Spicy Pickled Green Beans


Courtesy of chef Harlan Gibson, Clifford's Original Wine Bar

In this recipe for a refrigerator pickle, I use rice wine vinegar because its low acidity does not fade the color of the vegetables as quickly as the more typical white vinegar. The spices can vary - more or less of them to your taste. The only essential thing to a "pickle" is the brine - water, vinegar and salt. You can pickle your veggies for up to 4 weeks in the fridge for a stronger flavor before eating or you can set them out the next day for a fresh crunch with a glass of Spicewood Vineyards' Sauvignon Blanc. Just one reminder: the longer green vegetables "cook" in the acidic environment of the brine, the darker they get. That bright green color of store-bought dills is not natural, but the more muted green of the Texas sagebrush you'll get with age is worth the flavor.

Remember those bright yellow pickles you see at state fairs? That cook has added turmeric for color and maybe some Coleman's dry mustard for spice. I blanch all my green veggies before I pickle them, because when using cold brine the pickling needs a jump start. If I am pickling baby carrots, I just peel and trim; the hot brine right off the stove will blanch them and start the pickling process right away. Soft veggies like sliced cucumbers or yellow squash can be pickled raw. Try red onions with a red wine Vinegar and some Merlot in the brine, and add a whole dried clove or two to each jar for some extra interest. You can even pickle cauliflower in balsamic vinegar for another wonderful flavor, and the color is surprising.

Super easy

Spicy Pickled Green Beans


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 1 recipe basic brine
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Dried chile, one for each container
  • 1 Bruised garlic clove, one for each container
  • 1 Fresh bay leaf, a small one or a piece for each container
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds (black or brown if you can get them)
  • 1 tablespoons pepper corn
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • Green Beans

Spicy Pickled Green Beans Directions

  1. For a basic brine, use 3 quarts water, 1 quart vinegar and 1 cup Kosher salt. Bring this to a boil for a few minutes to dissolve the salt (and sugar if you want sweet pickles). If you are going to pickle green veggies, cool the brine to room temperature. For the less fragile veggies like carrots or cauliflower you can pour the pickle brine over them hot.If you want a strong spice or herb flavor, the stems of the herbs, garlic, dried peppers or any and all of the spices you are using in the brine can be added while it boils.
  2. Combine ingredients and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. While brine steeps, trim, clean and cut green beans into bite sized pieces. Blanch beans in salted water for 2 minutes and then shock them in ice water to preserve color.
  4. Fill containers ¾ to the top, remove garlic, chili and bay leaf from brine and add 1 to each jar. Pour brine over beans and evenly distribute spices that have settled to the bottom (brine should cover beans). Cover tightly and “pickle” in refrigerator for as long as you can before eating.

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