If you are looking for a sharp, grassy, and peppery taste along with a crunch and some color in your recipes, then green onions make for a great ingredient. But what would you do if your grocery happens to be out of it? Fortunately, we have some of the best substitutes for green onions that are easy to find.
Leeks, green garlic, ramps, dried green onions, celery, chives, scallions, white, red, yellow, sweet, and green bell peppers make the best substitutes for green onions.
Now, before we explore these options, let’s first try to understand the characteristics of green onions in terms of the taste and texture it provides so that you can choose its best alternative.
Quick Peek: Green Onions
In this section, you will understand the flavor and texture of green onions, its health benefits, and the recipes it can be used in.
What Are Green Onions?
Green onions, also known as spring onions or scallions, are vegetables which belong to the onion family. They are long forms of onions, having a delicate green stem and a white bulb at the base. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and all the parts of it are used in different recipes.
Describing Green Onions: Flavor And Texture
Green onions belong to the onion family that provide distinct flavors in recipes. Each part of these onions imparts a slightly different taste. While the base or the bulb resembles the flavor of a white onion, it has a sweet and mellow flavor with less pungency. Its stem comes with an additional grassy and fresh flavor.
In terms of its texture, the steam of the green onions is crunchy and tender in nature. Unlike red, yellow or white onions, green onions, you won’t get you teary-eyed when you slice them. They make a popular garnish in Asian dishes.
When buying green onions, look for firm and undamaged stalks with fresh bright green leaves. Also, check for a moderately dry texture that shows no signs of wilting.
Facts About Green Onions
- Green onions are native to Asia.
- Green onions and scallions are literally the same thing. The only difference lies in the size of the bulbs because of the time they are harvested at.
- Green onions are abundant with vitamin C.
- They boast of many health benefits.
- Green onions are recorded in Chinese history from around 2000 BC.
- They impart different flavors depending on the way they are eaten.
Uses Of Green Onions
With a distinct flavor profile, green onions make for an excellent ingredient to use in recipes in unlimited ways. They can be a wonderful way to dress up your food, or you can use them in soups, salads, dressings, dips, stir-fries, eggs, sandwiches and many other dishes.
Apart from its culinary use, green onions come with many health benefits. Let’s take a look at them in our next section.
Green Onions On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Green onions are known to be worshiped as the symbol of the universe by ancient Egyptians. They come loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K. A cup of scallions comes with only trace amounts of fat and zero cholesterol.
Some of the health benefits of green onions include lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of cancer, aiding digestion, preventing cold and flu, maintaining good vision, boosting immunity, and keeping bones strong.
Why Use Substitutes For Green Onions?
With so many uses and its health benefits, you might be wondering why we would use substitutes for green onions. These alternatives will be useful for you in case of green onions’ unavailability.
There are chances you may not find green onions at home or in the market due to its seasonal or locational unavailability. But you don’t have to worry, we have a great list of alternatives for you which will work just fine as green onions.
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11 Best Substitutes For Green Onions In A Recipe
This section will help you understand the best substitutes for green onions, their flavor profiles, and uses in various recipes.
If you love cooking or watching cooking shows, you may have come across different terms for green onions with a slight difference in appearance. Those are scallions for you. Scallions, spring onions, and green onions are all the same but are named differently in different parts of the world.
The only difference lies in their appearance. Scallions have a smaller bulb size as they are harvested early on. Due to this reason, they are tender and provide a lesser bite than green onions.
In terms of flavor, practically all these have the same taste and make for the best substitutes for green onions. So, while going through a grocery store, if you come across a similar thing labeled as scallions, don’t get confused. Congratulations, you have found the perfect match!
2. Dried Green Onions
Dried green onions are one of the best substitutes for fresh green onions as they provide the same flavor and texture. This alternative is a great option as you can store fresh green onions during their season for later use.
One of the reasons why dried green onions also make for a good alternative is that its dehydrated form not only keeps the flavor intact, the color also remains the same. You can also turn the dried green onions into a fine powder or flakes.
Thinking of its uses? Just stir the dried green onions into soups and stews, or you can use them in marinades and sprinkle on eggs.
Leek’s work as a good substitute for green onions as they taste similar to onions but have far less intensity. They provide sweeter notes when cooked.
In comparison to green onions, leeks have much wider, flat, thick, and fibrous leaves, and due to this quality, they impart a grassy taste. They are comparatively smaller than green onions and grow into stalks. The leaves of leeks are densely wrapped around each other, forming layers top to bottom. Leeks don’t have a bulb.
Leeks can be eaten raw, sliced or chopped in salads, wraps, and sandwiches. When cooked, leeks become buttery and impart a mild aroma. In its cooked form, they can be enjoyed in soups, pasta, quiche, chowders, dips, and sauces. Leeks also make for a perfect ingredient for roasting, sauteing, and frying.
Some of you might look for a substitute for green onions to avoid the pungency it offers. In that case, celery works as a good option. This alternative comes with a mild flavor and crunchy texture consisting of both leaves and stalks. Because of its aromatic nature, celery works wonders for slow-cooked foods, soups, broths, stocks, and stews.
