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How Can I Use Green Onions?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 17, 2024
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Green onions, also known as scallions, are members of the onion genus, Allium, which tend to have a milder taste than other, “true” onions. The term green onions generally refers to Allium fistulosum, the Welsh onion. Occasionally people will refer to shallots, Allium ascalonicum, as scallions, but the term is generally reserved to describe green onions themselves. The plant has small bulbs, often barely discernible as separate from the stalk, and long stalks which change from white at the bulb to a rich green at the top.

Throughout the world, scallions are eaten in a number of different dishes, and so there are many cuisines to choose from when determining how to use your green onions. In the United States, scallions are generally used as a lesser ingredient in dishes, although their flavor is strong enough that it shows up even when small amounts are used. Often they are simply diced and added raw to top salads or soups, but they may be grilled or fried as well, or cooked into soups to add a bit of spice.

On their own, green onions can be quite tasty baked and served alone. To serve, most people slice them lengthwise to bruise the flesh, then chop them into more manageable chunks. Then you can coat them with olive oil, and bake them slowly in the oven at around 300° Fahrenheit (150° Celsius). Once slightly golden they can be removed and enjoyed hot, or added to salads or other dishes as a spicy, crisp topping.

Scallions are also used in scallion pancakes, where they are the star of the show. These are simply flour, salt, scallions, ginger, garlic, and oil, fried in oil. To make a large batch of dough, simply take one cup (237 mL) of flour and mix it in a bowl with a pinch of salt, then pour half a cup (118 mL) of boiling water into the flour and mix it, letting it cool in the bowl for a bit before flattening it out like a pie crust. The dough should then be brushed with oil, and then the scallions, ginger, and garlic can be added. The dough can then be refrigerated in a bag with a bit of oil, until it has cooled and soaked up the oil.

This mixture can be frozen in small batches to keep for extended periods of time, or pancakes can be made right away. To make the pancakes themselves, take a small ball of dough and roll it out into a flat pancake, then fry it in a bit of oil until golden brown, then flip over and fry again. Although very simple, scallion pancakes allow the flavor of the green onions to really come to the forefront, and are an excellent way to use large amounts of scallions from the garden.

Other dishes made with green onions include paijori, which is a spicy Korean salad made with scallions, roasted calcots in Spain, where they are served with a dip, and Bosnian mladi luk where they are combined with cottage cheese as a side dish. Scallions are also used extensively as a garnish throughout South East Asia, both on soups and noodle dishes. They are also used in stock preparations around the world, giving a slightly more gentle and greener onion taste than other varieties of onion.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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