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Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera

I've been living in Chicago for the last 12 years and have grown to love the spicy giardiniera served at restaurants. So I developed my own to use at home. We love it on everything from eggs to sandwiches and even pizza! —Andrea Quiroz, Chicago, Illinois
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    8 cups


  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets (about 5 cups)
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 4 serrano peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 jar (10 ounces) small pimiento-stuffed olives, drained


  • In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, celery, carrot and peppers with salt. Add cold water to cover. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  • Drain vegetables; rinse with cold water and drain again. In a large nonreactive bowl, whisk vinegar, garlic, oregano and pepper flakes. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Add olives and drained vegetables; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, overnight to allow flavors to blend.
  • Transfer mixture to jars. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks.
Editor's Note
Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.
Nutrition Facts
1/4 cup: 80 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 174mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

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  • Ann
    Jul 23, 2019

    Great Chicago recipe. I am all about the hot peppers, so I adjusted mine to mostly jalapenos with a few serranos. Thank you for helping me make my own. My favorite giardinieras are from Duke's in Burbank/Bridgeview and the old Chickie's on 31st and Pulaski.

  • voodoowitch
    Jul 28, 2015

    Very addictive. I'll have to try olive oil next time.

  • kbiordi
    Jun 29, 2015

    So, if you are a native from Chicago (as I am a born and raised Chicagoan), this is pretty authentic. And contrary to the previous post, you ABSOLUTELY have cauliflower in authentic Chicago style giardiniera!!! Only thing I would change is using olive oil rather than canola. I also add red bell peppers, green bell peppers chopped into thin strips. It is AMAZING on sausage, italian beef, even on turkey sandwhiches - awesome. Adds just the right amount of crunch, savory and spice.

  • Eckfan4343
    Feb 22, 2014

    I've lived in Chicago for only five years, but this is really good. You are going to want to chop your veggies more than is shown in this picture though. Most giardiniera I've eaten has been much more finely chopped and usually doesn't have cauliflower, but I would keep it because it's really good for you! You could certainly add other veggies that you like. Use it as a topping for hot dogs, sausages, Italian roast beef or muffaletta.