A single bite of pickled vegetables is all it takes for even the staunchest veggie-hating meat-eater to appreciate the complementary kick they lend to savory dishes. Almost every vegetable can be pickled — from garlic and radishes to cucumbers and carrots — verifying their versatility. And the best part is that it’s easy to pickle your own, so you can have them on hand to serve with anything from Vietnamese sandwiches and Salvadoran pupusas to a simple bowl of white rice.
Check out this awesome recipe for Vietnamese-style carrots and daikon pickles. You’ll need to mix the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in bowl, and pour that mixture into a clear jar containing your julienned veggies. Ideally, you’d leave the jar in the fridge for five days or so, but one hour of marinating is all it takes for these pickled veggies to lend their tartness to a Vietnamese sandwich, called banh mi, which is pâté, cilantro, and pork on a fresh baguette. (Click here for a yummy banh mi recipe.)
Don’t want to wait five days? No problem! Four hours is all it takes to pickle some shredded cabbage and carrots and sliced red onion to accompany some Salvadoran pupusas. Pupusas are like Colombian arepas, except they are stuffed with fried pork belly (chicharron) for the meat lovers, or cheese and refried beans for the vegetarians. (Loroco and cheese is another vegetarian option and tastes amazing.)
Called curtido, the pickled veggies in question are prepared with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of warm water, all mixed in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste and the juice of half a lime. It’s best to store it all in a clear jar or in the bowl you used to prepare it overnight — for some added kick.
Use the same technique as the Salvadoran curtido to pickle some sliced red onions. You can add to a simple bowl of white rice.
Despite slight variations in technique, pickling is fairly straightforward. So quit letting your veggies turn into science experiments in your fridge, and get ready to pickle!
— Vivian Gomez, Hellawella
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