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Pickled Turnips

by Victor @ Taste of Artisan

Pickled turnips can be found at just about every shawarma place you visit, that’s how I discovered them. Frankly, I was somewhat partial to them until I tried them at a newly opened shawarma place nearby. That’s when I became a huge fan of these little purple morsels.

Pickled turnips inside a glass jar.

Somehow their taste was so clean and so balanced that I always wanted more than what they would put on a shawarma – usually one or two pieces. I’d ask for extra Kabees El Lift (Lebanese for pickled turnips I was told), and the owner would add just one more pickle. I felt the urge to tell him to add a dozen more as they were so little and so good, but I just couldn’t make myself say that.

It won’t come as a surprise, but am a sucker for pickled, marinated and fermented vegetables. Marinated Zucchini, Marinated Eggplant and Tomatoes… Delish! I decided to make those wonderful little pink morsels myself so I can eat as many of them as I desire and as often as I want. It turned out to be quite a challenge. No, there was no shortage of recipes out there, it’s just that none of them really gave me what I was looking for. Somehow the turnips would come out tasting similar, but not quite the same. They lacked that clean, balanced taste.

Turnips cut into pieces inside a jar filled with purple pickling juice.

To make a long story short, I went through a number of recipes, experimented with salt levels, adding different spices until I finally got it. This recipe is IT! It’s as plain as plain can be, and I guess that’s what it was missing.

I found that plain distilled vinegar works for pickled turnips much better than apple cider or other types of flavored vinegar. Kosher or good quality sea salt makes a huge difference to taste. Table salt is the worst. If you want to be sure, use kosher salt.

The amount of salt mattered too. The turnips that I liked were on the less salty side, and I loved that. A number of recipes that I followed required just a tad more salt than I liked, without realizing it at first. Once I fixed that the turnips tasted perfect.

Pickled Turnips

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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: pickled turnips, pickled vegetables
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 51kcal
Author: Victor


  • 3 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 lbs turnips peeled and cut into 3/8" sticks
  • 2 beets peeled, cut in half and sliced about 1/4" thick
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns whole


  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add the salt, bay leaves and peppercorns. Keep stirring until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Add the rest of the water, the vinegar and stir.
  • Place the turnips, the beets and the garlic in a 2 quart jar. Carefully pour the brine into the jar, including the bay leaves and the peppercorns. Close tightly and let ferment at a slightly cool room temperature for 5 days. After that, transfer to a fridge to cool down. Now your pickled turnips are ready to be served.


Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2714mg | Potassium: 304mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 25.2mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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