Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera is the amazing condiment that Chicagoans use to add an explosive pop of flavor to some of their famous dishes like Italian Beef Sandwiches and deep dish pizza. Loaded with chopped veggies, spicy peppers, olives, oil, and oregano, this flavorful addition will quickly earn a spot on your condiment shelf.
I love pickled/briny foods so naturally, my fridge is full of green olives, jars of pepperoncinis, pickled jalapenos, and of course dill pickles. I even make my own pickled green beans, Italian giardiniera, and garlic pickles, so Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera fits right in. It’s a little salty from the brine, a little spicy from the hot peppers, and a little tangy from the green olives. If you like those types of flavors, you must try this recipe!
While you are probably already aware of Italian giardiniera, the tangy assortment of pickled veggies that often accompanies salads or antipasto platters, it is totally different from Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera. While they both contain some of the same veggies, the Illinois version is oil-based, not vinegar-based. It also has serrano peppers, which is what gives it the “Hot” in Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera, and unlike the large vegetable pieces found in Italian Giardiniera, Chicago-Style is usually chopped into small pieces, making it easy to top all your favorite foods.
Probably one of the most widely known uses for Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera is on an Italian Beef Sandwich – a hoagie roll piled high with thin slices of roast beef that have been simmering in its own cooking juices, topped with Hot Giardiniera, then dunked into said juices before being served. Whether you’re a dunker or like your jus on the side, it really is this giardiniera that makes the sandwich special.
While you do need to prepare this a couple days before you plan on using it, the majority of “cooking time” is hands off. You start by chopping up all the veggies, then pouring a brine over everything and letting it sit overnight. The next day, rinse all the salt water off the veggies, add them to a large jar, combine some oregano and oil in a bowl, pour it over the veggies in the jar and let it sit in the fridge for a couple days (at least two). It will be hard staring at this beautiful jar of goodness in the fridge without eating it for a couple days, but the longer it sits, the better it tastes!
Ready to make your own homemade Italian Beef Sandwich? Prepare this Chicago-Style Hot Giardiniera a couple days in advance, then follow my recipe for Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches. Top them with your made-from-scratch giardiniera and get ready for an AMAZING sandwich!
- Jalapenos are not traditionally used, but I like the combination of jalapenos and serranos for a great combination of flavor and heat.
- You must use very fresh vegetables to ensure a quality product that stays good for as long as possible. Unfresh produce will result in a giardiniera that goes bad sooner than normal.
- The salt in the brine pulls out moisture from the veggies, which is what makes them stay crunchy for a long time.
- Try using this on your brat or hotdog instead of relish!
- 1 cup diced cauliflower
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 3 jalapenos, diced
- 4 serrano peppers, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup rough chopped green olives
- 3 tbsp. salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups canola oil
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- Add chopped veggies (except for olives) to a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, prepare a brine by combining the water and salt. Stir until salt has dissolved and pour the brine over the veggies. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, pour veggies into a colander and rinse off brine with water. Add rinsed veggies and olives to a large jar or several small jars (about 5 cups worth). In a medium bowl, combine canola oil and oregano, and pour over the veggies in the jars. Keep refrigerated. Let it marinate for at least 2 days before using.