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Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil. Giardiniera is available as either mild or hot. Hot giardiniera is often referred to as "Hot Mix".
Common vegetables in the Italian version, also called sotto aceti, include onions, celery, zucchini, carrots and cauliflower, pickled vegetables in red- or white-wine vinegar. It is typically eaten as an antipasto, or with salads.
However, in Chicago, giardiniera is a condiment, typically used as a topping on Italian beef sandwiches. Giardiniera is commonly made with serrano peppers and some combination of other assorted vegetables, such as bell peppers, olives, celery, pimentos, carrots and cauliflower and sometimes crushed red pepper flakes, all marinated in vegetable oil, olive oil, soybean oil or any combination of the three oils.
The word giardiniera in Italian literally translates to "female gardener." It is derived from the root giardino, which means "garden."