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Shared by Mitchell Davis

Fermented Vegetable Salad

Yield: 8 servingsTime: 45min active time plus 5 days for fermentation

Fermented Vegetable Salad

Yield: 8 servingsTime: 45min active time plus 5 days for fermentation

This recipe was shared by Mitchell Davis. Read more about his family in "For Mitchell Davis, the Meal Is the Holiday" and try his recipes for baked fish in sweet and sour sauce, beef brisket, and pickled cucumber salad.


For the vegetables:

  • 2 to 3 pounds assorted, hearty vegetables, such as green cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, kohlrabi, daikon, red pepper, or other
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more as necessary for additional brine
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 dried hot chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon assorted spices, such as coriander seed, yellow mustard seed, whole star anise, crumpled bay leaf or your favorites
  • 2 or 3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced, or other onion, such as red or shallot
  • 1 small bunch dill and/or a handful of other herbs, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • Apple cider vinegar to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking ProjectsSidesKosher for PassoverGluten FreeVegetarianVeganEastern EuropeNorth America


  • Step 1

    Prepare the vegetables: Slice the cabbage, cut the cauliflower into small florets, peel and slice the carrots, kohlrabi, daikon, slice the pepper, or otherwise prepare whatever you are using. The smaller the pieces the faster they will ferment. Pack the vegetables into lidded nonreactive container(s) (plastic, glass, or ceramic).

  • Step 2

    Make the brine: dissolve the salt into 2 cups of water that you heat in 1 minute intervals in the microwave or over the stove. Once the salt is dissolved, add 6 cups cold water to cool the brine to room temperature. Add the peppercorns, chili pepper, and spices.

  • Step 3

    Pour the brine over the vegetables to cover. If you need more brine, make it in the same ratio by dissolving 3 tablespoons of salt into 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Cover the container(s) and let sit at room temperature for 2 to 5 days to ferment until the desired doneness. Open the containers at least once each day to release any gas that builds up (called “burping”). I like to taste them each day so I know how the flavor is progressing. On the first day you won’t see any change. On the second day you might see some bubbles. By the third day there will be more evidence of fermentation. Bubbles, a distinct smell, and the brine will begin to get cloudy. Some gunk may form on the top. Don’t worry about this. It is normal.

  • Step 4

    When the vegetables have reached their desired doneness—a good tang, maybe even a little fizz—it’s time to stop the fermentation - lift the vegetables out of the brine and rinse with cold water. Place in a clean container. Strain the brine over the vegetables and refrigerate until ready to use. (Chef’s note: Save the brine to use it for subsequent batches of pickles. It can be used up to five additional times and can also be used to cook with. You can add it to salad dressings, some soups, savory baked goods and other condiments, the way you might use miso or soy).

  • Step 5

    To assemble the salad: combine the fermented vegetables. Add the cucumber, scallions, dill, herbs, if using, and olive oil. Toss and taste. Adjust the acidity with vinegar if necessary, and season with pepper. The salad will keep two or more weeks in the fridge.