Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Nutrition Articles  ›  Nutrient Buzz

A Fat-Free Super Food That's Big on Taste

Onions Pack a Low-Calorie Punch of Flavor & Nutrition

-- By Bryn Mooth, Food Writer
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Buying and Storing
For sweet onions, cooking onions and shallots, look for bulbs that are undamaged, with no soft spots and their papery skins intact. For leeks and green onions, seek produce that's clean, with leaves that are deep green and not withered or wilted. Chives are often sold in plastic packages in the produce section; look for deep green color and no wilting. Alliums with papery skins may be stored in a cool, dark place with room to "breathe" but should not be stored closely with potatoes. Leeks and green onions should be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Alliums are also available in processed form, as in freeze-dried chives or onion granules or powder. These dried variations are fine for use in recipes like dressings or dips, but are not a good substitute for raw onion in cooking.

Cooking
Calorie-for-calorie, onions pack a huge flavor wallop, whether you eat them raw or cooked. Some people love the sharp, pungent taste of raw onion—even though it can linger on the breath for hours after eating. If raw onion disagrees with you (or other people in the room with you!), don't worry: Cooking onions doesn't damage their nutritional benefits as long as you don't cook them for more than seven minutes.

As a convenience, you can prepare chopped onions in advance and freeze them in small containers for later cooking; however, their flavor may lessen a bit. With raw alliums used in dressings or salsas, you can tame the strong taste by rinsing chopped onions (or scallions or shallots) under cold water in a strainer for a minute or two. Onions can be grilled, or cooked over low heat for a long time to caramelize them.

These recipes make excellent use of onions and their kin:

pico de gallo recipePico de Gallo
Use red onion or green onions in this classic fresh salsa recipe.
 








baked onion rings recipeBaked Onion Rings
A more healthful alternative to deep-fried onions, these work best with the sweet onion varieties (Candy, Vidalia or Walla Walla).











island chicken recipeIsland Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Diced red onion gives a real kick to an interesting fruit-based salsa to top chicken or fish.









cucumber salad recipeTangy Cucumber and Onion Salad

Thinly sliced onion and a splash of vinegar liven up a refreshing summer salad.










Sources
What's New and Beneficial about Onions, from The World's Healthiest Foods

Onions, from SELF Nutrition Data

Calories in Onions, Spring Or Scallions, from Calorie Count
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
‹ Previous Page   Page 3 of 3   Return to main nutrition page »
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Related Content


Stay in Touch With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

Member Comments

  • I love onion o mostly everything I eat and so do my family. - 6/13/2013 3:27:42 PM
  • Good one. We love onions of all kinds. - 4/24/2013 8:52:49 AM
  • I usually learn very little from articles on food but this one was very informative to me! I red it moments after asking for a thick slice of red even though my sliders already had sautéed onion on them! I ate the whole thing. It's very easy to grow your own garlic by the way
    - 4/22/2013 11:32:13 PM
  • I guess they're all wonderful UNLESS you are highly allergic to to onions, shallots, leeks, chives, garlic etc - they are toxic to me! I used to think I was the only person in the world allergic to the allium family since NO ONE I knew ever heard of it and even accused me of making it up! ugh! Then along came the Internet and a search for onion/garlic allergy showed me that there are thousands like me! All you folks enjoy your onions and garlic but please back away after you've eaten them! I can smell you across the room and it's not very pleasant. :-) - 4/22/2013 5:38:41 PM
  • Onions, all types and garlic are staples in my home. I use them in most of my cooking. The article was very informative. - 4/22/2013 5:23:19 PM
  • I love red onions, Walla Walla Sweet onions, Leeks and shallots. I use them in my pasta sauces and salsa that I can in the summer and fall. - 4/22/2013 2:09:23 PM
  • I used to hate onions. WOuldn't eat them unless they were deep-fried in batter!

    As I've grown, though, I've developed a bit of a love affair with them. My favorite way to eat them is stir-fried in something, the current obsession is red onions, asparagus, and portabella mushrooms with a bit of olive oil and generous amounts of pepper and garlic.

    Now, as for sweet onions? As a native Georgian, there's only one kind of sweet onion: Vidalias. And by the way, that's Vie-DAY-lee-uh, not vih-DAH-lee-uh. Say it the second way in Vidalia, and they'll know you're a tourist. ;) - 4/22/2013 10:12:16 AM
  • Onions and garlic - can't live without 'em! - 4/22/2013 10:01:37 AM
  • That's a great idea about planting the chives around house plants! - 4/10/2013 9:38:13 PM
  • CELTICMAID
    I grow a lot of chives. It may shock you all to know that I grow them in and around my houseplants. There are always some pretty green fronds to snip and I also have some I save for the lavender flowers which are lovely over salads and dips! Some I sprinkle over large areas of garden beds and often get patches of them rather than weeds too. - 4/10/2013 10:54:17 AM
  • This is a very informative article! I cook with onions often, but thought they were just a tasty addition to meals. Now it is nice to know of their nutritional benefits. - 4/10/2013 7:16:53 AM