This Italian-Style Stewed Onions recipe – it’s sweet, tangy, and packed with flavor, perfect for jazzing up any meal. With just a handful of ingredients and a little bit of time, you’ll have a mouthwatering side dish that will impress even the toughest food critics. You should give it a try!
I am thrilled to share with you an Italian-style stewed onions recipe that will leave your taste buds feeling like they just took a luxurious vacation to the heart of Italy.
We all know that onions can be a bit boring, but not with this recipe! We’re taking those plain-Jane onions and turning them into something drool-worthy with a little help from some of Italy’s best ingredients.
It’s the perfect accompaniment to any meal, whether you’re cooking up a storm for your loved ones or indulging in some much-deserved ‘me-time’.
This dish is a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors that will have you going back for seconds (and maybe even thirds). The juicy onions simmer in a rich tomato sauce that’s laced with a fiery kick of chili powder, balanced out by a touch of sweetness from the sugar.
And let’s not forget about the capers – they add a delightful briny pop of flavor that takes this dish to the next level.
To make these juicy onions sing, we’ll be using a delightful combination of Italian spices: chili powder, dried oregano, marinara sauce, vinegar, sugar, and capers.
Don’t be intimidated by these fancy-sounding ingredients – I promise you they’re all easily available and will take your onions from good to mind-blowingly amazing!
Picture this: meltingly tender onions, coated in a rich tomato sauce with a kick of heat from the chili powder, and a hint of sweetness from the sugar.
Trust me, your senses are going to be doing the happy dance as you savor each bite.
Plus, this dish is so versatile – you can serve it with a crusty bread, pasta, or use it as a topping for grilled meats.
First things first, let’s talk onions. This recipe works best with yellow and white onions, but if you only have red onions on hand, go ahead and use them – they’ll still taste amazing, but you should be prepared that the red onions, after frying, they will darken and will not look so appetizing.
Now, I know cutting onions can be a bit of a tear-jerker, but don’t worry, we’ll get through it together. Just make sure to slice them thinly and evenly so that they cook evenly and become perfectly tender.
A few tips to minimize the tears while you will cut the onions:
- Chill the onions. Put the onions in the fridge for 30 minutes before cutting them. This will slow down the release of sulfuric compounds.
- Cut under running water. Cut the onion under a stream of cold running water. This will help to wash away the sulfuric compounds before they can reach your eyes.
- Use a sharp knife. A sharp knife will make cleaner cuts, releasing fewer sulfuric compounds.
- Cut near a flame. Light a candle or turn on a gas stove and cut the onion near the flame. The heat will help to neutralize the sulfuric compounds.
- Wear goggles. Wearing goggles can create a barrier between your eyes and the onion fumes.
- Cut quickly. The longer you take to cut the onion, the more time it has to release sulfuric compounds. Try to cut the onion as quickly as possible.
Next up, let’s talk about that sauce. Tomato sauce gives an acidic taste and sweet flavor. I used a homemade marinara sauce that I prefer making it from scratch. It gives the dish an acidic, sweet flavor and a velvety texture that perfectly coats the onions.
And don’t skimp on the chili powder and dried oregano – they add a depth of flavor and just the right amount of heat.
Next on the list are: vinegar, sugar, and capers. Now, I know what you’re thinking – vinegar and sugar? In stewed onions? Trust me on this one, guys.
The vinegar adds a bright acidity that balances out the sweetness from the sugar, and the capers add a burst of briny flavor that takes this dish from good to incredible.
The aroma wafting from your kitchen at this point will be nothing short of heavenly, I promise.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- It’s easy: This recipe is perfect for beginner cooks or those who want to whip up a delicious, comforting dish without spending hours in the kitchen. With just a handful of ingredients and simple steps, anyone can make these flavorful onions in no time.
- It’s versatile: These Italian-style onions can be served in so many ways. They’re perfect as a side dish, topping for grilled meats, or even as a sauce for pasta. You can also get creative and use them as a base for a pizza or flatbread.
- It’s budget-friendly: Onions are one of the most affordable vegetables out there, and the rest of the ingredients for this recipe are also relatively inexpensive. This makes it a great option for those on a budget who still want to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal.
- It’s full of flavor: Don’t let the simple ingredient list fool you – this recipe is bursting with flavor. The combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy notes will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.
