A Salty Snack that Won’t Set You Back

Dietitians often focus on eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables for good variety of nutrients—and this is a great way to have beautiful and nutritious meals. This may lead you to think that cauliflower—which is white and, therefore, not a rainbow food—doesn’t have much to offer in terms of nutrition. If that's your thinking, you’re mistaken: cauliflower is loaded with fiber and vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin K and folate. The nutrients contained in cauliflower include antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Cauliflower and its cruciferous vegetable relative (like broccoli, cabbage) should be a regular part of our diets.
Cauliflower can be cooked many ways, from oven-roasting to endless curry variations. But my new favorite method is to pickle it. We often limit our notion of pickles to cucumbers, but pickling has been a popular food preservation technique around the world for many kinds of fruits and vegetables. If you’re new to preserving food, fear not! Here is a recipe for lemon-pickled cauliflower florets—adapted from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan—that doesn’t require sealing in jars. This is called a “refrigerator pickle” and is a snap to make. If you try it and love the bright lemon burst of flavor, give canning a try and put up a few quarts to enjoy later.
These pickles are delicious straight from the jar, give intriguing punch to tossed salad, and pair well with an appetizer platter of cheeses, sliced apples and chewy bread. And their secondary nutritional benefit is that they satisfy your salty-crunchy craving without needing to hit bottom on a bag of calorie-laden chips.
If you enjoyed this recipe, I recommend checking out Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. It has delicious recipes for preserving your own harvest in small batches.

Lemony Pickled Cauliflower

Recipe by Marisa McClellan of FoodinJars.com

2 pounds cauliflower
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 small lemon, sliced
1 large garlic clove, sliced
¼ teaspoon peppercorns
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Wash cauliflower and break it into florets.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, water and sea salt. Bring to a boil.
  3. Place two slices of lemon in the bottom of a quart jar and top with garlic clove slices, crushed red pepper flakes and peppercorns. Set aside.
  4. When brine is boiling, add cauliflower to the pot. Stir until the brine returns to a boil and remove from heat.
  5. Using tongs, pack cauliflower into the prepared jar and top with brine. Place two to three slices of lemon on top of the cauliflower and put a lid on the jar.
  6. Let pickles sit out on counter until cool. Once they’ve reached room temperature, refrigerate jar. Pickles are ready to eat within 12 hours, though they will continue to deepen in flavor the longer the rest.

Recipe used with permission. Find more recipes at FoodinJars.com and in the book Food in Jars.

Holly Larson on Twitter
Holly Larson
Holly Larson, RD, is a registered dietitian in Oxford, Ohio. Read her blog and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.