Turmeric Pickled Cauliflower on a table in a Studio
(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
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Turmeric Pickled Cauliflower

If you don’t like cauliflower, you might find this recipe a delicious exception. Pickling it tames some of its sulfurous qualities that can be off-putting and turns it into a condiment that’s good on sandwiches, on a charcuterie board or simply for snacking. The spices in the brine evoke Indian cuisine, but you can substitute your favorites. Personalize it with some combination of cinnamon, citrus peel, whole black peppercorns, dried chiles, ginger and/or fennel seed.

The pickles can be refrigerated for about 2 months.

Cardamom pods are available at spice stores, Indian grocery stores and well-stocked supermarkets.

The cauliflower needs to be pickled at least 4 days before you plan to serve it.

From staff writer Jim Webster.


measuring cup
Servings: 8-10 (makes 2 pints)
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups water, or more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 2 Fresno chile peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into long strips or rings (may substitute jalapeño, preferably red)


Time Icon Active: 10 mins| Total: 10 mins, plus 4 days to pickle
  1. Step 1

    Break the cauliflower apart, and cut away and discard any stems. Cut the larger florets into small ones, about 3/4 inch; you should end up with about 4 loosely packed cups (about 12 ounces).

  2. Step 2

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water with sugar and salt, stirring just until both dissolve. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and turmeric.

  3. Step 3

    Divide the cardamom and coriander equally between the jars. Fill each jar about halfway with the florets, then divide the chiles between the jars and fill with the remaining florets.

  4. Step 4

    Stir the turmeric brine and pour it into the jars, filling them to submerge the florets. You should have enough brine, but if you don’t, you can top the jars off with more water to cover. Let the brine cool to room temperature, screw on the lids, and refrigerate the jars for at least 4 days before serving.

From staff writer Jim Webster.

Tested by Jim Webster