Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips

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Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.Pickled Turnips are the most beautiful, overlooked, delicious pickle you’ll ever encounter. You probably have never heard of them unless you’ve had Middle Eastern food and at first glance you might be wondering why on earth they are SO pink. Rest assured, no food coloring was used in the production of these pickles.

Pickled Turnips get their gorgeous hue from hanging out with a handful of sliced beets for a week. They’re incredibly easy to make and they add the perfect vinegary, slightly spicy (from the garlic) bite for your favorite Middle Eastern meals. And, if I can just add, the perfect accompaniment to these delicious Pickled Turnips?

Some small hot chili peppers and the most awesome Armenian Zankou’s Garlic Paste with pita bread. A tip on the pita bread? If you can and you have one available, go to your nearest Middle Eastern grocery store to get authentic pita bread. I promise it is 100% different than the ones put out by sliced bread makers. My favorite brand is Toufayan, they’re old school awesome and Armenian.

Oh, hey there Mr. Falafel, looks like you’re got a colorful pickled friend there!

 

Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

Pickled Turnips really make the PERFECT accompaniment to your Falafel sandwich.

Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.If you’re wondering about the hummus and the falafel, yes those recipes are coming very soon. But I had to start with my favorite of the bunch. These Pickled Turnips. Some quick tips:

  • Don’t eat the garlic. Trust me, it’s been hanging in vinegar for five days and it will be STRONG.
  • You can totally eat the pickled beets, but the texture will be different than the turnips, less crunchy, more chewy.
  • You can let them sit for longer than five days if you want, but however long ahead you prepare them, refrigerate them before serving. They taste so much better cold!
  • Don’t, I repeat DON’T use table salt. It will taste awful. Stick to Kosher salt.

Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

Recipe

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Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips

5
  • Yield: 16 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Course: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Armenian

Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat. They're the perfect side to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 pounds turnips , peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick batons
  • 1 small beet , cut into 1/2 inch thick batons
  • 2 cloves garlic , roughly chopped

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. In a medium sized pot, add the water, Kosher salt and bay leaves.
  2. Heat on medium heat, stirring until salt is completely dissolved, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely then add the vinegar.
  4. In a large container with a tight fitting lid, add your turnips and beets.
  5. Add the garlic (this can be a very rough chop, you don't eat the garlic, it is only for seasoning so it doesn't need to look pretty).
  6. Let sit for 5 days.

  7. Before serving, they are best refrigerated.
  8. The pickles are usually good for about a month (they normally last about a week in our house because I eat them with everything!).

Nutrition Information

Yield: 16 servings, Amount per serving: 21 calories, Calories: 21g, Carbohydrates: 4g, Sodium: 2402mg, Potassium: 124mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin C: 14.9g, Calcium: 2.2g, Iron: 1.3g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

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Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.
Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

Categories:

Main Dishes Recipe Sides Vegetarian Worldly Foods

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Comments

  1. I made these with balsamic vinegar (that was all I had) and no beets and while the color was brown instead of pink, they tasted fabulous.

      1. Hi! Does it stay out at room temperature or in the fridge once all the ingredients are together for the 5 days? Thanks!

        1. They can stay at room temperature. I just recommend putting them in the refrigerator before serving. They’re so much better cold!

  2. I have never thought to pickle turnips! This is intriguing…I love to pickle things. I am very addicted to pickles. Now I’m going to have to try this when we get turnips from our CSA!

  3. After a recent trip to Zankou chicken, I decided I wanted to make pickled turnips and came across your recipe. Thank you!

    My only question: after the pickling time (5+ days) do you drain the turnips or should they remain in the juice?

    I used a fresh beet and it turned out crunchy and equally as crunchy. Also pickled some daikon radish since I had leftovers from making sushi.

    1. You want them to sit out at room temperature during the pickling process. Just make sure to refrigerate before serving though because they taste so much better cold!

  4. Just put 5 pounds in the refrigerator. Can’t wait to try them. I hope they turn out as good as the ones we buy at the middle eastern market. Question: could the brine be reused on a fresh batch of turnips?

  5. I have a rutabaga from my weekly farm share. It is huge. Do you think I can use it in this recipe? my husband is Lebanese and I would love to have these handy in the fridge, and homemade! Thank you!

    1. They definitely can be used interchangeably in recipes though I’ve never substituted them using this pickling process. I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t work though. If you decide to try, I would love to know how they turn out.

  6. Thank you so much for this recipe. These pickled turnips are delicious. On a side note, I have tried this recipe with rutabaga and it also turned out lovely. A must try!

  7. I cannot get over the color the pickled turnips have in the pictures you showed of the end product. Absolutely stunning! I can’t imagine how beautiful a plate would look including pickled carrots, turnips, and onions. I think people underestimate the effect a beautifully vibrant plate can have on someone’s senses. This looks like a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it at home! Thank you very much for sharing.

  8. Thanks so much for this fabulous recipe! I have been eating these little bits of deliciousness for years without ever realizing they were turnips, or that the great color came from beets. Your efforts are truly appreciated!

  9. What do you mean by 2 pounds of turnips? How many turnips (whole) would I need? I don’t find using pounds or cups useful for some vegetables when you have to buy a whole thing but you don’t know how many to buy, Thanks for the recipe though. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. It’s really hard to determine how many to buy to equal 2 lbs because turnips can vary by size. Just use the scale at the store to weigh out 2 lbs (no matter how many that adds up to) and it’ll work. I hope you enjoy them!

