Sweet pickle relish brings forth a plethora of flavors to the table, more like a unique combination of tartness, saltiness, and sweetness. This brings a new lease of life to salads, dips, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc.
However, if you end up with an empty bottle but you can’t help but crave its taste, you can try its substitutes like chopped dill pickles, green olives, capers, etc.
Apart from that, there are several other replacements for sweet pickle relish, all of which will be discussed in the following article. So, let’s get started.
9 Best Sweet Pickle Relish Substitutes
The replacements of sweet pickle relish must match the zestiness. With that thought in mind, we have picked out the following substitutes:
1. Chopped Dill Pickles
With their tangy, crispy, crunchy, and garlic-dill taste, Dill pickles will not have you feel the absence of sweet pickle relish in any dish.
If you want to use them as a perfect substitute, it is better to chop them up and add them to sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc. You might miss the sweetness, but that can be covered by any additional sweet dressing.
Like sweet pickle relish, you can eat chopped dill pickles as a snack.
You can elevate simple dishes like hot dogs and sandwiches to a gourmet level with its subtle dill notes.
Since dill pickles are not sugar-sweetened, they are considered to be healthier. However, due to its high sodium content, we’d suggest consuming it in moderation.
2. Green Olives
If you can’t seem to part ways with the sweetness offered by sweet pickle relish, we’d suggest using green olives.
Generally, olives are grown in Mediterranean regions, central Asia, and Africa. However, you can find them in every other supermarket, if not online.
Green olives are nothing but olives harvested before they are fully ripe. While raw olives fall on the bitter end, green lives have a combination of sweetness and saltiness.
They receive their flavor from being brined in oil. Along with a firm texture, you shall experience a nutty flavor, thereby giving you the liberty to add them to salads, sandwiches, etc. You can also use them as a pizza topping or eat them raw with cheese and wine.
Green olives support heart and bone health, despite having a high sodium content.
Similar to olives, capers are native to the Mediterranean regions, along with a few parts of Asia. They are nothing but tiny green buds that are dried in the sun. Later, they are pickled in wine, salt, vinegar, or brine to bring out its tangy flavor.
You can substitute sweet pickle relish with capers in several types of dishes like sauces, dippings, pasta, salads, sandwiches, etc. Its lemony notes and some level of saltiness can work as an effective replacement.
However, you shall not get the same texture as that of sweet pickle relish. Do consider that before choosing this substitute.
Since capers are rich in antioxidants and low in calories, they can help regulate blood sugar and support better heart, liver, and bone health.
4. Green Bell Peppers
If texture holds considerable importance in your dish, side with green bell peppers.
Green bell peppers are unripe fruits, but it’s Permagreen variety maintains the green color, even after being fully ripe.
They have a crunchy texture with a slightly grassy and bitter flavor. It excels in nutrition factors since it is a potent source of Vitamin C, B6, and A.
You can add them to salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes in place of sweet pickle relish.
5. Mango Chutney
Rather than picking out random ingredients to bridge the gap left behind by the absence of sweet pickle relish, try incorporating mango chutney into your dish. The Indian version of the mango chutney contains cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard seeds, etc. However, you shall get several different versions with varying ingredients like apples, raisins, etc.
Pick the one that suits your dish while considering your desired taste and texture.
Generally, mango chutney has a sweet flavor. You can leverage this flavor in replicating the flavor of sweet pickle relish in different types of dishes like sandwiches, chicken, pork, lamb, or salads.
Mango chutney can prove to be extremely useful for people with anemia since it is rich in iron.
Out of all the varieties, Pascal celery dominates the markets of North America. It is sold without roots with a few green leaves. You can use the stalks in salads, stews, soups, pot roasts or consume them raw.
The flavor of celery ranges from salty to bitter, with varying mild and strong notes. With its high water content, it has a soft as well as crunchy texture.
If you want to duplicate the taste of sweet pickle relish, you will have to take a few extra steps. For example, you can chop the celery stems and marinate them in olive oil or wine vinegar, along with onion and minced garlic. Pop in some capers, salt, pepper, and additional spices to elevate your dish to get some extra flavors.