Celery is an integral part of French, Italian, and Southern Cuisine. In French cooking, it is an essential ingredient of mirepoix (made of onion, carrots, & celery), used to flavor dishes. With its unique flavor and high-water content, celery also makes for a great ingredient for juices and smoothies.
Chives and green onions share similar physical characteristics, except that chive don’t have bulbs and the stalks of green onions are much thicker. This reason makes chives a best substitute for green onion. In terms of taste, chives have a more delicate flavor than green onions, hence, you will need to add more quantity to get an equal amount of flavor.
Chives taste best when eaten raw. They are commonly used in salads, as a garnish for soups, and deviled eggs.
Ramps are a species of wild onion which are most commonly found in North America. They are a cross between onion and garlic. Although they resemble green onions, they have broader leaves and a purple stem. Ramps are harvested in the spring season; thus their availability remains from March to April.
Just like green onions, ramps can be consumed raw or cooked, and all parts are edible. In terms of flavor, they make a good substitute for green onions as they are described as a combination of onion and garlic. Although, their leaves have a milder flavor.
Feel free to substitute ramps for any recipe that calls for green onions. They can be a great addition to soups, as well as egg, potato, and rice dishes. You can also make pickled ramps to store them for later use or make savory butter by adding chopped ramps into it.
7. Green Garlic
Never heard of green garlic? Simply put, green garlic is just immature or baby garlic. Garlic is planted in the fall before the first frost, and it starts to grow vigorously early in the spring.
In appearance, it looks like a grown version of a scallion or green onion with a white bulb having pink tints.
In terms of taste, while the bulb of green garlic might be smaller than green onions, it’s packed with a punch of flavors that are higher than the onions. Although when compared to mature garlic, its flavor profile is milder.
Much like green onions, green garlic can be used in raw and cooked forms in several recipes. When eaten raw, it tastes sharp but mellows out when cooked.
Green garlic can be refrigerated for about 5 to 7 days. To increase its life, you can wrap it in a damp paper towel and store it in the refrigerator. Another way to store it is to keep the green garlic in a tall glass of water, covering the roots.
8. White Onion
Belonging from the same family, white, red, and yellow onions make the most obvious substitute for green onions. While all these varieties have the exact appearance, they vary in terms of flavor.
If you are looking for sweeter notes in your recipes then white onions make the best substitute for green onions. They provide a milder taste but make for a great addition to salads. White onions are popular in Latin American and Mexican cuisines. You can also substitute them for yellow onions in cooked dishes.
9. Yellow Onion
Yellow onions make up 90 percent of America’s onion crop. Usually larger than white and red onions, the yellow onions impart a deep yet not-too-strong flavor profile.
Yellow onions work really well in dishes that require a long cooking time like stews, stocks, soups, and meat dishes. In recipes which require caramelization, like the French onion soup, yellow onions fit perfectly well. This process draws out their natural sweetness.
10. Red Onion
As the name suggests, red onions are one of the pretty looking onions which have a deep purple and red color. In comparison to yellow or white onions, they can be pungent and spicy and bring brightness and deep flavors to recipes.
As a substitute for green onions, red onions are best used raw. They can be used as toppings for burgers, sandwiches, salads, and salsas. Unlike other onions, red onions have a longer shelf life and availability. Apart from its flavor profile they are a great source of antioxidants.
11. Green Bell Peppers
Although different in terms of flavor, green bell peppers also make a good substitute for green onions. While there is an absence of pungency, green bell peppers offer a peppery taste.
You can also use a combination of green bell peppers and yellow onions to derive the flavor profile of green onions.
Short Recap For Best Green Onions Substitutes
After having gone through so many possible substitutes for green onions, I’m sure you’ve found your perfect match. But to make it easier for you, let me break it down for you further.
Green Onion Substitutes That Are Most Suitable In Flavor:
- Dried green onions
Green Onions Substitutes That Are Easily Available:
- Yellow onions
- White onions
- Red onions
Substitutes For Green Onions That You Should Consider Using Last:
- Green garlic
- Green bell peppers
How To Substitute Green Onions
Green Onions Substitutes
- Dried Green Onions
- Green Garlic
- White Onions
- Yellow Onions
- Red Onions
- Green Bell Peppers
- Select the best suitable substitute for green onion.
- Purchase your substitutes in the required amount.
- Add the substitue according to recipe requirement.
As we have reached the end of this article, I hope that you found the best substitute for green onions that you were looking for. Green onions are a great ingredient to use in any recipe to elevate its flavor.
While you choose the best alternative for yourself, do write to me in the comment sections about how to use any of the above-mentioned substitutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between green onions, scallions, and spring onions?
Green onions or spring onions are similar to scallions in terms of taste. The only major difference lies in how they are labeled at your grocery store. In addition to this, the size of the bulbs between the two differ. Scallions have a smaller bulb as compared to green onions, as they are harvested much before green onions.
Can I use yellow onions instead of green onions?
Yes, yellow onions can very well be substituted for green onions. However, they have a more potent flavor profile when consumed raw. Once cooked, the flavors of yellow onions turn mellow.
Can I substitute onion powder for green onions?
Onion powder can be used as a substitute for green onions, however, in small quantities. This alternative would work best in soups, stews, and broths.