How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables

I love vinegar and vinegary foods.

Pickling carrots and parsnips is how I’ve been getting my vinegar groove on lately.

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables - Salt-free, Vegan, GF Recipe at averiecooks.com

If you’ve never pickled anything, this method is so fast and easy, and you have nothing to fear.

It’s a 10-minute project, and a perfect way to bottle up summmertime. Or any time you have extra vegetables.

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables - Salt-free, Vegan, GF Recipe at averiecooks.com

To make the brine, I simply combined equal parts white vinegar and sugar in a saucepan, brought them just to a boil, and poured the syrup over raw carrot and raw parsnip spears that were waiting in jars.

To each jar, I added a few tablespoons of dry yellow mustard grains and some Salt-Free Citrus Pepper Blend, a blend of lime, orange, and lemon rinds paired with black peppercorns.

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables - Salt-free, Vegan, GF Recipe at averiecooks.com

Most people add salt to pickle vegetables, but I avoid cooking with or adding salt to our food as much as possible for health reasons. With the right blend of other seasonings, there’s plenty of flavor and a bit of a kick from the mustard grains and peppercorns. No salt needed.

Plus, parsnips naturally have a peppery kick, and the spice blend enhanced it.

Think outside the box and try Jerk seasoning, chipotle seasoning, mesquite grill seasoning, or Indian spices like curry or garam masala. Pickling doesn’t just have to mean Kosher dills.

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables - Salt-free, Vegan, GF Recipe at averiecooks.com

The vegetables become tenderized and softened after a few hours, but the full effect and flavor of the pickling sets in a day or two later as the flavors marry.

I used carrots and parsnips because they’re quite firm to begin with and I wanted the finished veggies to be firmer and not mushy. They retain plenty of texture, crispiness, and crunch. Cauliflower, rutabaga, beets, and turnips are next.

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables - Salt-free, Vegan, GF Recipe at averiecooks.com

The vinegar brine is tangy and sweetish, with a gentle kick from the mustard and peppercorn. Sweet with heat, of sorts.

And vinegar has plenty of health benefits. I’ll consider myself super healthy then with all that I’ve been consuming lately.

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables - Salt-free, Vegan, GF Recipe at averiecooks.com

Print Print Recipe

How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables (vegan, gluten-free, salt-free)

Even if you've never pickled vegetables, this quick and easy method will leave you feeling like an old pro. It takes just a few minutes to prep the vegetables and place them in jars before dousing them with an easy vinegar-sugar syrup. The veggies are softened yet retain crunchy texture and some crispness. You won't miss one bit of flavor in this salt-free recipe that's a bit sweet, very tangy, with a slight kick from the yellow mustard grains and black peppercorns. They'll keep for many weeks in the fridge.

Yield: two 16-ounce jars

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: at least 2 hours+, for softening

Ingredients:

1 or 2 extra large raw carrots, peeled and sliced into 4-inch by 1/2-inch spears
1 or 2 large raw parsnips, peeled and sliced into 4-inch by 1/2-inch spears (I did not 'core' the parsnip, I used the whole thing)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white distilled vinegar
4 tablespoons Salt-Free Citrus Pepper Blend (or a favorite all-purpose or grill seasoning blend), divided - or see optional suggestions below
2 tablespoons dry yellow mustard grains, divided
salt, optional and to taste

Directions:

  1. Place trimmed and sliced carrot spears in one glass jar and parsnips in another glass jar (or mingle them, if preferred); set jars aside. My jars were very well-packed and very stuffed; I couldn't fit in any more spears.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar and heat over medium heat to dissolve sugar, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to come to a boil and then shut the heat off.
  3. Pour the mixture over the vegetables, divided equally, or until the liquid comes up to nearly to the top of the jar. I find it's easiest to pour the vinegar-sugar mixture into a heat-safe, large, glass measuring cup rather than trying to pour from a saucepan directly over the vegetables since more seems to spill onto the counter than get into the jars.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons citrus pepper blend and 1 tablespoon mustard to each jar. If adding salt, add it to each jar, to taste.
  5. Seal jars and shake gently to disperse spices.
  6. Allow jars to cool on counter before transferring to the refrigerator. Do not put hot glass jars into a cold refrigerator, they could crack. Vegetables will be 'ready' after about 2 hours, but the full effect of the pickling will set in about 48 hours later. Vegetables will keep refrigerated in jars for many weeks; let common sense and your tastebuds be your guide.

