Pickled cauliflower is great to have on hand. You can make it with any color cauliflower you like, although I can’t resist purple cauliflower because the compounds in it react with the hot vinegar solution to turn the florets a beautiful neon. The perfect punctuation to any plate. Keep a jar on hand and serve these alongside tacos and spring rolls, inside bentos and as an accent in salads.
Here (below) you can see the pickled cauliflower as part of a bento lunch situation. The cauliflower is nestled between a chile-coated hard-boiled egg, spicy sesame coleslaw, purple rice, a curry leaf and pepita tadka, and a bunch of kale chips. It delivers a good amount of tang and crunch in the midst of less structured components.
Pickled Cauliflower: The Process
It’s possible to have a jar full of pickled cauliflower done in ten minutes. The steps are straight-forward and quick. The first thing to do is toss your florets with any other ingredients and seasonings you might be using. I like to use onions, mustard seeds, and dried chiles – reflected in the recipe below. You can do the same or play around. Sometimes I’ll add carrot coins, other times I’ll substitute shallots for the onions, etc.
Pack the Jar
The next step is transferring the mixture to a quart-sized Mason jar. Fill nearly all the way to the top as you can see pictured below.
Make A Hot Vinegar Solution
The last stage in the process is heating a mixture of vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan. It simmers until the grains of sugar and salt have dissolved. The hot vinegar is poured over the cauliflower until it is completely covered. This is when you’ll see the color shift if using purple cauliflower.
A Great Make-ahead Component
I love making pickled cauliflower this way because you can enjoy a crunchy hot bite just a few minutes after the hot vinegar hits. And then things get even better in the days following. I tend to try to use any quick pickles within about a week, but they usually are enjoyed before then.
If you’re interested in more of the feel-good lunch ideas pictured, here’s where you can find the spicy sesame coleslaw, and the tofu salad is actually just my favorite wonton filling from this wonton soup recipe. Enjoy!
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