- It’s a crowd-pleaser: Whether you’re cooking for your family or hosting a dinner party, these Italian-style onions are sure to be a hit. They’re a comforting and familiar dish with a unique twist that everyone will love.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Onions. If you want a more beautiful color, I recommend you use white or yellow onions. By using red onions, you will get a dark color.
- Olive Oil.
- Tomato sauce. I recommend you use a tomato marinara sauce; if you don’t have it at hand, you can replace it with another type of tomato-based sauce that you prefer.
- Vinegar. I used red wine vinegar, but you can use any other type of vinegar you prefer.
- Sugar. You can replace it with honey or any other sweetener.
- Capers. You can use marinated or salted capers. If you use capers in salt, you will need to wash them under cold water and drain them afterward.
- Chili Powder. You can replace them with sweet paprika if you don’t like spicy food.
- Oregano. Besides oregano, you can add dried thyme or use a mix of Italian aromatic herbs.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
Slices the onions.
Pro Tip: To cut onions without shedding tears, leave the onions in water for a while, cut under running water, use a sharp knife, cut near a flame, wear goggles, and cut quickly. These steps help minimize the release of sulfuric compounds, which make your eyes water.
After this, take a deep frying pan with thick walls and a bottom.
Put the sliced onions in the pan and season with salt. Mix well, cover with a lid, and cook for about 7 minutes on medium heat or until it softens.
When the onion has softened, add sugar. Mix well and cook for another 7 minutes under the lid.
Now, add the spices over the onion. I used a mix of dried oregano, capers, tomato sauce, and dried chili powder.
Mix well, cover with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes.
After this, add the vinegar. Mix well and cook uncovered for about 2-3 minutes so that the smell of vinegar will evaporate
Our stewed onions are ready to be served! Serve it as a topping for a sandwich, hotdog, or burger. Or you can serve it as a side dish with different types of meat, fish, or vegetables.
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- Slice the onions evenly: To ensure that the onions cook evenly and become perfectly tender, it’s important to slice them thinly and evenly. This will also help them absorb the flavors of the sauce more evenly.
- Use quality ingredients: Since this recipe relies on just a handful of ingredients, it’s important to use high-quality ones for the best results. Look for a good quality tomato sauce, and make sure to use fresh spices and herbs for the most flavor.
- Adjust the seasoning to your taste: The recipe calls for chili powder and dried oregano, but you can adjust the amount to your liking. If you prefer a milder dish, use less chili powder, or if you want it spicier, add more. The same goes for the sugar and vinegar – adjust to your preferred level of sweetness and acidity.
- Let it simmer: While it may be tempting to rush through the cooking process, it’s important to let the sauce and onions simmer together for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the onions time to become perfectly tender.
- Serve at room temperature: While the onions are delicious when served warm, they’re even better at room temperature or even cold. This makes them a great make-ahead dish for picnics, potlucks, or any occasion where you want to impress your guests with a flavorful and unique side dish.
🤔 Answering Your Questions:
Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can make the stewed onions ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Just be sure to let them cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container.
Can I Freeze the Stewed Onions?
Yes, you can freeze the stewed onions for up to 3 months. Just be sure to let them cool completely before transferring them to a freezer-safe container or bag.
Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes Instead of Tomato Sauce?
Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, but you’ll need to peel and chop them first. You’ll also need to cook them for a bit longer to break down their texture and create a smooth sauce.
Can I Omit the Sugar in This Recipe?
Yes, you can omit the sugar if you prefer a less sweet dish. Just keep in mind that the sugar helps balance out the acidity of the vinegar and tomatoes, so the final dish may be more acidic without it.
Can I Add Other Spices or Herbs to This Recipe?
Yes, you can add other spices or herbs to the recipe to suit your tastes. Rosemary, thyme, or basil would be a great addition, or you could add some smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. Just be sure to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
📋 Recipe Card:
Italian-Style Stewed Onions
- Slice the onions and put them in a frying pan with a little bit of salt. Cook them on medium heat for about 7 minutes.20 oz Onion, ½ teaspoon Salt, 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Add sugar, mix well and cook for another 7 minutes under a lid.1 tablespoon Sugar
- Now it is time to add the spices. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes under a lid.¼ cup Tomato Sauce, ¼ teaspoon Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Oregano, 1 tablespoon Capers
- Add vinegar, and cook for 2-3 minutes without a lid.1 tablespoon Vinegar
- Our Italian-style Stewed onions are ready to be served!
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