Since it is rich in Vitamin C, you can add them to your salads, burgers, and sandwiches for taste and nutrition.
Yes, you read that right. Even though cucumbers on their own are devoid of any strong flavors, you can use them in place of sweet pickle relish.
Moreover, this substitute works if you are too lazy to use cucumbers to prepare sweet pickle relish.
Due to their high water content, cucumbers are mildly sweet. With their refreshing and cool texture, you can add them to salads, sauces, sandwiches, burgers, etc.
If you want some flavor, you can resort to additional spices.
Besides keeping you hydrated, cucumbers prevent constipation and improve bone health, vision, and reproduction.
8. Green Tomato Relish
Green tomatoes are nothing but unripe tomatoes. Either they are intentionally harvested before ripping, or they are the tomatoes that didn’t ripen by the end of the reason.
As compared to red tomatoes, green tomatoes have a slightly different taste. For starters, they have a sour and astringent taste. But you can cover it by adding onions, spices, bell peppers and making it into a relish.
This relish can work as a spread on sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, etc. You can also serve it with cheese and potatoes.
9. Fig Jam
Instead of adding other vegetables, you can try your hand at replacing sweet pickle relish with fig jam.
Since fig jams have a honeyed taste with strong notes of sweetness, you can easily use them as a replacement.
Its chewy texture will work well in salads, sandwiches, burgers, etc. You can also serve it with cheese as an appetizer.
Easy Sweet Pickle Relish Recipe
If time is by your side, and you can afford to take some time out to prepare sweet pickle relish, the following is the easiest recipe:
- 4 chopped cucumbers
- 2 chopped onions
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 3/4th cup of pickling salt
- ½ tablespoon of celery seed
- ½ tablespoon of mustard seed
- 2 ½ cups of white sugar
- Start by tossing the chopped cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, and onions in a bowl.
- Add salt and cold water and let it soak for 2 hours.
- Thoroughly drain the veggies and let them dry.
- Take a bowl and add vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, and celery seeds.
- Stir continuously and bring it to a boil.
- Add the vegetables to this mixture and boil for 10-12 minutes.
- Transfer the relish into a sterilized and hot jar and fill it completely by leaving ¼ inch from the top.
- Use a spatula to remove any air bubbles. Wipe off any residue on the rim of the jars and close it.
- Take a large stockpot and place a rack at the bottom. Fill it with water and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the jar into the boiling water, cover the pot and let it boil for a few minutes.
- Remove the jar and let it cool.
- Tighten the lid’s seal and store it in a cool and dark place.
Tips on Storing Sweet Pickle Relish
Make no mistakes in storing sweet pickle relish since a small error can change its entire taste and texture.
The following tips will help you understand the best way to store sweet pickle relish:
- Sweet pickle relish can stay at room temperatures for a few hours.
- If you have vinegar-based sweet pickle relish, it is best to refrigerate it.
- You can store them in a glass jar, airtight container, or re-sealable bag.
- If you keep it outside for short intervals, place the jar in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.
Once you have opened the jar of sweet pickle relish, it is best to consume it all within one year.
What is the difference between sweet relish and sweet pickle relish?
If your dish contains vegetables preserved in vinegar or brine, you are making a pickle. On the other hand, if the vegetables are preserved in vinegar or sugar, it is a relish.
This gives pickles a salty taste and relishes a mixture of saltiness and sweetness.
How to use sweet pickle relish?
You can add sweet pickle relish to your salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, etc. It also works with meat dishes like lamb roast, fried fish, stuffed chicken, etc.
If not, you can also relish its sweetness by eating them raw.
While there are layers of complexity in sweet relish pickles in terms of texture and taste, you can make-do with its substitutes like chopped dill pickles and green olives.
If not, you can make your sweet relish pickle at home. Most of the ingredients will be found in your pantry, and it shall not take more than three hours.
So, make good food choices, and we shall see you in the next blog! Stay tuned.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.