This is the easiest and tastiest Pickled Beets Recipe out there! Crunchy beet, marinated with chilli and caraway and balsamic vinegar.
These balsamic pickled beets are sweet, tangy, spicy and has a subtle minty freshness too. Along with my beetroot curry and this buttery beetroot filling in my ribbon sandwiches, this is my favourite way of eating beets!
The best things in life are simple, they say. Or is it that the best things in life take time? Or maybe they are both? This recipe for one, is simple and takes time. It’s a pickle beets after all. So it takes time for all those beautiful flavours trapped inside the jar to develop.
This Caraway and Chilli Crunchy Balsamic Pickled Beets Recipe has quickly become a favourite in our household and there’s plenty more that you could do with this amazing recipe like this pickled beets and basil grilled cheese sandwich and this pickled beet jelly appetizer!
My first attempt at making pickles with radishes was good, but not good enough. Something was missing. And then I came across some beautiful beets in the produce section at my local grocery store recently. And Mr K and I both love eating beetroot. He likes it cooked (like this Sri Lankan beetroot curry), but I like it in any form (pickled beet jelly, anyone?).
Roasted, cooked, steamed, raw. Especially raw! I really like the natural earthy sweetness of beetroot and would take any opportunity to shred some beetroot into whatever I eat. So just like that I knew what I wanted to do. It had to be a crunchy beetroot pickle. While I love all the natural flavours of beetroot just fine, I had to try pickled beets.
So I bought some yellow and red beets, went home and got to work. For this pickled beets recipe, I cut the beet into thin strips as you can see below. I used a mandolin initially, but my mandolin didn’t cut it thin enough. Which wasn’t a problem though because I liked the beets julienned as well.
I used both yellow and red beets, but you need not bother with the yellow ones. The balsamic, red wine vinegar and the juice of the red beet will all be absorbed by the beets and everything will look red in the end. Still, I love that colour contrast you get at the beginning 🙂
I knew what flavours I wanted in my pickle and I just needed to find the best balance of those flavours. So I started off by getting to know my flavours first and finding out how I can improve on my radish pickle from earlier. I came across Momofuku’s beet pickle recipe but their sugar content was too high for my liking and I didn’t really want asian flavours in my pickle. So I started experimenting with my own variations and ratios of ingredients.
I made reduced balsamic vinegar for this recipe. This adds incredible flavour! By reducing the vinegar, you are “caramelizing” it which creates another flavour profile. It adds to the natural sweetness of beetroot as well.
Instead of using mustard, garlic and onion to add flavour and spice the pickle, I used caraway. It has a minty freshness with a spicy bite. Then for added spice and heat, I used dried chilli. My husband loved eating the pickled chilli so that turned out to be a great idea too!
The hard part comes only after you have made the pickle. You have to leave it in the refrigerator for a few days at least (preferably a week, even more if you have more will power than I do to resist temptation) before you open the bottle.
Like any other pickle, the beetroot needs time to get chummy with all the other flavours that it’s cozying up with inside that bottle and then absorb everything. That’s why I like slicing it thin or julienned so that all the flavours and the pickle juice are absorbed quicker.
Spiced Crunchy Balsamic Pickled Beets
- 300 g / 10.5 oz Beetroot peeled and sliced very thin and halved OR julienned
- 2 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds
- 110 mL / 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp Packed brown sugar
- 200 mL / 6.7 fl oz Red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp Packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp Sea salt flakes
- 3-4 dried chilli
- 1 empty bottle/jar 21 fl oz / 620 ml
- First prepare the beetroot. If you prefer having pickled beetroot slices, make sure the beetroot is thinly sliced. Or alternatively you can julienne the beetroot. Place all the beetroot in the washed and dried glass bottle and add the caraway seeds. Keep it covered until the vinegar solution is ready.
- Prepare the balsamic syrup by placing the balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp of brown sugar in a pan and bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer and reduce till it’s about 1/4 of a cup. Pour it into a small bowl and set it aside.
- In the same saucepan add the water, salt and dried chilli (cut in half or smaller pieces). Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the red wine vinegar, rest of the brown sugar and balsamic syrup to the water and stir till the sugar dissolves.
- When the liquid starts to simmer, pour the liquid (carefully) into the bottle with the beet. The liquid should fill the bottle leaving about 1/4 of an inch at the top. You can add more beets if it doesn’t fill up.
- While it is hot, carefully screw the top back on and let it cool to room temperature.
- Leave the bottle in the refrigerator for at least a few days (I leave it for a minimum of 5 days) or up to a week for the beet pickle to be ready.
- This could be left in the refrigerator for about 2 months.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”
The final verdict is a resounding yes! It’s truly impossible to describe how flavourful this beet pickle was. The first time my husband tasted it, his exact words were “my salivary glands just exploded inside my mouth!” I add this beet pickle to a lot of things I eat and I always keep some in a separate side dish so I can nibble on some just on their own. It’s simple to make and there really is no way you can go wrong with it.
This is so far my favourite pickle. My husband and I have just finished one batch, and this weekend I’m using the leftover pickle juice/brine to make another. That’s right – you can reuse the pickle juice.
And one more thing about the brine. It’s incredible! It’s got the bold flavours of the beet, the balsamic, the minty freshness of the caraway and the subtle heat of the chili. It’s not overly sweet and the vinegar flavour balances it out perfectly. I love it so much that I’m now in the habit of pouring some of that juice into a cup and drinking it straight off of it. Who knows maybe it has some health benefits too. I’d like to think so 🙂
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