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Healthy Onions: A Staple Ingredient in Every Kitchen

The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onion is a staple ingredient in Global Cuisines.

Almost nothing in worldwide cuisine works without onions. The all-rounder in the kitchen is the onion. Whether as a spice or a main ingredient in dishes, hardly any other vegetable can be used as universally as the onion.
The complex and aromatic vegetables enrich our menu at any time of the year. In addition to the taste, onions also have a lot to offer when it comes to health. Numerous studies prove the positive effects of onions.

The Onion history

No matter whether it is soup, salad, sauce, or stew. Onions go with almost everything and are an ingredient in nearly every recipe. We all know them as a nutritious food. The onion was cultivated in the Mongolian and Turkish steppes 5,000 years ago and is one of humanity’s oldest cultivated plants. In ancient Egypt, the onion was a symbol of eternal life. Sources from ancient Greece show that the onion was already valued as a medicinal plant, and Roman gladiators rubbed themselves with onion juice to strengthen their muscles.

Exploring the versatility of Onions

Onions come in various types, each with a unique flavor profile. Here are a few popular onion varieties:

  1. Yellow Onions: Offering a well-rounded flavor that ranges from mild to spicy, they are excellent for caramelizing, sautéing, and adding depth to soups and stews.
  2. Red Onions: With their slightly milder taste, red onions are a favorite in salads, salsas, and raw preparations. They add a delightful crunch and add color to any dish.
  3. White Onions: White onions have a sharper taste, making them ideal for Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. They shine when pickled, used in salsas, or added to spicy dishes.
  4. Sweet Onions: They offer a mild and mildly sweet flavor, making them perfect for eating raw in salads or on top of burgers. Grilling or roasting them brings out their natural sweetness even more.

 So, the next time you’re at the farmer’s market or grocery store, consider picking up different onion varieties to add nuance to your cooking.

Maximizing the flavor and your creativity

To make the most of onions’ flavor and texture, here are a few cooking tips:

Caramelization: Slowly cooking onions over low heat brings out their natural sugars, resulting in a sweet and complex flavor. Use caramelized onions to elevate your burgers, pizzas, or pasta dishes.

Pickling: Submerging onions in vinegar, sugar, and spices adds a tangy twist to your salads, tacos, and sandwiches. The pickling process also mellows their sharpness, making eating more enjoyable.

Roasting: Tossing onions with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasting them in the oven creates caramelized edges and a delightful sweetness. Use roasted onions in soups or hearty grain bowls as a side dish.

Sauteed with Vegetables: Sauteing onions with vegetables adds depth of flavor and turns simple dishes into delicious and nutritious meals.

Add to sauces: Finely chopping or pureeing onions can add depth and flavor to sauces, gravies, and soups. Their natural umami taste enhances your culinary creations.

The onion is always there when you need it.

The summer onions sown in March are harvested in October and fill the warehouses. They will last until next spring. Nothing stands in the way of enjoying fresh onions at any time of the year. Only buy firm, dry, shiny onions. If you store the onions in a damp and bright room, they will begin to germinate quickly. Therefore, be sure to keep onions in a dry and dark place.

How healthy are onions?

The onion has many health-promoting effects. It contains sulfides, which are also responsible for the smell and spiciness. Sulfides are sulfur compounds that have anti-carcinogenic effects, i.e., they prevent cancer. Onions also have an antioxidant effect by neutralizing the free radicals produced by the body during metabolism. 

In addition, onions influence blood clotting and the immune system, stimulate salivation and gastric juice secretion and promote intestinal movement and digestion. 

Healthy onions are also antibacterial and can positively affect bone density. Raw onions contain a unique type of fiber known as inulin, which acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are essential for promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, thus improving digestion and supporting overall gut health.

Other essential ingredients in the onion are vitamins B6 and C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.  The tears you can get from cutting onion can even have good effects on our eyes. Flavonoids and antioxidants keep many diseases at bay and also support healthy eyesight.

Only chop the onion shortly before use. Otherwise, the sulfides they contain will evaporate quickly.

The Onion as a home remedy

Many people also use the onion as a home remedy to relieve various pains. For example, an onion can relieve the discomfort after an insect bite by pressing a halved onion onto the affected area. If you chop an onion into small pieces and make a poultice, it helps against the pain of a middle ear infection and joint bursitis. As a syrup, onion juice can also help with coughs. Of course, you should see a doctor if you have any of these complaints, but these home remedies can provide relief until then.

A tip: When cutting the onion and treating the affected body parts, the onion leaves an unpleasant long-term smell. Wash yourself immediately with cold water is the best way to get rid of this. It also helps to let a few drops of lemon juice work before washing. By the way, cold water also helps against the smell of garlic on your hands.

Onions are not only a flavorful ingredient but also a nutritional powerhouse with a lot of health benefits.  Whether you prefer them raw, roasted, or cooked, incorporating them into your diet can help boost your immune system, improve digestion, and provide essential nutrients. 

Recipes with Onion:

Baked Pakora (Onion Bhaji) 

The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onions

This vegan onion recipe is another take on fried onions, this time coming from Indian cuisine. Onion Bhaji is a popular snack made from thinly sliced onions fried in fragrant batter.

Loaded Baked Onion 

Similar to a loaded baked potato, only with far more juicy flavor, this loaded baked onion is liable to become a staple in your household.

1-Pot French Onion Soup (Vegan!)

The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onions

After cracking the code on oil-free caramelized onions, we craved French Onion Soup! So we must create a 1-pot, plant-based version that doesn’t skimp on flavor. 

Pajeon 파전 (Korean Green Onion Pancake) 

The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onion

This easy vegan onion recipe consists of scallions covered in a thin batter made from accessible ingredients and served with spicy sauce (with more onion). Yum! In the spring, these wild vegetables are soft and tender. Soon, they will get tough, and anybody who wants to pick them wild shouldn’t do it too late in the season.


The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onions

Mediterranean Salad features chopped romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion, chickpeas, and an oil-free oregano vinaigrette for a crisp, crunchy, and healthy salad.

Zwiebelkuchen (German Vegan Onion Tart) 

Vegan onion tart or pie is so easy to prepare without animal products, without missing anything if you enjoy an onion cake German style with Federweiser.

Onion Chutney 

An Onion Chutney with spicy, sweet, tangy notes, perfect to eat with a South Indian dosa or idli, to add to a wrap, or to spread on toast. A vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free recipe.

Vegan French Onion Pasta

The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onions

Inspired by the famous French onion soup, this vegan French onion pasta is a definite crowd-pleaser. The rich flavors and creamy sauce make this caramelized onion pasta the perfect comfort meal for a chilly night.


These Crispy Onion Fritters will become a regular addition to your meal plans. Made from simple ingredients you may already have. For fritters that are crisp and full of caramelized onion flavor, add finely chopped onions to a simple pancake batter and shallow fry.

Quick Pickled Red Onions

The versatile, healthy, nutritious Onions

Pickled Red Onions are tangy and sweet and add flavor to salads, tacos, sandwiches, bowls, and more. They are easy to make at home; you only need 5 ingredients! We ALWAYS have a jar in the refrigerator!

You can’t do without onions when cooking and, therefore, in your diet. Would you like to grow onions in yourself for healthy recipes?

Here is an opportunity to learn and start growing some fresh food. It’s excellent for health, community, AND for the planet. Our friends at Grow Your Own Vegetables are hosting a totally FREE event that will show you how.

Register for the FREE event today: 

Together, we can create a healthier, happier planet for ALL.