Optional tips and suggestions - Try using other vegetables such as cauliflower, beets, turnips, rutabagas, cucumber, or firmer vegetables. Think outside the box and add spices and seasoning blends like Jerk seasoning, chipotle seasoning, mesquite grill seasoning, or Indian spices, garlic or onions; add fresh herbs like dill or thyme to the jars. If desired, add salt to the brine, to taste.

Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

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Homemade Komboucha

Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly (Vegan, GF) – no canning required

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Lemon Rosemary Coconut Oil Roasted Vegetables averiecooks.com

Thanks for the 25 Recipes Using Greek Yogurt and Chobani Giveaway entries

Have you ever pickled anything? Favorite recipes or items you like to pickle? Vinegar fan?

   

71 Responses to “How to Make Easy Pickled Vegetables”

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    foodienewz — July 5, 2013 at 12:08 am

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    Reply

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    Jamie @ lifelovelemons — July 5, 2013 at 3:14 am

    oh it would be so great to be able to do this myself! thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply

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    Paula — July 5, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I tried refrigerator pickles, but it has been so long I can’t remember if they were sweet or dill! Knowing me, they were probably sweet pickles. I love this recipe and will have to give it a try this weekend. Beets also sound wonderful –I think I’d like those in a sweet balsamic pickle bath!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Beets with a sweet balsamic bath sounds heavenly! Better you than me with the red hands and fingers (I think wearing gloves would be a must for that one…haha!) but gosh, that sounds so good! LMK if you pickle anything this weekend!

      Reply

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    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat — July 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

    I never knew pickling veggies was so easy! I love this recipe and look forward to giving it a try!

    Reply

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    marla — July 5, 2013 at 5:06 am

    I love vinegary foods too! Great recipe….hope u had an amazing 4th :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 8:40 am

      And I hope you and your fam enjoyed the day, too. Can’t believe it’s NOT the weekend though today. So weird!

      Reply

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — July 5, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Jason has tried pickling cucumbers a few times. Not always a huge success but it gives him something to do LOL

    Reply

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    Marie @ Little Kitchie — July 5, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Great post!! I love pickled veggies as an addition to sandwiches or salads. Pickled red onions are an obsession of mine! Pinning this post to try when I get home from vacation! :) Have a great weekend, Averie!

    Reply

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    Tracy | PeanutButter and Onion — July 5, 2013 at 5:22 am

    This is great, I will definatly use this for cucumbers!

    Reply

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    Tieghan — July 5, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I also love vinegary foods. Actually the pickle was my very first food! LOL
    These sound and look awesome!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Oh that cracks me up about your 1st food :)

      Reply

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    Christy@SweetandSavoring — July 5, 2013 at 6:45 am

    I’m so excited, I love pickled veggies but I’ve never made them! Thanks for this recipe, Averie! Have a good weekend :)

    Reply

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    Katie — July 5, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I just posted yesterday about the quick pickles I made a couple days ago! I’m not even surprised any more.

    I also just put some pickled broccoli stems in the fridge yesterday. I don’t even bother with heating the brine anymore – I just mix the vinegar with equal part water, add some spices and some stevia directly in the jar, shake the jar up, then throw in the veggies. That’s it. For cukes, you only have to wait about 2 hours, but the thicker roots and heartier veggies are better after a couple days.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t eat pickled or fermented veggies in some way. I made a gigantic batch of kimchi last week that I just put in jars and refrigerated yesterday too. I’m set for a while now. Or a week anyway. Maybe. ;)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 8:45 am

      We are ALWAYS on the same wavelength :) And great info about what you do! Need to try stevia next time!

      Reply

      • Katie replied: — August 3rd, 2013 at 3:50 pm

        Just looked over your recipe again – no water at all?! Wow.

        I used this method above again today with some small pickling cukes from the farmers market – about 2-3 inches each. I’m pickling them whole, so I’m guessing they will take a bit longer to really soak in the flavors.

        I also threw in a few cloves of garlic in each of the jars. Can’t wait to eat these!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 3rd, 2013 at 3:56 pm

          No water at all! Just the vinegar, sugar, and natural water the veggies will leech anyway. I bet your veggies will turn out great!

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    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes — July 5, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I´m a vinegar person, no doubt! Love pickles and mustard and chutneys. And I like that the salt here is optional. Really good recipe Averie.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Too often salt is all I taste in recipes like this – so kept it out!

      Reply

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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — July 5, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I’ve always wanted to pickle stuff! It’s been on my bucket list for years! And I’m really loving the mustard grains in this.

