Recipe: Pickled Onions Make A Versatile Condiment

Adobo Tofu Taco with Pickled Onions
Adobo Tofu Taco with Pickled Onions

Pickled onions are one of my favorite condiments. I do this almost automatically if I find myself with half of an onion left on my cutting board from some other dish. It takes all of two minutes and then you have this little jar of tastiness waiting in your fridge for a few days.

What do I do with these allegedly delicious alliums? The possibilities are numerous. They pair well whenever you have something creamy or fatty that wants a vinegary, pungent counterpoint. Almost any sandwich with a cheese component will benefit. Tacos are greatly elevated. You can even toss them with some thinly sliced cucumber or cabbage for a quick salad.

Bagel and Cream Cheese with Pickled Onions
Bagel and Cream Cheese with Pickled Onions

I like to add a little bit of seasoning in with the onions depending on my mood. My most recent batch had a 1/2 t. of fennel pollen in it which is amazing.

Pickled Onions
Yields about 1 cup
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free

  • 1 red, white, or sweet onion (yellow is ok but not my favorite)
  • rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar) to cover – about 1 c.
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • fennel seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, chili flakes, citrus zest or whatever you like
  1. Thinly slice the onion crosswise (making half-rings, not slices). They absorb the flavor better this way.
  2. Put them in a clean tupperware or glass container and cover with vinegar. Actually you don’t have to totally cover them because they will wilt enough in the vinegar to be covered the next day.
  3. Add the salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Shake well.
  4. Refrigerate. I don’t know officially how long they are safe to keep but I use them for at least a few days.


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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, June 2nd, 2008 in Recipes, Sauces and Condiments.

4 Responses to “Recipe: Pickled Onions Make A Versatile Condiment”

  1. Reply
    June 4, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    I *just* made this very thing last weekend to go w/ shrimp tacos. Alongside some Pico de Gallo and some Avocado Crema sauce, the pickled onions were a nice hit of tartness. I let mine pickle a little longer till they are completely purple and there’s no trace of white left. Yummy.

  2. Reply
    June 4, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    so….. how do you make adobo tofu?? sounds wicked!

  3. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    June 4, 2008 at 10:42 pm #

    Hah! I was afraid someone was going to ask me that. I can’t reveal what was in that particular adobo tofu, because it is so heinous I’m embarassed – though it actually tasted pretty good. But a reasonable fast way would be to start with some of the adobo sauce that chipotle peppers come packed in (which will be quite spicy), and then dilute that with tomato puree and add orange zest and oregano and cumin. Fry the tofu, then add that sauce and reduce it right onto the tofu until a bit thick.

  4. Reply
    June 6, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Michael, I love your tip about making pickles with leftover onion. Very useful!

    I was recently eyeing up a recipe for adobo tacos with pickled onions, something I’ve never tried before. Now your post has me even more intrigued. Looks and sounds great!

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