If you like pickles, you will like these ruby coloured turnips and beets. I add sugar because I really don’t like them that sour in its typical vinegar, water and salt brine. It makes my lips pucker and I can feel a momentary brain freeze when I put pickle in mouth. Remember to prepare these 5 days before you intend to eat them.

My recent meze party. Click to read more, Meze, A Selection Of Wonderful Little Bites. See the plate of kabis towards the back? Find out the names of the other meze by scrolling down to to the bottom of this post. Post links for all recipes will be indicated there.

Kabis, Lebanese Pickled Turnips And Beets

Prep: 10 minutes 
Inactive: 5 days in refrigerator
Level: Easy
Makes: ~ 6 cups
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Keeps well for 3 weeks refrigerated. Dish out pickles with a clean spoon each time.


1 cup=250ml=8.45 US fl oz

For the vegetables
7.05oz (200g) beets
1.54lb (700g) turnips
3 cloves garlic
1 whole dried red chilli
For the pickling solution
3 and 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar with 5% acidity level*
1 and 1/4 cup boiled water, cooled*
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons salt**
* To ensure proper pickling without the risk of contamination, you need: (1) a proper ratio of vinegar to water (2) preferably a vinegar with a minimum acidity of 5% . Vinegars have varying acidity levels. Apple cider vinegar has that level of acidity. White wine vinegar has a higher acidity level but it would not be cost effective to use.  Rice vinegars have a lower level. The brand that I use, Marukan, is 4.3%. It produces pickles that are not so sharp tasting. If using Rice Vinegar with a 4.3% acidity level you need to use less water than what is stipulated in this recipe. Use only 1 cup instead.
** Do not use table or iodized salt as it will cloud the pickling liquid. Use pickling salt or if you cannot get that, use kosher or sea salt. 


1. Wash the turnips and beets. Top and tail and peel off the skins. Peel skins off the garlic.

2. Slice into pinkie finger size. Take a look at how I cut them in the image. Cutting it that size allows the pickling juices to penetrate easily and evenly. I like the waffle knife that I bought recently from Bangkok for USD1.20! Don’t they look like french fries? I can’t wait to use them to waffle cut something else. Maybe jello or something.
3. Dissolve the sugar and salt into the vinegar and water.
4. I will be using three jars ( two 4″ [10cm] and one 7″ [18 cm] ) for my pickles. Please clean your jars well before using. I wash mine with soapy water and finish off by pouring boiling water over them. I then let them drip and air dry.

5. Drop one clove of garlic into each jar. Snip the dried chilli into three and drop a piece into each jar.
6. Distribute the turnips and beets into the three jars. Cover vegetables completely with the pickling solution. Leave a 1″ (2.5 cm) gap between the pickling solution and the bottom of the lid. Wipe the jars clean, cover and refrigerate for 5 days.
7. These will only get more ruby coloured.

8. Ready to eat after 5 days!


(1) These go well with grilled meats, falafel and as part of a meze.
(2) Use in salads, sandwiches and cold noodles. I cut them further into thin rectangular slivers. If they are too tart and if I need to balance off the flavours in the salads, sandwiches or noodles, I add caster sugar directly onto the pickles after I have cut them into slivers.
(3) These pickles are not meant to be kept longer than 3 weeks. Therefore, I only make small quantities of them. I find them too sour and sharp for my taste after 3 weeks. Moreover, there is a mind boggling amount of literature on proper home canning to ensure food safety. I do have the correct recommended vinegar to water ratio in my recipe to prevent bacteria from breeding but just to be on the safe side, I keep my pickles only for 3 weeks. Remember to clean your jars well before using.


Fresh Figs With Peppered Ricotta. Very simple and very good if you like figs but if you don’t, I have alternatives!

To recap, this post is part of my series on Meze, A Selection Of Wonderful Little Bites.