This isn’t any ordinary chow chow – it’s Veggie Chow! A tangy mix of crunchy, pickled fresh veggies that you can spoon into salads to add colour and zing, or pile onto a burger, or stir into eggs. Add it to any dish that needs a pick-me-up. With a jar of Veggie Chow in your fridge you’ll have a secret ingredient to make meals sing (and give you time to play outside).
Oh, I’m loving the heat and the lazy, crazy summer days. They’ve arrived suddenly and with a vengeance. One minute it was still cold and rainy, and now it’s suddenly hot, hot, hot.
The peonies are in full glorious bloom in the sun:
Hostas are thriving in the shade,
and the garden is growing like a . . . weed (pardon the pun).
When it gets this hot and I’m melting in my kitchen, even with the fans going full blast, I like my cooking to be simple and effortless. I’m so glad I made a big jar of this veggie chow chow weeks ago, and now I can scoop out a few spoonfuls to add to any old lazy dish and make it look like I took some time in the kitchen when really I didn’t. A colleague at work (thanks, Dana ) told me about the idea for this – she’d seen it on a cooking show on TV – basically diced fresh veggies preserved in vinegar. I loved the idea and had to play around with it. I made my batch well over six weeks ago and it’s almost gone, but still fresh, crunchy, and tasty. So I’m guessing it will last at least a couple months in the fridge. Isn’t that a treat for a lazy cook?
It’s best to chose vegetables that will stay crunchy and not lose their colour. I found the combination of onions, celery, carrots, peppers, and corn to be the best, but you could try with any veggies you like. Next time I’m going to add a few spoonfuls of mustard seeds or celery seeds. I think they’d add nice crunch and little pops of flavour. A few cloves of minced garlic might be delicious in there, too.
Once you’ve got a jar of Veggie Chow in your fridge, you can let your creativity run free. A spoonful stirred into dishes will add bright spots of colour and little tangy bursts of pickled crunchiness. Plus, it’ll save you time cleaning and chopping veggies when you just need a few. Do the work ahead so you can spend more time playing.
Ways to Use Veggie Chow
Add a few spoonfuls to a simple salad of lettuce, cucumbers, and avocado.
Or even just dress up plain chopped lettuce.
Here I’ve stirred a few spoonfuls into an edamame and quinoa salad:
I’ve plopped some over poached eggs for a light and flavourful breakfast:
We’ve topped our burgers with the colourful mix:
Stir some into scrambled eggs, pasta salads, layered salads, tuna salad, salmon salad, egg salad, lentil stews, or casseroles, or tuck it into quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps, or pita pockets. Add a bit to salad rolls, or try garnishing soups with a spoonful of bright crunchy colour. Use it on top of hamburgers, spoon it into hot dogs, or sprinkle on pizza. Stick some into a grilled cheese sandwich or under the cheese on a tuna melt. Mix a handful of veggie chow chow into raw ground beef when you make hamburger patties or meatloaf. Mix equal parts mayonnaise and yogurt, then stir in a few spoonfuls of Veggie Chow and a handful of fresh or dried herbs for a light and tasty dip for veggies.
You can see how versatile this Veggie Chow is, and how handy it’ll be to have a jar of it in the fridge this summer. Pack it for camping or for at the cottage, too.
You’ll look like a kitchen wizard when you can quickly stir up tasty meals.
It’ll be your secret summer ingredient – pickled bits of fairy dust to add zip to your meals.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: You can make any amount of Veggie Chow – just use the ratio of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of oil for each cup of diced vegetables.
Veggie Chow Chow
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup finely diced carrot
- 1 cup fresh or frozen & defrosted corn kernels
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
- 10 tablespoons (150ml) white vinegar (½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 5 teaspoons oil
Combine all the chopped vegetables and put them into a large jar or bowl with a lid. Add the vinegar and oil. Shake to combine.
Refrigerate, stirring or shaking several times during the first day. Use after 24 hours.
Will keep in the fridge for 6 to 8 weeks, or more.
Strain out a few spoonfuls to add to any dishes for extra flavour, crunch, and colour.
Makes 5 cups (1.2l).
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