Have you ever had escabeche before? There’s not much to it, usually carrots, cauliflower, jalapeños, and onions quick pickled and served at Mexican restaurants as a starter alongside chips and salsa. Crazy simple but also highly addictive. So addictive, I’ve been taking down a third of a jar on a daily basis since I perfected this recipe. You’re probably wondering what could be so addictive about some veggies soaked in vinegar, welp, I just know what I like. And right now I reeeaallly like eating these tangy, uber crunchy veggies for a mid-morning (and mid-afternoon) snack on a daily basis. They just hit the spot.
My theory is that it’s the combo of veggies – carrots, cauliflower, jalapeños, and radishes – which shake up the traditional escabeche mix. I had to omit the onions guys, I just had to. My favorite part about escabeche is how crunchy the veggies stay, literally for weeks, but not onions. Nope, there’s no helping those, so leave ’em out, I say! A lot of escabeche recipes also call for sauteing the veggies in a bit of oil before submerging them in the water and vinegar mixture. To this step, I also say, forget about it! It’s not necessary and will only lead to soggy veg.
The pickling liquid itself is pretty basic – a few bay leaves, whole peppercorns, salt, sugar, garlic cloves – allowing the flavor of the veggies to shine through. I can’t decide which veggie is my favorite, probably the carrots although cauliflower comes in a close second, mainly because I’m generally not a huge cauliflower fan but I could eat an entire head of the stuff in pickled form. The radishes are pretty awesome too. However, if you don’t want your pickling liquid to eventually turn a pinkish hue (and the cauliflower along with it) then leave out the radishes. The jalapeños provide necessary spice (this is a Mexican dish, after all), but be sure to deseed them. I know what you’re thinking, I can handle the heat! Trust me on this though, if you don’t take out the seeds, in about a day you’re going to end up with a jar full of jalapeño flavored carrots, cauliflower, and radishes.
Serve this escabeche on its own as a snack or alongside your favorite Mexican inspired dishes, like my Jackfruit Taquitos or Mexican Street Corn and be prepared to meet your daily veg quota in one sitting.
- 3, 16 ounce Mason jars (or any sealable glass jar)
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced
- 2 jalapenos, sliced & seeds removed
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 cup distilled vinegar
- 2 cups water
- Divide peppercorns and bay leaves between the three Mason jars. Peel garlic cloves but leave whole and divide between jars.* Layer carrots, cauliflower, radishes, and jalapenos in jars.
- In a pot, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil on the stovetop then simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables and allow to cool for one hour before sealing and refrigerating.
- Escabeche is ready to eat as soon as it's chilled but it's best to allow the flavors to develop for a full day.
- Escabeche will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
- * Sometimes the garlic cloves will turn blue in the vinegar solution. Not to worry, it's a completely normal enzymatic reaction and is not harmful.