Summer is the perfect time for trying new things with vegetables. Pickled veggies add crunch and brightness to everything they’re paired with, and they’re quick and easy to make. I also love that you can make them ahead and then just pull them out whenever you want to add a little zip to your meal.
My favorite ways for making pickled veg come out of Cooking Light magazine. This one uses cucumbers and bell peppers to top off a cheesesteak burger (which was pretty good, by the way). We had so many pickled veggies leftover, though, I started sticking them on top of all kinds of things: grilled fish, salad, hot dogs, my pastrami sandwich…you name it, they make friends with most dishes. Our favorite taco place even puts pickled veg on several of their tacos. Yum! Get creative with them!
I adapted the recipe a little, swapping out the green pepper for an orange one and adding more dill than originally called for, but you can adjust it to suit your tastes. I love dill in a big way, so there can never be too much for me.
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c water
2 tsp sugar
3/4 c thinly sliced red bell pepper
3/4 c thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
3/4 c thinly sliced orange bell pepper
1/2 c thinly sliced English cucumber (I like English, but you could use regular cucumber)
1/2 c thinly sliced onion (I like Texas sweet onions or Vidalia, but you can use whatever you have)
3 – 4 tbsp fresh chopped dill (or more, to your taste — I used most of the package! I REALLY like dill)
Place your veggies into a large dish. I try to let them lay pretty flat, so they are all immersed in the vinegar mixture. I like to use a big casserole dish, but you can use a bowl if you need to. Bring the vinegar, water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the veggies. Stir to combine it all and let the veggies soak in the deliciousness for at least 30 minutes. I have wandered off and left it soaking even longer, and nothing bad happened. Drain the veggies and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. (You could probably store them even longer, your call on that.)
Put those puppies on everything. Go for it!
Turkey sandwich on wheat with arugula, colby jack cheese and pickled veg? Yes, please.
Hot dog? Of course! (I promise, there really is a hot dog under all that veg. And fresh tomatoes, too.) And yes, those are tater tots on my plate, next to the Pickled Veg Dog. I live with a five-year-old, you know.
My other go-to method is for pickled red onions, adapted from Cooking Light’s recipe for their Pacific Northwest Burger. That recipe puts pickled radishes on top of soy-chile glazed, grilled salmon filets with some greens and ginger mayo, and it is my absolute favorite way to make salmon. (Go make that ASAP if you like salmon, oh my goodness.) This is no dry cat burger salmon patty. No no no. So good. So, so, so good.
I made it with the radishes a few times, and they’re good, but I swapped them out for red onions one day and I’ve never gone back. The pickled red onions are gorgeous on sandwiches, hot dogs, and any kind of fish you want to make. Keeping it simple for summer, you know?
Pickled Red Onions (adapted from Cooking Light, July 2013)
1/2 c water
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 c sliced red onion
Slice the onion thick or thin, depending on your preference. I do some of both. Put the onions into a bowl and set aside. Bring all other ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour over the onions, let sit 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain liquid, store onions in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
We had salmon last night and I threw some on top for a little extra flavor and crunch.
Don’t they turn a gorgeous color?
They are such an easy way to add something special to a simple weeknight meal. Give them a go. We all need a few more veggies in our diets, don’t we?
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