Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite ways to add dimension and flavor to any basic meal. Making chicken? Fish? Tempeh? Add some caramelized onions. They pretty much go with every protein out there. Sometimes I mix them into a pilaf (rice, millet, quinoa), on top of potatoes, or in a big salad. And they're awesome with eggs for breakfast.

Here's how I do it: slice up 3-4 onions (it looks like a lot but they shrink!) and put into a pan coated in a high-heat oil (I like Chosen Foods avocado oil). 

Liberally sprinkle salt over onions. You also have the option to add a dash of sweetener along with the salt. If I choose to do this, I usually use drop of stevia, or a teaspoon of honey, real maple syrup, or coconut sugar.

Now, here's the hard part: allow to sit over medium flame for A WHILE. No mixing or messing with. You'll disturb the caramelization process. Seriously, do not rush this.

After about 10 minutes you can stir em up a little, and let them sit again until they start caramelizing (they'll get brown and sort of sticky). 

Once the caramelization starts to happen, it happens quickly. You sit around waiting and waiting and waiting and then BOOM. This is because the onions have reached a set-point in the heating process where pyrolysis starts to happen. Which means: the heat starts breaking down the sugars in the onions into smaller compounds, which causes the browning reaction. Once you've reached this point, you still have to sit-n-stir, sit-n-stir, but not quite as long as in the beginning. You'll see, and you'll get the hang of it. Just watch that it doesn't burn. Once the brown magic starts to happen, keep your eye on it. You're almost there.

The whole process can take up to 20-25 minutes to be done properly, but most of it is babysitting. 

And did you know...onions are good sources of flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. Flavonoids are higher in the onion's OUTER layers, so don't overpeel when you prep!


3-4 large onions, sliced

2-3 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil 

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon sweetener such as honey, coconut sugar, or pure maple syrup OR a drop of stevia (optional)

1. Coat pan with oil.

2. Add onions and salt (and sweetener if using) and mix thoroughly.

3. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

4. Mix again and allow to sit several more minutes, or until a brown caramelization forms.

5. Continue mixing and resting until the onions are completely caramelized.