10 Eastern European Recipes That Star Pickled Foods

Pickled vegetables, fruits, and fish pop up in countless international cuisines, but the nations of Eastern Europe — including Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, among others —view pickling as an indispensable way to keep their meals fresh and vibrant, even when cold temperatures make it difficult to harvest produce. These ten recipes feature classic Eastern European dishes that rely on pickled ingredients to complement their heartier elements and to deliver major flavor.

01 of 11

Ukrainian Dill & Garlic Pickles

If classic dill pickles are a staple in your refrigerator, consider swapping them out for this Ukrainian version, which includes extra levels of seasoning and spice from garlic, black peppercorns, and red chili peppers. Feel free to slice these cucumber spears and serve them on burgers or sandwiches, or just enjoy them straight out of the jar.

02 of 11

Polish Dill Pickle Soup

Also known as "zupa ogórkowa," this Polish soup lets the tanginess of dill pickles shine through, bolstered by potatoes, veggies, and a savory meat broth. This particular recipe uses milk as a thickening agent, but sour cream can be traded in to add extra zing and texture. Zupa ogórkowa is traditionally served hot, but, as recipe creator MARBALET points out, "this soup tastes best chilled, the next day."

03 of 11

Slovak Pork Goulash With Sauerkraut

Goulash is a hearty meat stew commonly associated with Hungarian cuisine, but several other Eastern European nations have their own versions of this dish. In Slovakia, goulash is made with pork and served alongside tart, funky sauerkraut. While sauerkraut (a fermented style of cabbage) hails from Central Europe (specifically, from Germany and Austria), it's also a wildly popular ingredient in Eastern Europe.

04 of 11

Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets
Brie Passano

Beets are a key ingredient in Eastern European cooking, whether they're enjoyed in fresh salads, cooked into soups (like borscht), or pickled. To properly pickle beets, you'll need vinegar, pickling salt, sugar, and whichever aromatic spices you prefer (this recipe uses cloves). Once pickled, these beets can be eaten as a side dish, in a salad, or as a sandwich ingredient (they go particularly well with egg salad).

05 of 11

Sauerkraut Filling for Pierogi

The pillowy dumplings known as pierogi count among the most widely-beloved dishes in Polish cuisine. One of the most appealing aspects of pierogi involves their potential for customization; pierogi fillings can be savory, sweet, meat-based, vegetarian — the possibilities are endless. This recipe features sauerkraut, mushrooms, and sour cream, and reviewer Heather Bullard Turner says that "this is DELICIOUS!!! I got rave reviews. I also love the addition of the sour cream...gives it a nice texture without too much moisture. A very nice change from the standard potato filling."

06 of 11

Mizeria (Polish Cucumber Salad)

Another classic Polish dish, mizeria is essentially a quick-pickled cucumber dish dressed with sour cream, lemon juice, and sugar. These ingredients give the refreshing cucumbers a sweet-and-sour flavor dynamic, and because the quick pickling doesn't impact the texture of the cucumbers, you're left with a side dish that's appealingly crunchy.

07 of 11

Ukrainian Salat Vinaigrette (Beet Salad)

"A delicious Ukrainian beet salad! Great with meat and poultry dishes (especially Chicken Kyiv) with a side of mashed potatoes! The preparation takes some time, but I really like the salad! It is one of the few salads popular in Ukraine that doesn't contain mayonnaise!" recipe writer BrandyLoveWine insists. This recipe contains a wide variety of vegetables (including beets, carrots, peas, and potatoes), but the addition of dill pickles provides a zingy brightness that invigorates the entire salad.

08 of 11

Russian Beet Salad with Herring

This Russian recipe doesn't include any pickled ingredients as written, but if you're a fan of pickles, then you'll be glad to know that there are several opportunities to weave your tangy faves into this salad. Replace fresh beets with pickled beets and/or canned herring with pickled herring, and you've got a chilled side dish with tons of flavor.

09 of 11


A Czech dish classically made with egg noodles and cabbage, holuski can be adjusted to suit your individual tastes, preferences, and pantry/fridge contents. Switch out egg noodles for farfalle, add in vegetables like carrots and celery, include a protein, top with a dollop of sour cream, or use (pickled) sauerkraut in lieu of shredded cabbage to bring in some extra acidity and umami.

10 of 11

Hungarian Hot and Spicy Pickled Cauliflower

Cauliflower's sturdy texture and mild flavor make it a prime candidate for pickling, and this recipe from the Eastern European nation of Hungary offers an abundance of spice, tang, and aromatics. "I have made this twice now and those who have tried it love it!" says reviewer It's A New Day. These pickles are perfect in a salad or as a garnish for a hearty protein.

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