What Are the Different Types of Onion Salad?

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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 31 May 2018
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The term onion salad can refer to dozens of different salad recipes. The only real requirement is that the bulk of the dish be made up of onions. Many kinds of onion salad contain only onions, vinegar, and some spices, while others include other veggies as well. Most versions do not include lettuce and are instead similar to an antipasto salad. The onions in these recipes may be cooked, raw, marinated, or plain. There are also a variety of onion types that can be used. Cooks have the option to change, experiment, and play with these recipes as much as they like.

The most basic onion salad starts with a chopped onion. The cook usually mixes this together some vinegar and sugar and tosses it. This mixture is usually refrigerated overnight, then eaten with chicken, steak, or pasta. The acids in the vinegar and onion mingle as they marinate, and are somewhat counteracted by the sugar. This creates a delicious, tangy dressing for the salad.


Some cooks add other vegetables, and even fruit, to the above mixture. Tomatoes, avocadoes, olives, and cucumbers are all popular additions. Cherry tomatoes work well because they’re small and can simply be halved and added to the dish. Avocadoes tend to add bulk and texture, while cucumbers cool the acids in the onions. Cooks who love spicy things may want to add some jalapeno pepper slices or banana pepper rings. These should be added cautiously, though, because the acids in the onions and vinegar tend to strengthen the heat of the peppers.

Marinated vegetables can also make a delicious addition to onion salad, especially if the onions are cooked first. Many cooks like to slice their onions into large, chunky pieces and throw them on the grill with a little butter and some mesquite seasoning. This works especially well with red and sweet Vidalia onions because these two varieties usually contain the most natural sugars. The onions become warm and sweet, making them a tasty counterpoint to the tang of the marinated vegetables.

Fruit is also a viable option when putting together an onion salad. Tropical fruits, like pineapple, papaya, and various summer melons, often work best. Strawberries, blueberries, and mangoes might also be delicious. A grilled onion salad might work well with apples and pears poached in brandy for a fall twist on this dish. A touch of citrus, such as lemon or orange juice, could bring an onion salad some brightness and an extra undertone of sugary sweetness.



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