Simple Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips

5 from 17 votes
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A Simple Lebanese pickled turnips recipe (pink pickles) – a wonderful addition to a variety of recipes including falafel wraps, salads, kebabs and more!

Pickled turnips are like the pickled cabbage of the Middle-East – a beautiful (naturally coloured) pink pickle, with that delicious tangy pickled flavour that combines so beautifully with a whole variety of dishes. You’ve probably even noticed them a few times on this blog before, and they are something I’ve snuck out of my mum’s fridge on many occasions.

Pickled pink turnips

I think pickled vegetables are a bit like marmite – you either love them or hate them. And I’m definitely on the love side! In fact, I have a long list of different pickled vegetable DIY’s coming to the blog soon – so keep an eye out for your favourites.

Pink picked turnips

Perhaps, you’ll even be inspired to pickle something you’d never have thought to before. Which, during a time where groceries haven’t been the easiest to get ahold of, is a great way to preserve the foods you do have available.

Plus, pickling is such a simple process – even if it does sound a bit daunting to those who have never tried it before.

Pickled turnips

All you need are a few steps

  1. Prepare the pickling brine.
  2. Prepare your turnips and beets by slicing them into your desired shape. I sometime do thin disks others cubes and sometimes spheres using a melon baller. You could also cut into french-fry like batons or ‘wedges.’
  3. Add the peeled and cut (I normally peel if the turnips are not organic, if they are organic I don’t peel them) veggies to glass jars with the pickling liquid and any additional flavourings, i.e. garlic, bay leaves, jalapeño.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place (like a kitchen cupboard) for 4-5 days and the Middle-Eastern pickled turnips are now ready to enjoy!

Turnips and beetroot

Pickling Brine – Whether or not to heat

When it comes to preparing the pickle brine, there are a few methods, and I’ve tried them all. Some recipes ask for the brine liquid to be heated, some only heat certain elements and some just chuck everything un-heated into the jar.

I have to be honest, having tried all three methods. I usually stick to just chucking everything in the jar – it works well and takes less effort, so really it’s a win-win. My mother advised that I could also heat the water and salt first, to dissolve the salt better, but said either works (which I agree with).

I’ve heard that boiling the brine can help the flavours meld better, so I suppose the choice to experiment is up to you. I think a lot about pickling and finding your perfect pickling liquid is up to personal preference anyway – what additional ‘flavourings’ (I suggest garlic, you could also use a bay leaf) you add and so on, can all be experimented with.

Pink pickled turnips with beetroot

The Pink Pickles How-To


Ingredients for pickled turnips

  • Water, white vinegar
  • Turnips, beetroot – beetroot is necessary to make pink pickles (you can omit it if you don’t want to colour them)
  • Salt, garlic (optional)


First, make sure all the jars and tools are all sterilised. Let them dry.

To make the pickling brine:

Start by mixing the water and salt in a large bowl.

Tip: To know if enough salt has been added to the water, you can check that with an egg. If the egg floats in the water, that means you’ve added enough salt. Otherwise, keep adding salt until the egg floats.

Note* As I mentioned above, you can choose not to heat any of these elements, simply bring the salt and water to a boil before cooling and adding the vinegar, or even boiling all three. The choice is up to you. However, for this simple recipe – I just chucked everything in, and the pink pickles turned out delicious!

Add the vinegar and stir.

Next, cut the pickles into the shape/size you prefer. I sometimes make them thin (like potato crisps), or I thinly slice them to about 1/2 inch thickness. I slice the red beet in the same way.

Sliced turnio and beetroot

Pour the brine to the designated pickling jar. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Make sure all the pieces of turnips are submerged in the water.

Pickling turnips in a jar

Close the jar and place in a dark cupboard, at room temperature.

The pickles are generally ready within 4 to 5 days.

If you want the colour to be lighter pink, take the beetroot out of the jar on the third day. Or just put slightly less in the jar the next time.

Keep them refrigerated for up to one month and enjoy sprinkled liberally over a whole variety of dishes like this Homemade Easy Falafel wrap, or even oven-baked falafel patties. You could also add them into meals like this Rainbow Vegetarian Bibimbap, or a few into this Japanese-inspired Ramen Noodle Soup – They go well with dishes from all over the world.

Homemade pickled turnips in a jar

They are also a pleasant garnish on dishes like this Vegan Moutabal Aubergine DipRainbow Hummus 6 ways, Simple Spinach Yogurt Dip (Borani)or even this Gluten-free Muhammara Dip (Roasted Red Pepper Dip)


Home pickled turnips

If you have questions, ask them in the comments. I also love seeing your recipe recreations, so feel free to tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie.

Pink Pickled Turnips

5 from 17 votes
By: Samira
For tangy flavor and vibrant color, these pink pickled turnips are versatile - perfect for stews, salads, sandwiches, and a must with falafel.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 4 days 5 minutes
Servings: 20


  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2.2 lb turnips
  • 1 beetroot use a small one
  • 1.5 Tbsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove optional


  • Make sure all the jars and tools are all sterilised. Let them dry.
  • Start by mixing the water and salt in a large bowl - this will be the pickling brine.* Then mix in the vinegar.
  • Cut the pickles into the shape/size you prefer. I did disks, you could also do french-fry like batons or wedges. Or even use a melon-baller.
  • Add the brine to the pickling jar.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients. Make sure all the pieces of turnips are submerged in water.
  • Close the jar and place in a dark cupboard.
  • The pickles are normally ready within 4 to 5 days**. Keep them refrigerated for up to one month. 



  • Check salt level by floating an egg in the water; if it floats, salt is sufficient. Adjust salt until egg floats.
  • For lighter pink color, remove beetroot from jar on the third day if desired. 
  • The total time does not include the pickling time (4-5 days)
Course: Side, Snack
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 1 Month


Serving: 50g, Calories: 17kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1783mg, Potassium: 109mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.


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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi there,
      No, you can add it raw, I made a video of the process you can watch on this blog if it helps 🙂

  1. Samira. We have a question.
    Do you use 100 gram (5 tablespoons)salt as noted in the recipe? On 1 kg turnips.

    We tried but it is very, very salty.

    Please let me know, or it is part of the cooking style of course

    1. Hi Han,
      For 1 kg of turnips, you need 1.5 Tablespoons of salt which is about 25-27 g. I hope you give this recipe another try – it’s not supposed to be very very salty 🙂

    1. Hi Joan,
      Yes, after the turnips have pickled (4-5 days), it’s best to keep them in the fridge.

  2. I tried this at home, but the next day the mix started smelling really bad.
    Why does this happen? Is it normal?

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. What exactly did it smell like? Were the turnips completely covered by the pickling liquid?