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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle

Don't Cry For Onions

Even if onions make you cry, this versatile vegetable is a great addition to many recipes and your diet. Onions are in the family of alliums, including chives, shallots, leeks, and garlic. Today's post will focus on dry onions, those with large bulbs. I will save green onions and scallions for another time.

Nutritionally, 1 large onion (about 1 cup chopped) contains around 60 calories, 14g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and phosphorous. Like other veggies, onions are not a significant source of fat, protein, or sodium. Some research suggests flavonoids in onions may reduce risk of diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

  • Buy: Choose onions that are firm, with dry, papery skins. Avoid those with cuts, bruises, soft spots, wrinkled skins, or mold.
  • Store: Leave uncut onions at room temperature in a dark, cool place. They should keep for several weeks. Avoid storing onions and potatoes near each other; both will spoil faster. Once cut, store any remaining onion in a refrigerator in a covered container and use within a week.
  • Prepare: Peel onions and remove skins. Cut into desired sizes to use in recipes. The National Onion Association has an informative video on How to Cut an Onion.
  • Eat: Onions are a very versatile vegetable that can be used in most all savory dishes. Onions can be eaten raw or cooked, with red onions often eaten raw and yellow and white onions most often used cooked. Add to soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries, sauces, cold salads, etc. Try on the grill with other veggies this summer.

TRIVIA: Chopping onions releases a sulfur-based compound. These compounds are what make our eyes tear.


Quick Summer Salad (Serves 4)

This recipe is courtesy of Jessica Gadomski, SNAP-Ed Educator in DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties: "not really formal but light and refreshing." Pair this salad with grilled steak and corn-on-the-cob.

1/2 medium red onion
1 medium cucumber
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (look for yellow tomatoes for a fun contrast of colors)
1/4 cup Italian vinaigrette dressing
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Wash vegetables. Chop onion and cucumber. Cut tomatoes in half. Combine in a bowl.
2. Toss with dressing and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutritional analysis per serving (prepared without salt): 70 calories, 4g fat, 150mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein

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