This quick pickled vegetables recipe makes homemade vegetable pickles for Mexican escabeche. These crunchy pickles are in the style of the tangy Mexican pickles typically served at restaurants and taquerias in Mexico. They’re not only delicious, they’re versatile, so you can adjust the pickle brine to your taste, softening the tang or giving them more bite.
Our quick pickled vegetables recipe makes homemade Mexican escabeche or vegetable pickles. Also known as refrigerator pickles, these are the easiest vegetable pickles to make as there’s no cooking involved at all and they take no more than fifteen minutes to pull together.
If you’ve spent any time in Mexico, you will definitely remember tangy vegetable pickles. They’re usually served in a small dish that waiters set down on the table when they leave your menus or take your order.
If you’re at a fonda or restaurant, they might come with salsa and tortilla chips or bread, at a fancy restaurant there might be a whole tray of different pickles, salsas and perhaps some guacamole, while at a more simple taqueria, you’ll get a dish of pickles when you order your cervezas.
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Quick Pickled Vegetables Recipe for Homemade Mexican Escabeche
You’re going to love this quick pickled vegetables recipe for Mexican escabeche if you liked our homemade pickled jalapeños recipe, our Mexican quick pickled onions recipe for cebollas curtidas or cebollas en escabeche, or our quick pickled red cabbage recipe for col roja en escabeche, col lombarda en escabeche or col morada en escabeche.
You can use these quick pickled vegetables in the same way you would your jalapeño pickles, pickled onions and pickled cabbage. You can serve them with any number of Mexican breakfast dishes, on tacos, tortillas, nachos, chilli con carne, or vegetarian chilli, or as fillings for quesadillas and burritos. You can also pop them on sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs.
Note that these are crunchy veggie pickles in the style of the zingy Mexican pickles typically served at restaurants and taquerias in Mexico. They are not the softer pickles that are made with a hot brine or from the vegetables being fried before canning.
We’re not big fans of those, I have to say. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a Russian-Australian family that pickled or Terence and I spent so many years in the Middle East where pickles come with everything from shawarmas and falafel to mixed grills, and here in Cambodia where everyone makes pickles so as not to waste the harvest, but we like our pickles to have crunch and bite.
Just a few tips to making this quick pickled vegetables recipe for Mexican escabeche.
Tips to Making this Quick Pickled Vegetables Recipe for Mexican Escabeche
I only have a few tips to making this quick pickled vegetables recipe for Mexican escabeche but they’re important. While these are quick pickles or what are also called refrigerator pickles, and you’re not going to be canning them, it’s still important to make sure that your jar or jars are sterilised, and that you wash the vegetables well.
They are called refrigerator pickles for a reason and need to be kept in the fridge. You can’t pop these on your pantry shelves or on the kitchen bench, as pretty as they may look, as they have not gone through a bathing and canning process.
While ‘quick pickles’ refers to the fact that these pickles are quick and easy to prepare, in my view it also means that they don’t last long. Some pickling experts recommend that they be used within a few days, others advise using them within a couple of weeks while yet others argue they can last up to a couple of months. Use your best judgement.
When it comes to jars, we like to use these vintage mason jars and clip-top Kilner jars, but we also repurpose jars for recycling to use for pickling, ensuring that we sterilise them before we pickle. While I like small jars, which make lovely gifts, the larger jars are needed for the bigger veggie pieces we use in the Mexican escabeche.
As for vinegar, use either a cider vinegar or a distilled white vinegar. You can even try a combination of the two. When it comes to salt, use sea salt or Kosher salt. Avoid fine grained table salt or iodised salt as this usually contains potassium iodide, dextrose and chemicals such as calcium silicate and sodium silicoaluminate, which will result in a cloudy brine and a ‘muddy’ look, while the potassium iodide can cause the pickles to darken in colour.
Quick Pickled Vegetables Recipe for Mexican Escabeche
- 4 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 100 ml boiling water
- 4 garlic cloves - peeled
- 3 medium-sized carrots - sliced
- 8 radishes - sliced
- 8 jalapeno or Serrano chillies - sliced
- 2 long green chillies - whole
- 4 red birds eye chillies or other spicy red chillies - whole
- 4 purple shallots - sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp whole allspice
- 4 limes - juice only
- 400 ml distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
- Dissolve the caster sugar and salt in 100 ml boiling water then pour into the sterilised jar to allow to cool while you clean and slice the vegetables.
- Into the jar, drop the garlic cloves, half the peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves, then half the carrots, the sliced jalapeno or Serrano chilli slices, half the radishes, and half the sliced shallots.
- Poke the long green chillies and red birds eye chillies down either side of the jar, then add the other half of the carrots, radishes and shallots.
- If your jar isn’t full to the brim with vegetables, add more of whatever you have left, making sure everything is mixed up so that when you use the pickles you can take what you need from the top and don’t have to dig around in the jar too much.
- Slide the remaining bay leaves into the jar, then sprinkle in the last of the peppercorns, then the juice of four limes, and lastly the distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar, ensuring all the vegetables are covered with liquid.
- Screw on the lid and shake the jar a few times to combine the liquid, then refrigerate the jar. The longer you leave the pickles the better they’ll taste, although they’ll be ready to eat once the jalapenos change from a bright green to a khaki colour.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you made our quick pickled vegetables recipe for Mexican escabeche as we’d love to know how it turned out for you.