onions - The Sisters Soiree

An Ode to the Onion

September 17, 2014 by Amanda Willis

Now this may be odd, a whole blog post dedicated to onions? Why onions, you ask? Because onions are the key to every dish! Remember in the movie Julie and Julia, Julie Powell, or I guess I should say Amy Adams, said you can never have too much butter. If you have every thought to yourself, what is in this?!, it is always butter. I do have to agree with that statement, butter is heavenly. And it is true, butter is in everything…and I mean everything. From my many years working at a restaurant I saw first hand just how much butter is in every dish. It is no surprise restaurant meals top the charts over 1,000 calories, but aren’t they so worth it?!

It is no hiding my love for butter either. But for me, my ah-ha moment of cooking is the onion. Onions are the base of every dish. When cooked down, onions have the ability to enhance every flavor. And onions are in just about every dish, (not including desserts, that is). You’ll notice when watching any cooking show, the start to every dish is sautéing onions. The aromas that come from cooking onions can make your mouth water! I hate when I hear people say hold the onions when dining out, don’t they know they are missing out! Some of the best things I have every eaten has some type of onions involved. Onions awaken dishes, especially meat or beef. One of my new favorite ways on incorporating onions in my cooking is dicing a white onion and adding it to ground beef to made meatballs or burgers. The tiny onion pieces cook down to almost nothing leaving behind lots of flavor and moisture, just amazing!

That’s another reason I love cooking with onions so much, most of the time you don’t even know its there. Onions usually get a bad rap for being the elephant in the room, so to speak, but really they caramelize and breakdown with out you knowing they existed in your food. Onions should be a staple in your kitchen, just like you have salt, pepper and a good bottle of olive oil on hand, the same is to be said about onions. From tomato sauce, soup, gravy (or any sauce for that matter) meatballs, poultry, beef, salads, tacos, dips and spreads, onions are in everything. I strongly suggest the next time you cooking at home to somehow use onions in your food. Want to see what flavor is released when cooking? Try adding a few slices when roasting vegetables or any type of meat in the oven. Burger night in your house? Dice an onion and mix it in the ground beef. Even if you make a simple side like, such as rice, try sautéing an onion first, you will not be disappointed.

Alright alright, you get it, I love onions. Now see the best ways to use each type!


Red Onions

A sweet, mild onion, best raw and is most popular in salads and on sandwiches, adding excellent crunch. Also good for grilling and roasting. Not to mention is beautiful color!


Yellow Onions

I like to consider the yellow onion to be the all purpose onion. With a slightly sweet flavor it is usually found in the base of all meals. Best when caramelized or sautéed, releasing a slight nutty flavor. There is little to no after taste with the yellow onion, so it is all every popular to eat raw. Also try grilling, baking or sautéing.

white onions

White Onions

Commonly found in sauces and cold salads, the white onion is moderately pungent and used often in Mexican dishes. The white onion has less of a storage life than the others meaning they can go bad quicker than the red or yellow. Try the white onion when grilling or lightly sautéed, even good raw too.

green onions

Green Onions

Also known as scallions, green onions are mild offering color, crunch and flavor to almost anything. Best in potato salads, soups, dips, stir frys, meats, deviled eggs and more. Try adding them to eggs or a salad for a super mild onion flavor. Not only are they tasty, they look pretty too making for a beautiful garnish!



Sort of a mix between garlic and an onion, the shallot grows like garlic in bulbs, but has the layers like an onion. But compared to an onions, the shallot is richer, sweeter and more pungent. If you were to replace shallots for onions, I would suggest using about half the amount because they have a very strong flavor. Shallots are best in sauces, vinaigrettes and quiche.


Now that you have a bit for knowledge about this lovely vegetable, I hope you consider incorporating onions into more of your meals and always having them on hand. So add onions to your next grocery list!

Learn more about onions…

Onion Poems – Onions

Best way to cut an onion – You Tube

Why onions make you cry – Chemisty


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