Spicy Quick Pickled Fennel

Lately, I’ve decided to come late to the grain bowl party and have been concocting them for countless meals. As a part of this late arrival, I’ve been playing with my toppings and have found that this is a great application for pickles. You all know I love pickles but I feel like it’s a difficult task (at least for me) to incorporate them into a meal, rather than just incorporating them straight into my mouth, straight from the jar.

What is a quick pickle? Quick pickles are simple and require no canning steps. This recipe achieves great flavor in only 20 minutes but can last and get better and better in the fridge for up to a month or so. All we need to do is make a 4-ingredient brine and bring it to a boil before pouring it over the vegetables.

In this version, we pickle the ever-so-licoricey (not a word) fennel and fresh jalapeños. Our brine is sweet from apple cider vinegar and a touch of sugar then salty from kosher salt. As the pickles sit, the fresh jalapeños infuse fennel, by way of our hot brine, with a touch of spice. You can of course, omit these or just adjust the amount to your heat tolerance.

This morning, I piled these pickles on top of my eggs, avocado, and brown rice and plan to have it this evening on top of grilled chicken and quinoa. The possibilities are countless. Or again, there is nothing wrong with the straight into the mouth, straight from the jar, method.

Spicy Quick Pickled Fennel
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 2 tablespoons white sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  5. 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  6. 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  7. 1 small jalapeño, very thinly sliced
  1. Make brine. In a small saucepan, combine the first five ingredients (through pickling spice) and bring to a boil. Be sure sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Soak vegetables. In a heatproof bowl, place sliced fennel and jalapeño peppers. After brine has boiled, pour the hot brine (carefully) over vegetables.
  3. Allow vegetables to pickle. At least 20 minutes. Pickles will last up to one month in the fridge in an airtight container.
  1. To reduce the heat level, either reduce the amount of jalapeño added or remove seeds/white ribbing before slicing (or both!)
  2. The longer the pickles sit, the spicier they will get! Be careful 🙂
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