Roast Onions For A Flavorful Addition To Almost Any Meal

When it comes to tasty upgrades for your meal, roasted onions are one of those great options that make so much sense you'll wonder how you didn't think of it before. Onions are already among the most common components of any meal you make, forming the aromatic base of so many sauces and soups, or adding crunch and acidic bite to salads, so roasting them is an easy punch-up that doesn't even require extra ingredients. Roasting onions mellows them out, but also makes them more complex, for an addition that will stand out, but is balanced enough to work with a huge variety of meals.

Roasted onions are also just as simple as they sound, and you can make them hands-off while you prepare the rest of your meal. Just set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and slice up your onions thin or thick, whatever works best for the dish. Make sure to season them lightly with salt to bring out their full flavor, and space them out evenly on a pan with room between the pieces so they can brown more fully. Check them regularly and toss them if they are browning too quickly, as the time they take to roast will vary a lot by size, and they could burn if left unattended for too long. Once their light browning and starting to char on the edges, they're done, and ready to work their magic as a topping.

Roasted onions are an easy, savory topping

By roasting onions you're essentially starting to caramelize them, but with a lot less effort then stirring them in a pan. Onions have sugar trapped away in their cells, but they need some heat to break down and actually add a sweet taste. The faster cooking in the oven means they won't get as soft or sweet as caramelized onions, but that's not a bad thing. Your onions will still have some of the pungent sharpness of fresh onions, but with added flavor from the browning, and the beginnings of caramelization. They'll also be more tender while not being as mushy as caramelized onions. It's a best-of-both-worlds situation.

Once you have your tray of roasted onions, another level of deliciousness opens up to you. Roasted onions are a natural pairing with most meat and potato dishes, lending not only their subtle sweetness, but a little crunch and acid too. Any recipe where you would sprinkle some raw onion on at the end is a good candidate too, think enchiladas, nachos, or a salad that needs something savory. Roasted onions are even good enough, and mild enough, to stand on their own over some crackers or crostini with a little cheese. In fact, it really is harder to think of places where roasted onions wouldn't work. If raw onion is called for somewhere, roasted onions can do the job, and might even do it better.