If you watch my Instagram step-by-step cooking stories, it should come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of grilled onions. If I’m firing up my Traeger grill, or any other grill for that matter, I will undoubtedly throw on some thick, red onion rings.
They’re super easy to prepare, cook quickly and are absolutely delicious. The natural sugars in the onions caramelize and sweeten, and I can’t get enough of the wood-fired flavour from cooking them on my Traeger.
Most times, I’ll simply brush the onion rings in some oil and season them with salt and pepper before grilling. This time, I tried something a bit different and the results were nothing short of amazing.
Rather than season the onions before grilling, I marinated them afterwards in some extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh oregano and salt and pepper. The warm, grilled onions soaked up all of the flavours like delicious little sponges.
There are two small but significant steps to note here. First, I like to cut the onion rings fairly thick, about 1”, so that they hold together on the grill a bit better and so that they don’t get too soft. I serve these onions as a vegetable side dish so I like it when they have some texture. The outside chars a bit, caramelizes and softens, and the inside stays juicy and crunchy.
Secondly, I don’t season them with salt before cooking. This too has to do with texture. Salt will draw out moisture from the onions and soften them while they cook. This is one of the only times I will advise against salting before cooking, but here it works for the texture I’m trying to achieve.
If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the onions on your stovetop using a grill pan. I always recommend this Lodge model, which is a great value. It does require some cast-iron maintenance, but it will last forever if you take care of it.
For an enamel-coated cast-iron grill pan, I recommend this Staub model. It’s more expensive, but it doesn’t require maintenance and is an heirloom piece of cookware that will also last forever if taken care of.
Grilled Onions with Balsamic
- 1.5 pounds red onions about 4 medium onions, cut into 1” rings
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar preferably aged
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano finely chopped, or substitute fresh thyme, marjoram, parsley, dill, basil, or chives
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. If using a Traeger, preheat to 425F for 10 minutes.
- Brush both sides of each onion ring with avocado oil. Grill over direct heat until slightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat and serve warm.