  10. Do you have to use a Mason jar?  I have a plastic container with a lid and I wanted to make sure it will still work.  Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Yes, you can use a plastic container just ensure that it’s labeled food-grade (usually states on the bottom). Enjoy!

  11. Great recipe. I found by adding a step between steps 5 and 6 (step 5.5, place lid on jars) this recipe was so much tastier. 

    1. I can’t vouch for the end result of flavor because of so many substitutions. Rice vinegar is sweeter and the bay leaf adds to the flavor. If you decide to try it, I’d love to know how it turned out.

  12. I just canned your Turnips.
    I will wait and see.
    I’m sure that they will be great.
    I pickle everything,but never turnips{even though I eat them store bought quite often with hummus and baba ganoush}.

    I like that your recipe is on par with the simple way of pickeling.

  13. I just canned your turnip recipe.I will let you know in 2 weeks how they turnip-ed out.I’m sure they are great.Nice and simple pickeling recipe.

    Rating: 5
  14. Could I use pink Himalayan salt in place of the kosher salt? If not, does the kosher salt grain need to be fine or course? I am really looking forward to making this. I wanted to check on the salt substitution before I got all my ingredients together. Thanks!

    1. Oh good question. If it were me I’d risk it and use the Himalayan, salt is salt for the most part and those two varieties aren’t far enough removed flavor wise that I would be concerned. Plus the beet in the mix is going to color/flavor things much more than the salt would.

  15. Hi Sabrina!Turnips turned out fantastic!!!I made hummus, baba ganoush,tabouli,haloumi,and tzatziki.we had the the turnips as well,I was the hit of the party!!!oh yes also had lebanese pickles.Cheers,Tom

    Rating: 5
  16. How many 1 L jars does this make? 
    I have a bunch of turnips I need to use and I’m trying to gauge based on jar size, as I don’t have a scale to weigh the turnips lol. Shookran!

  17. Made my second batch today it’s great I love it , I have it at work in falafel roll with Greek yogurt and garlic i mix up.

    Rating: 5
  18. Hi Sabrina! I just finished your e-book and my husband and kids loved every recipe! Thank you so much, it was so much fun having the grocery lists, it saved me a lot of meal planning time! I’d love you to make another one.

    On this recipe, I’m wondering… you have written “6. Let sit for one 5 days” Does that mean to say “one to 5 days”. I’m just wondering if I can eat them in 4 days or if 5 days is the magic amount?

    My other question is, since the top turnips in the jar are floating above the liquid, should I shake it to mix it so they get plenty of liquid? I’m assuming I should not open the jar and stir it.

    Thank you thank you thank you!!

    Best
    Jesse

    1. Oops, sorry about that. It should read just 5 days, 5 IS the magic number 🙂 There’s no need to shake or stir either. Just let them sit and try and patiently wait….always the hard part!

  19. Made it. But the salt was a bit of a question to me. 1/3 cup seems a bit much. When I tasted it, the salt content definitely had a shock to me. Can’t even taste any vinegar. Is this supposed to be like what I get at restaurants?

    Rating: 3
  20. hi My grand mother used to make these all the time, I am half Lebanese. Can I water bath them and keep them on the pantry shelf or are they really a refrigerator pickle. thank you

    ,

  21. I’m just making this now…but not clear on whether to put the lid on now or after 5 days. Looking forward to tasting when they’re done!

  22. I love this simple and tasty recipe, thank you!!! I made these the first time for Thanksgiving (!) and I was pleasantly surprised that so many liked the non-traditional offering. And a few people were surprised they were enjoying eating turnips 🙂

    Rating: 5
  23. Thanks for sharing the recipe and I will follow it EXACTLY this week. Last week I didn’t have enough turnips so I had too much brine for too few turnips and they were extremely salty.

    1. I haven’t tested it using them so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. I’d love to know how it turns out if you decide to try it though.

  24. If I doubled the amount of turnips, would I still use the same amount of water, salt, vinegar and bay leaves? I assume that you just want the liquid to cover the turnips. Or should all ingredients be doubled? I intend to use a 2 gallon pickling jar.

  25. Thanks a lot Sabrina.I was missing tis pickle since ages n wanted to make it at home in Mumbai as was not satisfied with the taste here.Also would love to have the recipe for the garlic sauce that goes into the falafel sandwich or Shawarma.

  26. Hi,
    I made a batch of pickled turnips two days ago, but I put them in the refrigerator as soon as they cooled to almost room temperature. Will they still pickle properly? I just did then like I would any other “refrigerator pickles.” My understanding is that if you’re not doing the formal canning process (sterilizing jars, hot water bath, etc.) then your homemade pickles must be stored in the refrigerator. Is this not the case with turnips? My jars were clean but not sterilized. Are they fine to continue in the fridge or can I take them out for a few days to do their thing?
    Thank you.

  27. I just made these, so I’ll have to wait the 5 days to see, but I reduced the recipe by 1/3, and it was just not enough liquid. I had to double the amount. What the heck?

  28. Just finished eating my shawarma sandwich and the whole time wishing I had some of these babies in it! Making these asap! Thank you for the easy recipe!

  29. Hey I just made these turnips and they are delicious, I’m already finished the jar and was wondering if I can just put more turnips into the juice for another batch or is it better to start from scratch and get rid of the leftover juice?

    Rating: 5
    1. I’m so glad you love the turnips! I would start from scratch though when making a new batch because it won’t be as strong if it’s reused.