1-Hour Quick Pickled Onions


A few weeks ago, a listener left a comment one of our podcast episodes. In that episode, we recorded right from the kitchen of Jeanine of Love and Lemons, where she and I made a meal out of what was on hand in her refrigerator. It was a take on scrambled egg tacos, a non-recipe that’s pretty simple to whip up. We topped it with bright pink slivered onion slivers Jeanine had in her fridge. And, like any good taco, we added lots of hot sauce for good measure.

It was this episode where listener Amanda commented that she was planning to use the podcast in a lesson on meal planning with young adults. Turns out she’s a plant-based nutrition educator at a residential treatment facility that believes in food as medicine, or the power of food to heal. She teaches her students about eating lots of plants and how to cook, which helps them to be successful and stay healthy after they leave the program. How cool is that? I just heard back from Amanda about the class this week, and she said the class was successful. The students listened to Jeanine and I rifling through her fridge and deciding to make tacos with what was onhand. She showed them this picture of the final dish, so they could see what resulted was beautiful and delicious-looking. And she had them do an exercise creating an imaginary meal out of 4 leftover ingredients. However, she did mention that they weren’t too sure about the pickled onions.

It reminded me that pickled onions might need a little selling. Why make pickled onions? First of all, flavor: they bring a tangy brightness to a dish that’s unlike any other condiment. And second, color: the eye-popping fuchsia slivers make any dish look like a piece of art. Luckily, they’re also simple to make. Though you have 1 hour to wait, the hands-on time is only about five minutes.

What recipes are best for this hot pink garnish? More than you would imagine. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Tacos. Any taco is made more perfect with pickled onions. They’d be lovely on our classic lentil tacos, as we did here.
  • Sopes. If you haven’t tried this authentic Mexican street food, you must. Here’s our homemade sopes recipe.
  • Pizza. Pickled onions on pizza might sound crazy, but this pecan, grape, and pickled onion pizza is to die for.
  • Salads. Throw a few pickled red onions on any salad to add a pleasant zing.
  • Sandwiches. A sandwich is a perfect carrier for pickled onions; specifically, try our vegetarian banh mi.

This week, Amanda’s class will be trying out the pickled onions; she plans to have her students try them out on a sandwich. We look forward to hearing whether they’re converts! And let us know if you have other ways you like to enjoy pickled onions; we’d love to hear.

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