Forever Giardiniera !

This recipe is not only 100% Vegan, but it goes back a very long way, and with much nostalgia attached to it – the aroma and taste take me back to my childhood at the beach (Mellieha to be precise, in Malta).  It’s simply delicious, mouthwatering and, I promise, a MUST for the summer months.  I am going to show you how to eat this delight in a way that will make many of your summer days both memorable and full of culinary joy.  This is my version, and cross-links somewhat between a caponata and a giardiniera. Why ? Well, because I simply love them both – and I’m just one of those people that loves marriages of food.  And when they work (which they do most times, I am lucky to say) the result is a delicacy made in paradise.  By the way, I have named this recipe FOREVER GIARDINIERA because of my strong faith in it being a summer lifetime culinary habit – a vice not easily broken !

My first choice would be to do it the Maltese way and eat it with Maltese Bread. The closest you are going to get to that is by using a ciabatta bread, cut horizontally (see my separate post “Delicious Tomatoed Ciabatta Bread”).  Then smother it with tomato paste/puree, drizzle over with olive oil, then add copious amounts of this heavenly treat !  It’s a little sweet, it’s a little sour, it’s a little hot, it’s a little juicy, it’s so much more – quick go make it and taste for yourself.  Man, oh man – culinary heaven awaits !

The quantities below yield around 4 cups. I haven’t measured the amount 100%, but you will need a jar that takes around ¾ litre of the cooked giardiniera (I used a Le Parfait 0.75l lever seal jar), plus a standard sized 450g jam jar. That was the amount I had when I made this batch with this amount of ingredients.  Make sure the jars are sterilized properly, and that you add some olive oil on top of the giardiniera.  Allow to cool, then seal tightly and refrigerate.  The ingredients should last for up to a few weeks.  My giardiniera can be eaten with rice, pasta, crunchy bread, pitta bread, etc, – experiment and find out.  But it’s super delicious as a pizza topping, with added vegan cheese.

Must be stored in the refrigerator.


  • 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into thin rings
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, cut into slithers
  • 3 red peppers cut lengthways into medium sized pieces (8/9 in total)
  • 2 green peppers, cut as above
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into medium pieces
  • 1 grated carrot
  • ½ cauliflower (use only its florets and lightly steam)
  • ½ cup of chopped olives
  • 1 large green chilli, chopped
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds (a must)
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, halved and roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 4 chopped artichoke hearts (the ones in a jar with olive oil, ready cooked)
  • 3 tbsps sweetcorn (this is optional)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1½ tbsps tomato puree
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • extra oil for drizzling on top


Simple, pour the oil in a non-stick large saucepan, and allow a few seconds for it to heat.  Then throw in the eggplant pieces and the onions, and allow them to fry until they catch a little colour.  Next, add the celery, making sure that you are tossing all the ingredients around as they cook.

At this point, you may need to add some extra olive oil, and shortly after, add the peppers and continue to stir.  Then add the carrot, garlic, chilli, and coriander seeds, and allow to cook on a low heat for a few minutes.  Now add in the tomato puree, and stir again. Add the remaining ingredients, lower the heat to the minimum, cover, and allow to cook gently (still keep an eye on what’s happening, and stirr gently from time to time).  You will experience a wonderful aroma that emerges from this wonderful recipe.   Enjoy !!

All recipes, content & design © Miriam Sorrell 2010

These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave a constructive comment !



  1. Sandra Giacomino

    Thanks for the distribution of tasty dishes for a better



  2. Hi Flavia, Yes, the one in the pic was made without either, capers where added on separately for the pic and because the ‘eaters’ love them. So it will work perfectly for you. Cheers to you again !

  3. Hi Sandra, that is a very generous comment and I embrace it all thank you so very much – I do my best in the hope of improving all that is within my reach and beyond. Thanks again and best to you Sandra !

  4. You mean, “Forever Miriam” because I can see this recipe sticking in my head ad aeternum! I’ll definitely do this as a variant to the one I usually do when we go for a sailing trip 🙂

  5. Pam Hi – hope you enjoy this, it is one that is a lifelong love – do let me know what you think once you’ve made it – it’s different to the conventional Giardiniera sold at the deli by a long shot. Best to you !

  6. This Looks fabulous! I just ate, and it’s making me hungry all over again 🙂

    I work for Lightlife, a vegetarian food company, and I would love to speak with you further. If you have a chance, please give me a shout at!

    Lightlife Team Member

  7. Hi Rachael,
    Thanks for that, yes this creation of mine is somewhat incredible ! When you get the chance to make it, you won’t regret it ! I shall contact you soon. Best to you, Miriam.

  8. Thanks for droping by my FB, don’t even know how you find me.

    This delicious blog will go to my #1 tag on google reader!
    This will be a great inspiration! Not that being Vegan is difficult, but I’m not a great cook! hahaha.

  9. Melissa Padgett

    Can’t wait to try this!!! =) It sounds WONDERFUL! Thank you for providing such a beautiful site. I think it will quickly become one of my favorites. Thanks!!