    Reply

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    Erica — July 5, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Loveeee pickles-never pickled! This sounds super easy. Hope youre well

    Reply

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    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — July 5, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I am a pickling maniac this week with garden harvest, so was super glad to see this on your blog today!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Sounds like you’re an old pro at pickling!

      Reply

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    Katy @ Katy's Kitchen — July 5, 2013 at 8:57 am

    It’s nice to see a post on pickling vegetables since it seems to be becoming a bit of a lost art. I think I would have to do a big batch of them because I would probably finish a jar in a day or two! These would be great for little party appetizers, too.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 8:59 am

      It’s getting kind of trendy again though. Many of the food magazines, Bon App, Saveur, etc. frequently do stories on them. Like in this month’s issue in B.A. there’s a recipe for some!

      Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 5, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I love vinegary things too, great idea to preserve veggies – love the mustard grains!

    Reply

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    Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — July 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

    i love pickled veggies. these sound wonderfully refreshing!

    Reply

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    the 3volution of j3nn — July 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I love crunchy vinegar-packed veggies! I have been eating carrot salad with vinegar every day for a long, long time. I’d have to make several jars of this at once because I can easily eat an entire jar in one go. :D

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      LOL :) And perfect for those of us who don’t want to eat a ton of salt, either!

      Reply

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    Alex @ Intoxicology101 — July 5, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I don’t get to complex in the kitchen, I usually leave that to the Mrs, but this looks pretty simple. Awesome Photos BTW. Cheers!

    Reply

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    Jackie @ The Beeroness — July 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I love homemade pickled veggies! I make pickled jalapenos all the time, best nacho topping!
    Great how to post, I know so many people have never attempted this and will be surprised at how easy it is! Also, it’s a great way to use up vegetables that might go bad before we get around to eating them.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Exactly right on preserving things before they go bad!

      Also those last sugar cookies of yours, I left a comment but was curious, do they taste like Lofthouse cookies at all?

      Reply

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    Laura Dembowski — July 5, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I love vinegar and eat waaaaay more than my fair share. I feel so good when I eat it – like it’s detoxifying. It probably is. Love that you pickled vegetables without salt. I always avoid them because of the high salt content but now I don’t have to!

    Reply

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    Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile — July 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Carrots and parsnips are delish! And I’m all for a refreshing summer snack ;) So happy these aren’t overly salty. Salty usually means being bloated which I definitely do not need!

    Reply

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    Kaycee @ FitFace — July 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    mmm Pickled anything = delicious
    my husband and I have made some spicy pickled yellow and green beans, the yellow ones always come out “snappier” than the green for some reason.
    we’ve done a vegetable mix as well with cauliflower, onions, carrots and garlic. so. good. the garlic at the bottom is ALWAYS the best part. <3

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      I know exactly what you mean about snappy yellow beans. I love them that way! And your cauli, carrots, mmm, I need to do that soon here, too!

      Reply

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — July 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you for this Averie! Have you ever done cucumbers? I want to make sweet pickles, and this sounds like the best and easiest method I’ve seen so far!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      It would totally work for cucumbers and it’s so easy! Now mind you they will be mushier than the veggies I used but pickles ARE mushier than carrots anyway. I would just slice them thicker and/or use spears rather than paper thin little cucumber slices (who has time for all that slicing anyway…lol) LMK if it works for you and what you do!

      Reply

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    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — July 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I have to laugh! I was going to pickle carrots today, but got lazy! I have like 4 or 5 pounds of them, and I need to use them! It’s so funny you posted this today! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      you totally should! it’s so easy and you’ll thank yourself later! :)

      Reply

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    Eileen — July 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Such a healthy snack Averie. I need to focus more on veggies. This inspires me!

    Reply

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    Lizthechef — July 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Yum – my lips are puckering – hey, neighbor, come over to my herb garden and I will share 4 different kinds of thyme for “pickling”. Lovely, Averie.

    Reply

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    Ash- foodfashionparty — July 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I love pickles with any vegetable. They look so beautiful. I’ve pickled green chillies and garlic too in vinegar and they are so good. Your photography is beautiful as usual

    Reply

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    Ginny McMeans — July 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I also love pickled vegetables. Especially carrots and parsnips. You have brought back memories and I will be making these soon. Thanks so much.

    Reply

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    Love it! I don’t want to miss my favorite vegetables after the season :)

    Reply

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    Valerie — July 6, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I can easily go through a jar of dill pickles in an hour – I never even thought about making my own pickled veggies! *Love* the idea of using parsnips!!

