By Bridget Oland

When I was growing up, onions were an unassuming kitchen staple.  Sliced and diced, they disappeared into dishes, leaving nothing but a little flavour. But all that changed when I moved to France after university. It was there I discovered this vegetable could star in a meal.

Pizza au onion (onion pizza) seemed like a bit of a joke when I spied it on the menu at a little bistro in eastern France, but one bite in I was converted. Who knew that onions could be so sweet? That revelation convinced me that this cheap and humble vegetable could stand on its own in any dish.

Years later, a friend wrote to me about roasting onions whole “until their shoulders slump.” By that time caramelized onions were standard fare in our house, the star of galettes and the occasional pizza. The idea of roasting them whole sounded like a delicious, easy way to use onions as a vegetable side dish.  Any size onion works with this recipe, although I prefer small- to medium-size onions. The dressing is optional.

Roasted Red Onions with Walnut Dressing, Courtesy of Bridget Oland,, Rothesay, N.B.

Serve these sweet, caramelized onions as a main or as a side dish to complement a hearty meat entrée.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings

1tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
pinch sea salt
pinch pepper
4 red onions (small or medium), tops and bottoms removed
1/2 tsp (2 mL) chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme or oregano)

Walnut Dressing
1/3 cup (75 mL) walnut oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
1½ tsp (7 mL) fancy molasses
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
3. Starting at top and stopping 1/2 inch (1 cm) from bottom, slice an “X” into each onion cutting it in quarters.
4. Place onions on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently pull wedges slightly apart; drizzle with oil mixture.
5. Bake for 50 minutes, or until fork-tender. (Cooking time will vary depending on size and  freshness of onions.)
6. Sprinkle with herbs and drizzle with Walnut Dressing just before serving.

Walnut Dressing
1. In Mason jar, combine walnut oil, cider vinegar, molasses , salt and pepper. Shake well.
2. Drizzle over onions.

Tip: Try substituting plum vinegar or sherry vinegar for the balsamic vinegar.

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Bridget’s Green Kitchen 
Bridget Oland is a creative home cook and mom of two young kids who shares recipes for wholesome everyday food that’s family friendly, eco-friendly and easy to prepare. Her blog, posts green-living tips to help readers make planet-healthy choices as they prepare great food.