Beet and Onion Pickle Recipe

Beet and Onion Pickle

One of my favorite Indian take-out places in New York makes a vibrant magenta onion and beet pickle they include with every order. It’s a bit unexpected, but aside from being a visual contrast from the earthy tones of Indian food, it provides a sweet and tangy flavor contrast that’s marvelous with a fiery Vindaloo.

I actually contemplated ordering a container of just the pickles to keep around for other uses, but then it occurred to me that I probably had all the ingredients I’d need to make them myself. The process is utterly simple and if you’re in a hurry, you’ll have pickles you can serve in under an hour.

I deliberately made these rather neutral in flavor (i.e. no spices) so they would work with all kinds of food. Try them with Indian food, or put them in a banh mi, heck, try brighten up your next platter of charcuterie with these tasty pickles.

Beet and Onion Pickles

2 medium sweet onions shredded on a mandoline
1 small beet shredded on a mandoline
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt (halve if using regular salt)

handful of cilantro chopped

Salt the onions and beets and let them stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of both the beets and onions, then add them to a bowl along with the vinegar, honey, salt and cilantro.

The pickles are best after pickling for at least a day, and they will keep in the fridge for a very long time.

  • Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    Love the colors and it looks very refreshing!

  • Joan Nova

    I recently developed a taste for pickled vegetables as a side dish or garnish to spicy or fatty meals. Such a nice balance…and they’re generally a colorful addition to the plate. Very nice, Marc.

  • LimeCake

    love how the beet ‘stains’ everything such a beautiful shade of fuschia. reminds me of the Zuni pickle.

  • Scott at Realepicurean

    A good pickle has so many uses away from curries…As suggested by Joan below. This one looks super.

  • Heather Arndt Anderson

    Oh, lovely! Have you tried adding a bit of mustard seed to this pickle? I find it complements beet and onion quite well (I just eat my beet and onion pickle with sausages and bread).

  • Nikki Skaj

    Oh, yum!

  • Nikki Skaj

    ps…just voted for you in the FB challenge! :)

  • Marisa

    This looks great – got to love that brilliant colour!

  • Smitathaker808

    always wondered how it was made thanks a lot it is yummy

  • Sasha

    Is the beet cooked or raw?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      It’s pickled, so not quite raw, but there’s no cooking involved.

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  • Anna

    Is this fermented pickled beets and onion?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Nope, these are quick pickles. To make fermented pickles you typically just salt vegetables and the fermentation process creates the sour taste.

  • JudyK

    Do you start with a raw beet? Or is it already pickled before you mandolin it?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi JudyK, I start with raw beet.


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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