    Reply

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    Karen — July 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I followed your link to the spice blends. I found the blend you used, but it came in a grinder. Do you open the grinder or did I miss the opportunity to buy it without the grinder attachment on the bottle?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 6th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      I opened the lid and just dumped them right in. Lid comes off very easily.

      Reply

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    J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats — July 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Yum i love pickled vegetables (and some fruits even!) and they pack so much flavor with relatively few calories. Pickled carrots especially, with Mexican places they can be so hit or miss.

    Reply

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    Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ — July 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Never thought it could be so easy! Now I look forward to preparing many many jars of pickles. Just need to buy more jars :)

    Reply

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    Jocelyn@BruCrew Life — July 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Your pictures are great!! I love how the veggies just pop! ;) I must find time to try pickling something!!! Thanks for the motivation!

    Reply

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    Nessa — July 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Looks delicious !

    Reply

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    Paula — July 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I got my vinegar groove on too–these were absolutely great! I’ve had store bought pickled veggies and wasn’t a fan, but these…..sooo much better! I used baby carrots and beets (I steamed the beets and peeled them) and golden balsamic vinegar so the carrots wouldn’t turn dark. The only drawback is that white/golden balsamic is pricier, but it was worth it (I got the cheapest bottle I could find and needed 2 of them). They do taste best on day 2..the hard part is waiting. Great recipe Averie (and easy too)!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 7th, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      Paula they sound incredible! Storebought pickled veggies is like storebought PB vs. homemade – the two can hardly be compared! So glad you tried these and I bet the steamed beets were incredible. I love beets (one of my fave veggies, period – but not everyone does and so don’ t bother with them on my blog) but the golden balsamic sounds worth every $$ drop! You could probably do golden beets and regular vinegar next time. I love golden beets, too! And yes, they taste even better after about 5-7 days, if you have any that will last :)

      Reply

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    Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} — July 8, 2013 at 9:47 am

    This looks great Averie! My garden is starting to produce some veggies and I am always looking for new ways to enjoy my harvest. Pickling is a great alternative to canning. I planted beets this year and am really like Paula’s suggestion of balsamic beets, sounds delicious.

    Reply

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    Catherine Fuller — July 11, 2013 at 6:10 am

    This is a great idea and for kids who love pickles why wouldn’t they love pickled carrots?? Everything on your page looks so yummy too!

    Reply

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    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — July 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I loooove making homemade pickles and these look really tasty! But you know what? I’ve never tried a pickled parsnip. Sounds delicious!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 17th, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I love that they stay nice and firm with plenty of texture and don’t get mushy – and that little bit of peppery-ness is good too!

      Reply

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    Spikeygrrl — August 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Does anyone have any good ideas for pickling without sugar or carb-heavy sugar substitutes?

    Reply

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    Fai — March 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    How about using this method to pickle eggs? I’ve been dying to try pickled eggs for a while, but I’ve been put off by long recipe lists that usually include the words “pickling spice” somewhere (what the heck is pickling spice and where do I get it???).

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 18th, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      I have never heard of pickling eggs and really have no advice for you! Good luck though!

      Reply

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    Claudia Diltz — April 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    The pickled veggies sound really good but I am really trying to watch the sugar so I was wondering if stevia or honey could be used instead or if the sugar is really necessary at all. Thanks

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — April 6th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      If you can drink straight vinegar, no sweetener, you have more hair on your chest than I do, and I love vinegar :) I would just use the sugar because you’re not drinking the brine and on a cellular level, your body really isn’t going to process honey any ‘better’ than sugar; sugar is sugar is sugar. I personally think stevia would be gross in this recipe and I like stevia, but not here.

      Reply

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    Shane Tyler Milson — May 11, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Great article Averie! I’m going to be making this all summer. Love the pictures used. Damn, I shared this with my social media family :)

    Reply

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    Dawna — September 13, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I was wondering if you, or anyone, have tried “pressure canning” these ? It’s just my husband and I and we don’t eat a lot. Last time I made refrigerator pickles we didn’t finish them and I had to toss out a few .. :( .. I plan on making a smaller batch but canning would be awesome. Thank you

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 14th, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      I haven’t tried canning them but almost anything can be canned. You just have to figure out how long to boil for, etc. and I haven’t tried so can’t give you the exact info, but I would just google a bit to find out what’s normal & recommended and go from there.

      Reply

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