Today I have a fun new recipe for you all–Balsamic Baked Red Onions. I actually have never made baked onions before (in fact I have never done much at all with red onions), but well, here's how this recipe came to be.
I'm all about saving money, and that means that whenever possible I try to buy everything in bulk.
And I do mean just about everything.
I sometimes make mistakes and overbuy something (some things do go to waste), but overall I think I do a pretty good job of taking advantage of low prices and using up pretty much all that we purchase before it goes bad.
Having a few deep freezers has really helped us take advantage of savings like these.
Here are some examples of things that I buy in bulk.
All grains (we don't buy as many grains these days since we're eating more low carb, but I do still buy some)
Spices (I tend to purchase spices in at least 1/4 pound sizes, if not 1 pound sizes)
Salt (I buy huge bags of Real Salt)
Chicory and Dandelion Root for my DIY Coffee Substitute
Fruits and Vegetables (either from a store sale or at the end of the day at the Farmer's Market)
Meat – whenever I get deals on Free Range Leg of Lamb, Free Deer Meat and more.
I even bought Bulk Organic Cocoa this past month — might have overdone it, but we do love it around here!
The Bulk Red Onions Purchase
Anyhow, I just participating in a food group buy a few months ago with Azure Standard. If you haven't worked with Azure before, you really should check them out. They have great deals and fabulous customer service.
So this past month, they had an amazing deal on Organic Red Onions.
I really hadn't ever done much with red onions before, but when there's a huge deal on something, I try to figure out what I can do to take advantage of the deal.
So I asked friends what I could do with all of these onions (it was a LOT — 50 pounds!) and most of them said that I would have to freeze or dehydrate them, and that if you dehydrate them your house can easily reek for weeks.
Now, I am kind of OK with that because I have my trusty DIY Purify Essential Oils Blend that is great for all kinds of unwanted scents, but I really wanted to figure something else out.
So I turned to the internet.
The Baked Red Onions Recipe
We've been trying to mix it up by changing up our vegetable dishes recently. We get in a rut having the same thing over and over again (think salads, broccoli and cauliflower rice) so I was really excited to try something new.
Baked Red Onions was the recipe that most intrigued me, though there are a few more that I thought I might try.
So I bought them….all 50 pounds of them.
Much to my “totally don't love cooked onions” oldest son's chagrin.
I tried a few recipes that I found online, but they all weren't quite right, so I upped the seasonings and added in a few things, and well, the resulting Balsamic Baked Red Onions recipe was a real hit with everyone. Except for my oldest. Sigh. I guess there's no way around that no matter how lovely the onions are :).
Red Onions are sweeter than yellow or white onions, so they typically are used in recipes where fresh onions are called for, like this AIP Guacamole. AIP stands for either Autoimmune Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol. The diet restricts certain food groups that are considered to cause inflammation. I will be writing more about it in the future.
But they have a lovely flavor when cooked and they really shine with the seasonings in this dish, plus they have lots of nutritional benefits to them.
Benefits of Red Onions
You'll notice from the photos that I left the peels on for baking.
There are several reasons for this.
One – they are pretty. I like the way that they look baked with the peels on :). And pretty is good for your health.
Two – they are easier to eat this way. My son commented on this — if you bake these without the peels, they can turn to mush and be kind of hard to eat, but this way they have a nice little “container” that holds the onion halves for you on your plate.
Three – so much of the nutritional benefits of red onions lurks near the peel. In fact “a red onion can lose about 20% of its quercetin and almost 75% of its anthocyanins if it is ‘overpeeled.'” (source)
By baking the onions in their peels, you will be more likely to eat all of the onion, rather than tossing the nutritious part just below the peel.
There is a lot of attention on greens in the nutritional world, but the humble onion is a nutritional powerhouse on its own.
Just look at some of the nutritional benefits of red onions. One serving has:
1.5 grams of fiber
Vitamins and minerals including folate, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and vitamins C, K and B-6
Flavonoids, the most important of which is quercetin, a substance which has been linked to the reduction of stroke and heart diease (source)
Red onions are also one of the best sources of chromium. (source)
So on with the recipe.
I made a double batch of these Baked Red Onions, and we gobbled them up.
Since then, we've made them numerous times, and they keep disappearing.
They are great on their own, plus they make a fabulous topping for your favorite dishes. Just this week we've baked the onions, and then chopped them and added them on top of our current favorite chili recipe (recipe coming soon).
A cross between sweet and savory, these Balsamic Baked Red Onions are a gorgeous colorful side dish--perfect for every day or entertaining.
- 2 pounds small to medium red onions
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 T balsamic vinegar (use 1 T apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar plus 1/2 tsp xylitol for low carb)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika (regular is OK too but smoked is nicer-see notes for AIP)
- 2 T sweetener (maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar for AIP, xylitol or erythritol for low carb)
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste) (I use Real Salt)
- Wash onions.
- Cut onions in half.
- Mix other ingredients and pour over onions.
- Toss to coat.
- Bake in 450 oven for 30-40 min (40 makes them softer and easier to digest). Alternatively, bake at 350 for 1 hour or more to desired doneness.
- Serve with the skins on and the extra balsamic liquid either drizzled on top or offered on the side.
Oil choice: I recommend choosing an oil based on its smoke point, and avocado oil has a very high smoke point. Please choose your oil based on the oven temperature that you will be using.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. It's great for an every day side dish and pretty enough for a special occasion as well.