Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Encurtido {Spicy Pickled Vegetables}

Encurtido is an amazing and delicious spicy side dish that is so addicting and easy to make.
3 jars of pickled encurtido and vegetables on a white board

Free Guide Get 14 Recipes You Can Make From Your Pantry

Encurtido is an amazing and delicious spicy quick pickled vegetable that is so addicting and easy to make. Once you try these tasty vegetables, you can’t stop eating them!

3 jars of pickled encurtido and vegetables on a white board

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I learned this incredible recipe from my Honduran neighbor and it is the perfect garnish for so many dishes! In addition to being delicious, it’s also a fantastic way to get more veggies into your meals.

What is Encurtido?

It is a side dish of pickled veggies like beets, jalapenos, carrots, cauliflower, and onions.

Traditionally it is served with homemade tamales and meat dishes. I serve it with (um, everything) Lentil Nachos, Pressure Cooker Chicken Tacos, Cauliflower Patties, Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos, and actually as a side with Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs.

I cannot get over how this simple little dish instantly makes everything taste so much better. I find myself sneaking into the fridge at all hours to pull out a piece of veg.

2 photos showing how to make honduran pickled vegetables

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • You can easily adjust the ratio or types of veggies to fit your tastes. I usually double or triple the beets because they’re my favorite!
  • Closely follow the cooking times in the recipe card. You do not want to overcook the veggies or they will be soft when pickled instead of crisp.
  • To make these even faster, you can use some canned or frozen veggies. Related: How to Can Beets, How to Freeze Carrots, How to Freeze Cauliflower, and How to Freeze Onions.
  • I have a small stove, so I make Instant Pot Beets while I’m cooking the other veggies.
  • Grow your own oregano? Check out my tutorial on Drying Oregano to use your own herbs in this recipe.

More Recipes Like This

a jar of pickled vegetables


One serving of Spicy Pickled Vegetables has 0 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

3 jars of pickled encurtido and vegetables on a white board
Print Recipe
4.84 from 6 ratings

Encurtido {Spicy Pickled Vegetables}

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Encurtido is an amazing and delicious spicy side dish that is so addicting and easy to make.


  • 5 cups white onion {sliced}
  • 4 cups carrots {peeled and sliced into coins}
  • 3 medium-sized beets {tops and ends removed, peeled, and sliced into coins}
  • 3 cups cauliflower {cut into florets}
  • 1 24 oz can pickled jalapenos
  • 1 cup cilantro {roughly chopped}
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp coarse ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1.5 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water - for the beets
  • 1.5 cups water - for the brine
  • water - for boiling


Prepping the veggies

  • Cut the ends off of onions and remove the skin. Cut them in half and then slice thinly.
    5 cups white onion
  • Peel and thinly slice the carrots.
    4 cups carrots
  • Chop the tops and ends off of the beets, and slice the skin off. Cut the beets in half and slice the beets into coins.
    3 medium-sized beets
  • Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
    3 cups cauliflower
  • Roughly chop the cilantro.
    1 cup cilantro

Making Encurtido

  • Fill a large saucepan with three inches of water and bring it to a boil. Add the onions and cook for 30 seconds. Drain into a strainer and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Fill a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and the beets. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Do not discard the water the beets were cooked in.
    2 cups water - for the beets
  • Fill the large saucepan with three inches of water again and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes. Drain into a strainer and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Place all veggies (including beets and their cooking liquid) in a large mixing bowl and add the can of pickled jalapenos including the juices.
    1 24 oz can pickled jalapenos
  • Toss lightly with tongs. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and oregano over the top of the veg. Add 1.5 cups of water, vinegar, and cilantro. Toss to distribute the seasoning and brine.
    1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp coarse ground pepper, 2 tbsp table salt, 1.5 cups white vinegar, 1.5 cups water - for the brine
  • Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for two hours, and then transfer veggies and the liquid to air-tight containers. Store in the fridge.


Will keep in the fridge for up to six weeks.
Nutrition Facts
Encurtido {Spicy Pickled Vegetables}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

18 comments on “Encurtido {Spicy Pickled Vegetables}”

  1. I finally got around to making this.  It’s delicious, even my husband who hates beets liked it.   

  2. Holy sh!t, Sarah, this was amazing. We had the saddest looking beets at the grocery store but I forged ahead and now I’m kicking myself for not trying this earlier. Delicious!5 stars

    • I feel like this is one of the best-kept secrets out there. Glad you’re now part of the “cool kids” club.

      We always ALWAYS have a half-gallon jar of this in the fridge.

  3. I am Canadian, so I don’t think we have 24 oz cans of pickled jalapeños here. Is this the same as jarred pickled jalapeños? The canned ones that I see here are in tiny cans and are usually quite mild while the jarred ones are spicier. Which would work better in this recipe? I am thinking the jarred ones but want to be sure. Thanks!

    • I guess it would go to what you prefer – mild or spicy. Go with your preferences!

      Here in the states, the canned version is the same level of spice as any jarred jalapenos.

  4. Hi, thanks for the recipe, just want to know how to canned to preserve this encurtido. Thank you very much.5 stars

    • Hi Martha, I have never canned it. The (canning) processing time for each individual vegetable varies for safe canning, so I don’t think it would be possible. The good news is the pickling brine preserves it for months and months in the fridge.

  5. Love this! I’ve made it about five times in the past few months. Thanks for publishing. 5 stars

  6. Super yummy! Great eating it by itself or on top of tacos and salads.5 stars

  7. Did I miss something? I didn’t see what you did with the beet water that you told us to save it.

    • Hi M, thanks for bringing that up. I updated step 5 to make it more clear that you add the beets and their cooking water with the rest of the veggies. The “beet water” is what gives the Encurtido the beautiful coloring!

  8. YES! THIS is THE STUFF!!! On tacos, burritos, sandwiches, or by the spoonful — really yummy!5 stars

  9. This was fun to make and it tastes delicious right away…can’t wait to try it in a few days when the flavors have a chance to really “marry” (is that the correct term???).4 stars