiniera. Oh, so good to have a greasy lip!

But perhaps they don’t have this great Italian relish near you. It can be bought in a jar and  is quite good, but when it’s this easy to make your own, you really should go for it.


Not that long ago  I followed a blogger named Chicago John. He fed us incredible Italian recipes from his aunt and mother. He also left great comments on all the blogs he followed!

His blog, “From the Bartolini Kitchens” is still out there but I don’t believe he is posting anymore. Lucky me though, I bought the cookbook he published with all his favorite family recipes. It was there I discovered how easy this Italian vegetable relish is to make.

Honestly, this word is a pain to spell! But to put it simply, giardiniera is just  Italian pickled veggies that can be kept in vinegar or oil.

Now a little pronounciation lesson: Repeat after me: Jar-din-air-ah! Yes, that’s how this crazy word is said.

Giardiniera in jars

It actually means mixed pickles, and this condiment was an Italian way to preserve garden vegetables for the winter.

Apparently in Northern Italy the vegetables were just pickled with vinegar, but in Sicily, they were kept in oil.

No canning required, because of the oil in this, which meant I could make this. I am not a canner! Which also means my refrigerator is very full!

This crunchy relish is so versatile and is easily served as an appetizer with crackers and cheese or is fabulous on sandwiches or even mixed into pasta!


Being from the Chicago area, I can tell you it is great on subs, Italian beef and pizza! Tonight I made myself a grilled cheese with this giardiniera and pepperoni, and yes, it was so good, I might have to recreate it for you!

When eating a red hot, I often piled on this hot mix veggie relish, but it can easily be made to suit your own tastes!

This condiment often contains spicy sport peppers, cauliflower, green beans and olives. I used what I had, which meant lots of jalapenos, onions, celery, red and green peppers and carrots. What a gorgeous medley!

If you have lots of vegetables still awaiting use in your garden, I heartily recommend this. Perfect kept in the fridge and I imagine it would also make a fabulous gift for any food lover. 


Harvest time is here and it feels good knowing I’ll have plenty to rely on all winter long.

A Few More Delicacies I’ve Made Recently:

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos in Mason jar on turquoise napkin

Raspberry Rose Jam

(Raspberries were just 88 cents at Sprouts!)

Raspberry Rose Jam

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If you don’t want to make your own giardiniera, this is what was in the fridge growing up:

No, I can not tell you why it comes with dental flossers. Does anyone know?


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Giardiniera Recipe (Chicago Style)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 3 - 16 oz jars 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Cuisine: Italian


This spicy, tangy condiment is a workhorse in the kitchen. Easy to make, you need this vegetable relish on your food!



810 jalapenos chopped or sliced (I left the seeds in, but if you want this condiment less spicy, take them out!)

1/2 large cauliflower, cut into florets (I didn’t use this.)

2 carrots diced or sliced (I used 4 since I didn’t use cauliflower)

2 celery stalks diced (I used 4 since I didn’t use cauliflower)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 sweet banana peppers, diced (I didn’t use these, but I did add 2 more jalapenos)

1 large sweet onion, diced

1/2 c kosher salt

4 minced cloves of garlic

2 1/2 t dried oregano

1 t red pepper flakes or to taste

1/2 t celery seeds

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1/2 c white vinegar

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c canola oil


Combine vegetables and salt in a large container. Add enough water to cover. Stir, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. I forgot about mine and left them in the fridge for 48 hours and they were just fine!

Strain vegetables from brine, rinse and set aside.

In the same bowl that you brined the vegetables in, add garlic and remaining seasonings.

To that bowl, add the vinegars and stir until well whisked. Whisk the solution while adding the oils. (At this point you havea whole lot of very good Italian dressing!)

Add back the strained vegetables and mix with the dressing until well coated.

At this point the giardiniera can be transferred to clean jars. Refrigerate for 48 hours before serving so flavors have time to meld together.


Feel free to try your own combination of vegetables. Next time I’m going to add in some olives.

Seasonings can also be played with. I think I might add some Bay leaf or fennel, but this is superb just the way it is!


Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Friday 22nd of December 2023

Love this stuff. Love cooking and eating. What would the shelf or fridge life be, especially if the veggies are covered in oil?


Saturday 23rd of December 2023

I love it too and eat it on everything I can. It will keep for months in the fridge and I always top it off with fresh olive oil. Enjoy!

Rahul @samosastreet

Saturday 19th of September 2020

This recipe sounds absolutely amazing and I am excited to try it. I’m going to make this tomorrow. Prepping everything now. Nothing like a taste of home.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

You are so right Rahul! We are eating this on everything!

Healthy World Cuisine

Saturday 19th of September 2020

Can't wait to make this Chicago version. We are huge pickle lovers and often make what we call a party plate for lunch which is essentially and antipasta platter. Looks so delicious, fresh and crispy.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

I love this recipe and though I still have two jars in the fridge, the first one disappeared in a week!

John / Kitchen Riffs

Friday 18th of September 2020

OK, maybe the world doesn't live on salsa and chips, but I'm willing to give it a shot. :-) Anyway, giardiniera is really good stuff. I've never made it -- always bought it. This looks like a terrific recipe, and one I should make. After I finish my salsa. :-) Really good post -- thanks.


Friday 18th of September 2020

Thanks John! I'll leave you and Manservant to the salsa and chips! Just leave me the giardinera!

Chef Mimi

Friday 18th of September 2020

I actually printed John’s recipe a few years back. And happened to think about him recently. I wonder why he’s not blogging? This is a nice recipe - I always wondered what to do with this relish, how to serve it, but now you’ve helped me with that! I just always thought it was pretty!


Friday 18th of September 2020

Honestly, there isn't much I can't think to do with it. I also mixed it into pasta with some fresh basil pesto and roasted eggplant and wow! That was good, too! I see John on IG sometimes but maybe he just got tired of blogging!