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Spicy Turmeric Pickled Cauliflower

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

I don't know about you, but I don't think I've met a pickle I didn't love. Kosher Dill, Bread & Butter, Spicy, or Cornichon; I'm here for them all. But the truth is that the world of pickles is SO MUCH BIGGER than cucumbers and even peppers. Indeed, there are few things (especially vegetables) that you can't pickle, but I'm going to focus today on one of my new favorites - cauliflower.

Now, cauliflower for me is one of those rare vegetables that I just kind of don't like when it is served raw. I'll eat it because it's good for me, but I'm never like, "Oooh! Raw cauliflower!! Lemme at it!!" And while I LOVE a good roasted cauliflower (see my recipes for Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Fennel and Citrus Salad or Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower) and think it's incredible in pasta (such as my Blow-Your-Mind Cauliflower Pasta), my new obsession might just be this Spicy Turmeric Pickled Cauliflower, which gives you the satisfying crunch of raw cauliflower but actually tastes good.

I am using my Spicy Turmeric Blend here because I love not only the vibrant color it lends but also because the turmeric/garlic/onion/cumin combo just creates a wonderfully complex flavor to this pickle. Finally, although my Spicy Turmeric Blend does contain some California Chile, if you want extra heat, consider adding some whole dried arbol chiles or some of my Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend. Either option will not only up the spice level but also make your jar even prettier.

Finally, please note that this recipe will NOT create a shelf-stable jar of pickles and will need to be refrigerated. It will, however, be good and continue to develop even deeper flavor for up to a month in the refrigerator (if you don't consume the whole jar in a single sitting like I tend to do).

Let's get to pickling, shall we?

Spicy Turmeric Pickled Cauliflower

Makes 1 packed quart-sized jar or 2 pint-sized jars


  • 1 large head of white or yellow cauliflower (about 2 pounds)

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar

  • 1 cup filtered water

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoon Spicy Turmeric Blend

  • Optional: 2 dried arbol chiles or 1/2 teaspoon Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend for extra kick


Trim the leaves and base from the cauliflower. Cut/break it into bite-sized pieces (about 1.5 to 2 inches), including the more tender sections of the stem but discarding the really tough part of the stem at the base of the head.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the prepared cauliflower and blanch for about 30 seconds before transferring to an ice bath and setting aside.

Discard the cauliflower cooking water. Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, and sugar in the now-empty pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring mixture to a boil.

While you wait for the vinegar mixture to boil, place the Spicy Turmeric Blend and dried chiles (or Six Alarm Crushed Chile Blend) in a quart-sized, sanitized canning jar. (Note: If using two smaller jars, just split the ingredients between the two jars.)

Drain the cauliflower and pack it tightly into your jar(s). Carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture into the jar(s) to cover the cauliflower. Screw on the lid(s) and shake the jar(s) to distribute the spice blend. Remove the lid(s) and allow to cool, uncovered, to room temperature before screwing the lid(s) back on and transferring to the refrigerator.

Allow to refrigerate at least 24 hours before enjoying. Not sure where to use your pickled cauliflower (other than as a snack straight out of the jar)? Try it:

  • As a garnish in your weekend Bloody Mary

  • As a topping for tacos or nachos

  • As a tangy addition to a winter salad or grain bowl

  • As a colorful addition to a charcuterie or tinned fish platter (like the one below)

charcuterie board

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Ooooh I know what I’m making this weekend!

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