  10. Animal Armor Hi there, forgot how I found you, but one thing let to another and there you were – hope you enjoy some of the food I have to offer, browse through the category section and see what you find ! Best to you and thanks for all that you do for the innocent animals !

  11. Hi Melissa, thanks so much for your WONDERFUL comment – how lovely of you to say so. I do so hope that it becomes one of your favorites too !!! Very best to you and I shall be posting up more recipes soon !

  12. Oh wow!! Totally amazing to find some Maltese recipes on a Vegan website! I’m from Australia, my Dad is Maltese and most dishes are full of meat. My Dad is kind enough to always veganise every mouthwatering dish when I come and visit! I LOVE this – the tomato or tomato paste smeared on bread and olive oil, capers and olives and lettuce …. I’m salivating now!! Thank you, I will totally be trying this soon and re-live some childhood memories also 🙂

  13. Lea, Hi & Welcome to my blog. Thanks for your wonderful comment. Hope you enjoy all my recipes in time. Forever Gardiniera is so pleasant that you will make it again and again and next year and the year after – it’s great to know it’s in the refrigerator just waiting to be spread onto some freshly crunchy bread. The recipe is also great when or if you make garlic bread, make it as normal then add this as a topping for the days that there is no extra time to be spent in the kitchen. Otherwise as a bread filling for the beach is the ideal !!!. Enjoy and cheers to you !

  14. I’m always eating the same old boring pizza topping evey time. I will try this one in the coming week for sure. Look sooo yummy!

  15. This is a topping for ciabatta bread originally, but goes well as a pizza topping too, I do hope you enjoy it and give me your opinion as and when. Thanks !

  16. Pingback: Perfect summer snack lunch - Malta's ftira

  17. It looks great! Will definitely try it!

  18. Hope you enjoy it Anita !

  19. Oh my, this is AMAZING. It’s on my stove as we speak and I just HAVE to keep going back to try it just to make sure the flavors are right (hehe). With food like this we will be completely vegan before we know it. I didn’t have tomato puree on hand so used tin of chopped roma tomatoes instead. Also being in country town in South Australia couldn’t get agave nectar so used about a tablespoon of brown sugar (hope that’s acceptable!?) and because I like a but of extra heat I added some whole dried red chillies (about 10). So far it is tasting unbelievable. Thank you Miriam.

  20. Barbara, Hi there again, so great to hear such a wonderful comment full of great feedback, I do hope the end result was to your satisfaction – next time try and have some tomato puree at hand, as it really makes a difference. I love the chilli peppers, and confess to have added some myself over the last years – it’s not to everybody’s taste if it’s a family delight, but hey, chilli is just so awesome and just gives it that crazy bite that makes it, well, just extra special. Am so happy to hear about your venturing into being and remaining vegan with recipes/food like this. I will be posting some new ones in the next few days, so keep your eyes open. Best and Cheers to you !

  21. My mum made this yesterday after I translated the recipe for her – I had it with ciabatta and it’s absolutely delicious!!! I think I’ll have to try all your recipes now – this was the third and each one turned out great! By the way, I love the pictures you post with each recipe!

  22. Hi Miriam, I am glad I found your beautiful blog! I am full-blooded Maltese, and also a vegetarian- aspiring to be vegan! With a new-found desire to cook more foods with my heritage in mind, this one is going to be first on my list! looks so yummy, especially with a big slice of hobz. I will share your blog- and this recipe with my Maltese family and friends! Grazzi, hafna!


  23. Hi Christine and welcome to my blog. Hope you enjoy this Giardiniera, because it truly does rock ! If you are based in the States, try and get hold of some crusty ciabatta as your base. Hope you enjoy the flavours, and do comment again. Look forward to your future feedback and enjoy sharing. Cheers to you !

  24. Hi Miriam,

    Just came back from our holiday on Malta. One of the many things we enjoyed was a ftira we had on Gozo in a place called Nadur (Marxokk bakery?). It was heavenly. I was looking for the recepy and found your site. This ‘forever giardina’ has much of the same ingredients, but a difference is that it looked more like a pizza and had slices of potatoe on top. Do you know that? Are they two different types of ftira?
    I am defenitely going to try your recepy too, as it seems delicious, and will share our experiences with you of course.

  25. Hi there Wendy, yes I think I know what you are talking about. It is a pizza that is made with the ftira bread and coated with thin slices of potato and may have some pieces of giardiniera. Am not sure whether they serve it hot from the oven – still, a huge carb treat with the ftira-bread and potato, but all the same an enjoyable treat. Now if you want to try my recipe (depending on where you are in the world) try and buy some ciabatta Italian bread, it’s the closest you are going to get to Ftira. Let me know how it all goes, my giardiniera recipe should not disappoint – and remember that you can also use it as a pizza topping besides a topping for crunchy fresh bread. Cheers to you !

  26. I LOVE that pizza! In fact, this is by far the BESTEST pizza I’ve got to enjoy in my life. Not only does it easily keep up with all non vegan ones, I actually think it beats them. Furthermore, it beats the pants off them.
    Plus, it’s healthy ! 🙂

  27. Anna Hi there and welcome to my blog – thanks so much for dropping by with your ever-so-wonderful comment !!! I am delighted that you love and enjoyed this pizza and have rated it sky-high, thank you so very much and I look forward to your future comments on my blog. Cheers to you and best too !

