Whole Grilled Red Onions With Sage, Honey & Walnuts From Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich

October 25, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Bette Blau. Food Stylist: Sophia Loche. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8 as a starter or side salad
Author Notes

Yes, that's a salad. Not a dahlia turned up to face the sun or a Marimekko tablecloth. But as much as this striking recipe from Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich's newest cookbook, Chasing Smoke, will turn heads, the most surprising thing about it may be how utterly simple it is to make.

A few more tips: Sarit and Itamar say this recipe works just as well with other types of onions—the red ones are just prettier. And you can take this idea and run with it to scoop up other delicious things into your mouth: Sarit suggested baba ghanoush; Itamar brought up blue cheese dip. No forks and knives, please—the onions are all the utensil you need (and will leave you a free hand to hold your beer). Finally, feel free to make it ahead and serve it at room temperature.

Please note: On October 20, 2021, there was a CDC food safety alert on onions distributed from Chihuahua, Mexico, on August 27, 2021—please double-check the origins of any onions you source for this recipe (and compost any old ones in your pantry that are suspect). For more information, head here.

Recipe adapted very slightly from Chasing Smoke: Cooking over Fire Around the Levant (Pavillion, May 2021).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Hear more about this recipe from Sarit and Itamar themselves, on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes. Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Whole Grilled Red Onions With Sage, Honey & Walnuts From Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich
  • For the salad:
  • 4 large red onions, skin on
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Flaky sea salt, to finish
  • For the dressing:
  • 80 grams (2¾ ounces) walnuts (about ⅔ cup)
  • 10 sage leaves, rolled up and cut into really thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon mild chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A little freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • A few sprigs of mint, leaves picked (about 15 grams/½ ounce)
  1. Halve the red onions through the core, keeping the skin on. Brush the cut faces with oil and place cut side down on a hot grill. Grill for about 12 minutes, until the cut surface is black and charred, then flip to skin side down and let cook for 5 minutes more. You should be able to insert a dinner knife, but with a little resistance—you want them slightly softened, but still with a little crunch. Remove to a plate to chill until they are cool enough to handle.
  2. Make the dressing while you wait. Roast the walnuts over the fire for about 8 minutes in an old sieve or dry frying pan, stirring occasionally. Slightly crush them and mix with all the other dressing ingredients apart from the mint leaves.
  3. Break the cooled onion halves into petals, discarding the outer skins. Set the petals with their charred rims upwards on a large serving plate. Just before serving, thinly shred the mint leaves and mix into the dressing. Drizzle all over the onion petals and sprinkle with a little sea salt to finish.
  4. To cook without a grill: Use a lightly oiled, heated griddle pan on your stove top and cook just as you would on the fire, but beware, your house will get pretty smoky.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Cynthia Card
    Cynthia Card
  • Sagegreen
  • TKbrian
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

10 Reviews

FrugalCat May 29, 2023
Whenever we grill, there is always an onion involved- usually I slice a whole white onion thickly and we char the heck out of it. We eat one or two slices with our grilled protein dinner and I use the leftover onion the next day in salsa or soup or salad.
Will try this onion salad- maybe even with the red onion as it looks so pretty even though I generally don't like cooked red onion.
TKbrian May 27, 2023
Made it and everyone loved the taste. Used fresh sage and mint from the garden. Mine weren't as pretty (vibrantly colored) as those pictured however. I hate cooking videos with recipes, and usually its just an excuse for more ads, but it was helpful to actually see that it would wok as written. Will make it again.
Caperteewaratah May 22, 2023
Looks great and haven't tried it yet, but would probably take some of the charred edges off the onions.
Lisa July 8, 2022
We all loved it! It's truly a genius recipe that I will make on repeat. Watch the video to see how simple it is.
Cynthia C. March 28, 2022
Beautiful, easy and tasty - trifecta! Definitely keep it in your rotating list of dishes to make. Easily ramped up for large parties.
TheSeitanista December 13, 2021
Absolutely loved this recipe and I had fun changing it up a little. I would add a pic but it doesn’t seem to allow. Looked a beautiful Stargazer.
Sagegreen November 10, 2021
Thank you for this! And the video was super helpful in three ways: First, it convinced my husband this could be done, second it helped us follow the directions this without fear, and finally the video is hilarious! Great use of all the mint and sage from the garden. We love this recipe.
Elizabeth M. October 28, 2021
Can this e made on my stove? I would like instructions for that. Thanks.
aratan March 20, 2022
Yes, you would simply char the onions on a ridged stovetop grill or drying pan, and dry roast the walnuts on the stove.
aratan March 20, 2022
frying* pan