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What Is Giardiniera:
Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil.
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. It's commonly made with serrano peppers (called "sport" peppers in Chicago), with 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 "woman gardener." It is derived from the root giardino, which means "garden."
Chicago-style giardiniera was invented there in 1925 by famous "Beef and Sausage Man" Pasquale Scala. It's also commonly served on Italian sausage sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, Italian subs and pizza.