Autumn Red Onion Salad

Not a fan of red onion?  Dislike for red onion will be a thing of the past with this Autumn Red Onion Salad. Sauteed red onions are the star of this hearty and colourful, cold weather dish. Approved by even the pickiest of eaters! 

Before you read any further let me preface that this isn’t a true recipe. This blog post is all about method.

Because, let’s be real: No one measures-out ingredients for a salad.

I like onions, but I can’t really say I love onions. I tend to take the onion rings out of my burger and choose to serve salads with green onions  over any other varieties. Despite the more mild flavour of red onions, they are still a bit too sharp for me to be prominently featured in a dish. Until now, that is. Out of my hatred for food waste I found myself with too many sauteed red onions. They weren’t brown, they weren’t caramelized. Just a bit of heat and oil. I was making a stir fry and realized there were too many onions in the wok. I fished some out, sealed ’em in a bag and threw ’em in the fridge.

A day later I was assembling a salad – a vinaigrette caesar that is featured on the blog. As most people do when they are making a salad, I did a complete fridge raid and ended up dumping the sauteed and cooled red onions into the salad. From then on, if you eat dinner at my house: sauteed red onions are in the salad.

It takes minimal effort to turn sharp red onions into a mellow and slightly sweet salad addition. Cut them thin, heat in Canola Oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Take them off when you start to see the colour turn (almost to the colour of pickled onions) and before they get brown. It’s that easy. It’s also a great way to bring a new spin to a dish without an expensive addition. Yay for saving money!

This salad is a lovely mixture of greens tossed in Canola Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and honey (2:1:1 ratio as per Canola Eat Well’s instructions) topped with celery, dried cranberries, walnuts, feta and of course, the sauteed red onions. I find it to be a hearty and delicious salad that preps me for cold weather meals. I chose to serve it with my new favourite wine: Cuma Organic Malbec. Not sponsored, just a fan.

Malbec is my go-to red wine as it is hearty and full bodied without being too sharp. Even with my utter lack of wine knowledge I recognize a good pairing when I experience one and my-oh-my this wine goes well with some sauteed red onions! From what I gather (they have zero social media presence) Cuma is from the  Bodega El Esteco umbrella. While I personally am not a huge fan of organic farming practices (based mostly on sustainability) I’ll be the first to admit I do not know much about wine production. This wine was recommended to me by a friend based on taste and price point and I am happy to have found it! In Manitoba this bottle is $11.99 which makes Amanda one happy camper!

Autumn Red Onion Salad

Not a fan of red onion?  Dislike for red onion will be a thing of the past with this Autumn Red Onion Salad. Sauteed red onions are the star of this hearty and colourful, cold weather dish.  This recipe is a focus on method rather than recipe as, let's face it: no one measures salad.
Prep Time10 mins


Sauteed Red Onions

  • Red onions
  • Canola Oil

Salad Dressing

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Canola Oil
  • Honey
  • Salt, pepper or herbs (as desired)

Salad Fixings

  • Mixed greens
  • Celery
  • Walnut pieces
  • Dried cranberries
  • Feta


  • Slice red onions thinly. Sautee for a few minutes in canola oil over medium heat, removing from element once they are fragrant and lighten in colour. Do not over cook and remove before they turn brown! Set aside to cool.
  • Mix Canola oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Mixture should be a 2:1:1 ratio. season with salt and pepper or herbs if desired.
  • Toss mixed greens with salad dressing mixture. Top mixed greens with chopped celery, walnuts, dried cranberries, feta and cooled sauteed red onions. Serve with pan-fried fish or chicken for a complete meal!


  1. There is no such thing as too many onions. Otherwise, a great recipe.

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