  28. Debbie Bourgault

    Hi Miriam, I just made this and words cannot even explain how delicious this is! I LOVE IT! It’s like a party happening on your tastebuds each and every bite. Great recipe. Thank you for sharing and I’ll be attempting a few others now. Just awesome!

  29. Debbie Hi there and welcome here. What a wonderful comment, and great feedback which has put a huge smile on my face, I also say this as you have so eloquently described this recipe and the result – in fact I couldn’t have said it better myself ‘it’s like a party happening on your taste buds each and every bite’ – thank you for taking the words right out of my mouth ! I am truly delighted that you have enjoyed this and from the looks of things, it’s one you may repeat – at least that’s how we feel about this recipe. Meantime, I look forward to your future comments on my blog ! Cheers to you !

  30. Stupid question but It says to put in fridge, but can you eat it hot right after you make it?

  31. Hi there Kathy and thanks for dropping by here. This recipe is designed to be served on your favourite bread, but can also be served as a topping for pizza and with pasta too if you wish – so the answer there is yes, you may use it hot/warm after you make it – it’s great as it is diverse in this way. I look forward to your future comments on my blog and very best to you in the meantime.

  32. Thanks for the recipe! It sounds delicious, looking forward to trying it 🙂

  33. JJ if you make this let me know how it goes. Best wishes to you ! 🙂

  34. Made this tonight. OUTSTANDING. This one is definitely a keeper. DH loved it too.
    Thanks, Miriam.

  35. Gerry Hi there and thanks for dropping by here with your feedback. I am so happy you have made this and enjoyed it ! Look forward to your future comments on my blog. 🙂

  36. You know, I often read through the comments that follow your recipes and I know that I am not saying anything that has not already been said, but – I just have to write to tell you what a pleasure it is to sit down each morning to my computer, with my coffee, after the kids are out the door, to yet another glorious recipe from you. Your photos, your ingredients, the obvious love and care you put into your food and your site is wonderful. I love to cook, and since becoming Vegan, I love to prepare healthy, creative food to fill my families bellies. Thank you for your insight and your inspiration. It’s only 9:30am and I can’t wait to make dinner! P.S I am writing from Canada 🙂

  37. Dear Michelle, many, many thanks for your wonderful comment that has put a huge smile on my face. Thank you for your acknowledgment of my time and efforts – it is people like yourself that make it all worthwhile (and needless to say the animals). So thank you for taking the time to sit down with your coffee and put it down in writing for me to see. I very much look forward to your future comments and feedback on my blog. Best wishes your way ! 🙂

  38. Those ingredients are universal, mouthwatering for everyone.

  39. I do hope you enjoy this Uche and thanks for dropping by here. 🙂

  40. Hi I was looking for ‘caponata’ but landed here instead!
    Oh you mean Għadira is it???
    Just cooked the smoked caponata from yer book but it is still too hot to eat. It is not smoked coz the fire-fighters arrived before me ha ha.
    Re yer Baked Macaroni Madness p 88 and Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Shells p 92 you pre-cooked the macs but not the shells. I never do neither just cover with water/milk after incorporating all and bake. They turn out perfect. Less hassle. Loved the part burning some…when kids we used to pinch them first thing!
    Now that am getting used to yer exc book I see that the index is a bit confusing. Searching for pastizzi I have to remember that they are entered as Mouthwatering Vegan Pastizzi. There are similar ones too..
    Ricotta is nowhere to be found in the ‘cheese’ section. Can’t remember where it is!
    If future editions are planned pl incorporate a cross index.

  41. Hi Joe – if you make my Giardiniera I do hope you enjoy it. The index has been complimented many a time, I am sorry if it is not clear enough for you. I hope you are enjoying my recipes and yes, some people do dowse the pasta with vegan milk/water, that is what I do with the pasta shells too whilst the sauce is then cooked separately. Best your way !


  43. Hope you enjoy it and my other recipes Denise. 🙂

  44. Pingback: Stuffed Mediterranean Loaf - Super Mouthwatering Treat » Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes™

  45. Hi Mary Anne and thanks for dropping by here. This recipe is reasonably on the low fat side in as much as you would only serve 3-4 spoonfulls per person. I wouldn’t dream of making this with veg stock as it will lack the necessary flavour from the olive oil being of Mediterranean origin, plus one would end up with a soggy type of soup with limp veggies as the final result. Make it per my recipe and then use a spoon with little holes so that excess oil drains back into the jar and make sure you serve it with boiled rice or wholemeal bread and a green salad if you wish, and you’ll have a great low fat treat without compromising the taste and texture. Hope this helps, with food, it’s best to be blunt ! Let me know how it goes as and when (or if) you try it. 🙂

  46. I have been searching for a good giardiniera recipe for quite some time, and I have a feeling this is going to be it! Can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you Miriam!

  47. 🙂 It’s a great giardinera and you’ll love it – let me know what you think as and when you’ve made it ! 🙂


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