These pickled red onions are a beautiful and easy condiment using only 5 ingredients (4 if you don’t count the salt) and take only a few minutes to make. A no-added-sugar, versatile topping that adds color and flavor to tacos, salads or burgers.
Pickled red onions are handy to have on hand, and when the onions are gone you have a flavored vinegar to use in salad dressings.
There are only two quick cooking steps, and the prep is simple too. Use a small red onion or half a larger one (about 2/3 cup). Slice it thinly – with a small onion I’d have sliced it in rings.
Blanch the onions in boiling water for 1 minute, and drain. Combine the vinegar, salt and water in the same pan, return the onions to it, and simmer for 1 minute.
Place a smashed garlic clove and one sprig of oregano into the bottom of a pint Mason jar. Pour the onions and brine over that and top with the remaining garlic and oregano. Let the onions and brine cool about a half hour.
Now cover and place the jar into the refrigerator. The onions and the brine mixture will take on a beautiful magenta tone.
How long do these pickled onions last?
These pickled onions will last for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. They get pinker as time goes on.
What vinegar can I use for pickling?
I use apple cider vinegar to give a very slight apple flavor. Of course ACV has a slight golden color. If you don’t want to have any color in addition to what the red onions give the mixture, you can use distilled vinegar.
You could use red wine vinegar for pickling, though it’s usually more expensive than the other two – if you like it and don’t mind it adding red to the color of the onions.
Are pickled onions healthy?
These are healthy in the sense that no sugar is added, unlike many recipes for pickled onions. They can’t be considered a probiotic food, however, which a fermented pickled onion would be. And they probably don’t count as one of your 5-a-day, either, because they are in brine – though there are some electrolytes in the pink sea salt.
What makes the onions turn pink?
Anthocyanins are the pigment that gives the color to the outer layers of the red onion. Though they’re red-purple when in the onion, the anthocyanins turn red when they are in a more acidic environment like this vinegar brine. The pigments diffuse into the vinegar and then into all parts of the sliced onions. Anthocyanins are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, so are good for you!
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Pickled Red Onions - 5 ingredients
- 1 small red onion peeled and thinly sliced (about ⅔ cup)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ to 1 teaspoon pink sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic sliced or smashed
- 1 teaspoon oregano or 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- Blanch the sliced onions in boiling water for 1 minute.
- Drain and return the onions to the pan with vinegar and salt. Add enough water to just cover (about ¼ cup works for me), and simmer for 1 minute.
- Pour the onions and the brine into a clean glass jar (I used a 1-pint Mason jar).
- Add the smashed garlic and oregano and allow to cool before placing in the refrigerator. For best results, chill for at least 2 hours.
- Serve as a side dish for tacos, quinoa salad, or burgers.
- Keeps refrigerated for 2-3 weeks.
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