Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy all the fresh, delicious produce that the season has to offer. One ingredient that often gets overlooked in summer recipes is raw onion. This humble vegetable can add a burst of flavor and crunch to a wide range of dishes, from refreshing salads to savory sandwiches. There are a few key differences between white, yellow, and red onions, but whether you love the sharp tang of red onion or the milder sweetness of Vidalia, there’s no denying that raw onion is a versatile ingredient that deserves a spot in your summer cooking arsenal. Explore some of the best summer dishes that use raw onion and get inspired to create some tasty, onion-packed meals!
Health Benefits of Raw Onion
Before we crack open our cookbooks, let’s take a moment to discuss the benefits of eating raw onion. Raw onion is a great source of vitamin C, which supports a strong immune system and can help protect against cancer and heart disease. Onions also contain fiber, which is important for digestive health and can help lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, onions contain compounds called flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Give Salads a Bit of Crunch
Summer salads are a staple of seasonal eating, and raw onion can be the perfect addition to give them a bit of crunch and flavor. A classic Greek salad, for example, often includes raw red onion that gives the dish an extra zing. You can also try slicing up some sweet Vidalia onion and tossing it into a watermelon and feta cheese salad to create a sweet and savory contrast. Raw onion can also be a great addition to pasta salads or coleslaws, where it adds a satisfying crunch and tangy bite. Almost any salad can benefit from the addition of sliced or minced raw onion!
Add Depth to Salsas and Dips
If you enjoy summery dips and salsas like guacamole or pico de gallo, you can use raw onion to add depth and complexity to the flavors. Try finely chopping some red onion and adding it to your guacamole recipe for a subtle kick. Or mix diced white onion into your favorite tomato salsa for a fresh burst of flavor. Raw onion can also be a great addition to hummus or tzatziki dip, where it adds a savory note that complements the creaminess of the dip.
Try a Taste of the Mediterranean
When it comes to choosing the best summer dishes that use raw onion, you don’t have to look much further than the Mediterranean. Mediterranean cuisine features raw onion in many dishes, from Greek salads to Lebanese tabbouleh. In fact, tabbouleh is made almost entirely of raw ingredients, including parsley, mint, tomato, and onion. Most tabbouleh recipes call for red onions, which have a sweeter flavor that balances well with the lemon juice and herbs. Raw onion is also used in Greek dishes like souvlaki (grilled meat skewers) and tzatziki sauce, where it adds a tangy flavor that complements the grilled meats and creamy yogurt. By incorporating raw onion into your summer Mediterranean-inspired meals, you can add a burst of flavor that will transport you to the sunny shores of Greece or Lebanon!