DIY: Homemade Lebanese Pickled Turnips

Last time my mom visited me, I learned how to make the simple Lebanese pickles that I love: just cucumbers, vinegar, salt, and garlic.

This time around, I wanted to take it to the next level by learning how to make delicious Lebanese pickled turnips (“lefet”). It’s so easy, and so worth it. Should take 20-30 minute tops! A perfect project for a rainy afternoon that will feel so satisfying. Here’s the recipe:


  • 4 large turnips
  • 1 small beet
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • One loaf of pita bread
  • 1.5 tsp sugar, heaping
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp rock salt, heaping
  • 1 Large jar, about 2 qt.


1. Place a layer of pita bread at the bottom of the jar. This should cover the base.

2. Pour 1 tsp of sugar over the bread.

3. Peel and cut one beet in half, then quarter that half. Place one piece on the bread and sugar, and save one piece for later. Add 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar into the jar.

4. Peel and slice the turnips.  You want thin slices that aren’t too large. Place the turnips in a wide pan.

5. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water and 4 tbsp of rock salt to a boil. As the water begins to get hot, stir the salt until it melts completely.

6. Pour the water over the turnips. Make sure all the pieces are in the water. Let the, rest in the hot water for a minute or two.

7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the turnip pieces to the jar. Press down with the spoon so they’re compact and you can add more.

8. Pour the hot water into the jar to cover the turnips completely. Press down again to make sure it’s compact. Discard any water remaining.

9. Add the second beet piece on top of the turnips, and press it down with a wooden spoon. Watch with delight as the water begins to turn pink.

Around 15 minutes after sealing the jar
A little less than two hours after sealing the jar

10. Seal the jar and wait 10-12 days keeping it at room temperature before opening it again. Refrigerate after opening.


Here’s my family’s recipe for the perfect cucumber pickles.

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