Pickled turnips are a Middle Eastern staple and take only 15 minutes to make. They're crisp and delicious with a subtle heat and the beautiful color comes from beets. You can add them to sandwiches or salads for flavor.
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines use pickles and condiments in many different ways. We love our torshi (Persian pickles), quick pickled cabbage, preserved lemons and of course, our pickled turnips. If you've tried chicken shawarma, shish tawook or shish kabab, you know they're best served in a pita wrap with some toum and pink pickled turnips! You can make these pickled at home with a handful of ingredients and enjoy them in so many ways.
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All about pickled turnips
Lebanese pickled turnips are crunchy, sour, slightly hot and so easy to make. You need a few turnips (which are naturally white), some beets (for the color), a quick brine and 10 minutes on your hands to make these refrigerated pickles.
It only takes a few minutes to prepare this recipe and you can keep it in the fridge and enjoy the pink turnips with in your sandwiches, wraps, salads and mezze platters.
Potential benefits of turnips
As humble and simple as turnips may look, they come with many benefits. Here are some to name a few:
- They are high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C.
- Studies have shown that turnips might control blood sugar and lower glucose production by the liver.
- Turnips may improve blood circulation because they have iron.
It's a good idea to add turnips to your diet. You can add them to roasted vegetables or soups as well.
Ingredients and substitutions
Turnips: When shopping for turnips, make sure they are bright and firm and have no brown or soft spot. Larger turnips have sharper flavor while smaller ones are sweeter. You can use any size for this recipe.
Beet: You only need a small beet for this recipe since that's all it takes for the turnips to turn pink.
Vinegar: White vinegar preserves the turnips and is perfect to make the brine.
Flavors: I used peppercorn and sliced garlic for this batch but you can use dried chili, bay leaves or oregano.
How to make pickled tunips
- Bring the water to a simmer over medium high heat. Add in the salt and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the mixture come to room temperature.
- Place the turnips in a clean and dry jar. Add the garlic slices and peppercorn as well. Top with the beet chunks.
- Pour in the brine and fill to the top. Seal the lid and refrigerate for 6 days.
- The pickled turnips are ready to be served after 6 days and you can serve them with sandwiches or kabobs.
To enhance flavor, you can add bay leaves, different colors of peppercorn or garlic. While not traditional, you can also use fresh herbs such as oregano, dill and thyme.
We love serving these Lebanese turnip pickles with beef shawarma, falafel, kofta kebab, shish kabob and shish tawook with some pita, lavash, tahini sauce, batat harra, and toum.
Pink turnips can also be added to salads such as Mediterranean salad or chicken shawarma salad for more flavor. They also can be a part of a vibrant mezze platter with labneh and hummus .
Frequently asked questions
These can stay in the fridge for up to 1 month. However, it's best to use them within 2 weeks.
Sugar is used to balance the tanginess coming from the vinegar. You can use honey instead of sugar in this recipe.
More Middle Eastern condiments
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Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 large turnips peeled and cut into ½-inch batons
- 1 small beet peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp peppercorn
- Place the water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once it starts to simmer, add the salt and sugar. When the salt and sugar are dissolved, add the vinegar and simmer on medium low for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and set the saucepan aside for the brine to cool completely.
- Place the turnips in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid and top with the beets. Add the garlic slices and peppercorn as well. You can use one large mason jar or 2-3 smaller jars.
- Pour the brine into the jar (or jars) and make sure it covers the turnip completely. Seal the lid and refrigerate for 6 days.
- Serving suggestions: You can serve pickled turnips with chicken shawarma, falafel, shish tawook, kofta kebab, kibbeh or as part of a mezze platter with with labneh and hummus.
- Keep the pickled turnips in the fridge for up to a month. It's best to consume them within the first two weeks.
- You don't have to eat the beet since it's mostly used for its color.
added a few dried arbol peppers to each jar. our local middle eastern restaurant quit serving these pickles at the beginning of the pandemic and have not brought them back. I brought my own jar and a gentleman a few tables over asked for a few. these went over AWESOME!!! so easy, too.
Had some turnips to use up from my garden and this was the perfect recipe for it! Super easy and so delicious. Loved it!
These were surprisingly delicious! A great snack to go along with my lunch, I love them!
I never know what to do with turnips when I get them in my CSA so this recipe is going to come in handy! Thanks for the tasty idea!
As I am always anemic your pickled turnips are perfect for me. Can`t wait to try, thanks!