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Jun 6, 2013 07:01 AM

Raw onion haters: what do you sub?

So I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who cannot deal with raw onion in sandwiches, salads, dips, etc. Thought it would be interesting to hear from other chowhounders about what you've used in different recipes as replacements. Sometimes I'll just leave it out, but I've also recently started subbing in diced radishes, as they give you that nice crunch and have a little bit of a bite. The other day I made Ina Garten's wasabi tuna roll and in that case I used some daikon radish since I had some leftover and it worked very well with the asian flavors and cut through some of the creaminess of the avocado.

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  1. Radishes are a great idea. Celery too.
    I enjoy raw red onions in salads (lettuce and mayo salads) but can not stand any other onion raw.
    Regular onions have to be really, really caramelized for me to enjoy on burgers and other hot sandwiches. Never warmed up to them on cheesesteaks. Ruins it for me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      I can't stand even red onions in salads. The only time it doesn't bother me is if they're very finely diced in something like salsa or ceviche, with other strong flavors masking the intensity of the onion. But cooked I'm fine, in fact caramelized onions are one of my favorite foods. I can stand it if they're just softened, though. Once they get past the point of losing the crunchiness is usually when the flavor is tolerable to me.

      1. re: arielleeve

        I can stand it if they're just softened, though. Once they get past the point of losing the crunchiness is usually when the flavor is tolerable to me.
        Me too! There's a tipping point where they go from yuck to yum, and that's it.

        1. re: arielleeve

          Consider pickling the onions. The acid and salt in the ceviche in effect does this, but in Latin America, freshly pickled onions like this accompany many dishes.

      2. i just omit them occasionally i will use scallions, but i just don't like any of that stuff raw, not red, white, yellow or vidalia onions. not leeks. i used to not mind raw garlic, but have stopped liking that too, so for something like pesto i omit it there as well.

        the flavors are just too acrid.

        i like radish and daikon but not as onion subs. they have their jobs to do.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Thank you- acrid- good word for raw garlic. Just can't do it. Hate it rubbed raw on crostini, raw in gremolata and pesto.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I agree totally. Tip for garlic: Boil peeled cloved for a few minutes and use them instead of raw ones.

          2. I have started using the hints in this thread, which help


            but I also like to sub cuke slickes, crisp dill pickle slices, radishes and (in tuna salad, etc) celery.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pinehurst

              Celery always goes into tuna salad, but last batch I had none and used radishes (DH's suggestion-- whoa! good one) and they were great.

            2. I have found if I soak the onions for 15 min in water it takes away enough the bite that I can now eat onions in salads. I also add less than the recipe calls for. But I do like your idea of subbing radishes for onions in dishes. Jicama might also work as a sub for the crunch as well as water chestnuts.

              1. Slow roasted onions and garlic take the edge off and make for a more delicate flavor.