Most recipes I do or want to do start with oil and onion. Allergies to onions. Any otheeopter

I need an option to onion.

cdncowboy
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6 Comments

drbabs December 5, 2021
I feel your pain. I love garlic, but garlic hates me, so I’m always trying out substitutes. When you sauté onion in oil, you get sweetness, sharpness, and the Maillard reaction that comes from browning. You could sauté other vegetables in oil to browning to get a similar taste. I’m thinking of sweet peppers, carrots, fennel, celery, mushrooms etc. I also add some Worcestershire sauce to almost everything. It just enhances the taste for me. Another game changer for me this fall is that I made and froze a batch of River Cottage bouillon mix. https://food52.com/recipes/64146-the-river-cottage-s-vegetable-bouillon-a-k-a-souper-mix You can adjust it to your situation by eliminating the leek. I have eliminated the garlic and the cilantro. I also use MUCH less salt and keep it in the freezer (The small souper cubes that are sold in the Food52 shop are perfect for this.) I put a tablespoon or two into just about everything I make, and it just enhances the flavor in interesting ways. Also, acid is your friend. Depending on what you make, a squirt of lemon or lime, a splash of vinegar, a little white wine will also enhance the flavor so that you don’t miss the onion so much. Good luck.
 
Nancy December 5, 2021
DrBabs - thanks for these good ideas. Another fan of the River Cottage bouillon mix...great and adaptable to people's tastes, diets! And yes, acid.
 
drbabs December 5, 2021
Thanks for your great ideas also, Nancy.
 
Nancy December 4, 2021
For VOLUME and MILD VEGETABLE FLAVOR sautéing and starting many sauces or stews, you could use chopped celery and/or fennel.
For the SHARP TASTE onion gives a dish, experiment with small amounts of bitter greens like arugula or watercress, herbs like horseradish or wasabi.
For HERBAL FLAVOR notes of onion, use interesting herbal seeds like caraway, fennel, anise and/or cumin...depending on what you like and what else is in a particular dish.
 
Lori T. December 4, 2021
You might consider using a spice called Asofetida, aka Hing, if you are Hindi. It is added to oil and has an oniony-garlicky sort of taste. You can get it in powder form in stores selling Indian foods, or order it online. Yeah, it has a slightly funky odor but not taste. You don't need much, not more than maybe a pinch or 1/4 teaspoon, heated up in the oil. Mind, it's not for fresh eating, like in a salad. If it's the sweetness you are after, then maybe using some chopped bell pepper could work too. If you saute the bell pepper with a pinch of the asafetida, you could get a close approximation.
 
kddayton December 26, 2021
Completely agree, and even if you're not Hindi it's a wonderful ingredient to have around. I have family members who despise onions and garlic, but both they and I will love a dish made with asafoetida in its place!
 
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