Onions are one of the most used of all vegetables, adding depth and body of flavour to many dishes. British onions are dense and brown-skinned. Outer leaves are removed to reveal white/green tightly packed rings. Family include red onions, the smaller, milder shallot, leeks, spring onions and garlic. Like all vegetables, the more colourful they are the higher in nutrients - so red onions add both extra vitamins as well as a lovely colour!
Season: Available all year
Nutritional benefits: Onions are high in vitamin C and fibre.
Quick cook's tip: The quickest way to enjoy onions, are chopped finely and put sparingly into salads and sandwiches, such as with vegan cheese.
Methods for preparing and cooking onions
- Chopping (see pictures below)
This is one method of chopping onions. Depending on what sort of dish is being made, onions can also be chopped in half lengthways then sliced into semi-circles or cut into whole rings.
Chop onions into the kind of pieces needed for the dish being made. Eg, stews and soups use any size. For an onion marmalade or as an accompaniment to veggie hot dogs, half or whole rings are best. The longer they are fried, the more caramelised (sweeter) they become.
Onions are usually sautéed first because the frying process removes any pungent taste and makes them more palatable and digestible. If using in a soup or stew, liquids such as stock or tinned tomatoes are then added. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
Preheat the oven to 190˚-200˚C/375-400˚F/Gas Mark 5-6 (a bit lower if using a fan-assisted oven).
Peel 4-6 red or white onions (depending on size) and slice lengthways into sections: quarters or sixths, depending on the size of the onions. Heat a little oil in a good quality roasting tin or tray. Toss the onion pieces in the oil so they are evenly coated. For a low-fat version, use a few squirts of low-cal spray. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking time.
How to chop an onion in pictures
Created with flickr slideshow.