Onions are the versatile veggie that spice up a stir fry, omelet or soup. Onions are in the Allium family, which also includes garlic and chives, all of which add a distinctive taste to any dish. One of the best aspects of this root vegetable is that there are a multitude of different types of onions, allowing you to choose the variety that goes best in the dish you're making. Here are 8 types of onions to incorporate into your vegetable repertoire!
1. Spanish Onions
The most common type of onion in the United States is the Spanish onion. This round onion is known for its brownish, papery skin and mild flavor. Spanish onions are a kind of yellow onion, and they're considered the "go to" type of onion for a recipe that simply calls for an onion but doesn't specify the kind. When sautéed, Spanish onions become milder and slightly translucent. These are especially tasty for caramelizing!
Scallions, also called green onions, are a tasty garnish for salmon, crab cakes and noodle dishes. Often used in Asian and Mexican dishes, scallions can be enjoyed cooked or raw. They have a less pungent flavor than other onion varieties, which makes them very versatile. Scallions are tasty in stews, stir-fries and braised dishes.
3. Sweet Onions
Sweet onions are a great choice for recipes that call for raw onions. Some popular types of sweet onions are Vidalia onions, Walla Wallas and Mauis. Delicious in salads, relishes and garnishes, sweet onions have pale yellow skin and provide a satisfying balance of mild and sweetness. Sweet onions are also a good option to make onion rings.
Onion Fresh Pod
4. Red Onions
Red onions have a spicier taste than the typical onion flavor, adding a dash of peppery goodness to any dish along with a burst of red-purple color. This variety of onion is tasty for grilling or pickling, and it goes great in salads with flavorful greens like arugula and kale. While white or yellow onions are typically used for French onion soup, red onions result in a soup with a deeper, spicier flavor.
5. White Onions
White onions are often featured in Mexican dishes, along being great in summery salads. Their subtly sweet flavor adds a nice touch to guacamole and tacos, and they go well with meat. Tasty when caramelized, this type of onion has white flesh and thin, papery skin.
Shallots are also a member of the onion family, and they add a delicious flavor to dressings and sauces like vinaigrettes. Popular in French recipes, shallots taste like a medley of garlic and onion. If you prefer to home cook your dressings, using shallots ensures a tasty flavor for your salads and sides. However, you can also substitute shallots for other types of onions if that's what you have on hand.
Leeks are another popular type of onion for cooking. Although they look similar to scallions, they are a completely different plant and are best enjoyed cooked rather than raw. Leeks are a yummy choice for soup, stir fry or grill, and they add a nice flavor to pasta dishes as well.
8. Pearl Onions
Last but not least, pearl onions are the small, sweet onions that are delicious when pickled. A perfect garnish for a martini, pearl onions are an underrated type of onion. These mild but sweet onions are yummy when added to gravy, casserole or stew.
Watch: How to Chop an Onion