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Summery Pickled Onions

Bren Herrera Pickled Onions

Looking for a way to elevate your eating experience at home? Pickle anything. Seriously.  It’s one of the easiest things you could make that will change you look at cooking from scratch. Pickled vegetables add brightness, crunch and simple but delicious flavor to a lot of different foods, but incredibly wonderful in sandwiches. Think of all pickled banana peppers offered in sandwich shops across America. I think that’s when I really got into pickled foods; roughly 15 years ago. But they weren’t everywhere just yet. They were still a very novel idea. At least it seemed. And then 6 years ago I met a lovely Southern gal in Atlanta that has a craft pickle company. She turned me on to the secrets of these little gems of easy condiments that make life better. I bought a whole bunch of pickled veggies from her while I lived there and shared the booty with my fam and friends back in DC.

Angie was my go-to girl for pickled goodies. But being back in DC left me short of hands-length access to easy goodness. And that’s when I just started playing around with making my own. To date I’ve pickled about six vegetables and still playing with more. Celery, carrots, asparagus, garlic, cucumbers (ooh, a spicy relish I’ll share) and few more. I love them all but my fave and the sexiest of all are these red onions. Goodness gracious! A handful of perfectly pickled onions give me life! They make my burgers better. They make my perfectly fried eggs way, way better. Even my modified version the famed Cuban sandwich gets a facelift with some picked onions (or relish). Yes, they are ubiquitous and making some noise in restaurants, both fine and holes in the wall. No longer relegated to delis, you can find them just about anywhere. And we should be happy about that.

Literally the easiest thing you can make, you’ll be playing around in your kitchen, trying to pickle everything.

I started with onions because it’s the one vegetable that’s always on my counter. Though pickled onions are not common in Latin food, and certainly less known in Cuban cuisine, onions are part of our holy trinity. It was a no brainer to use them in a different way.

Bren Herrera Red Onions Raw

This recipe is super easy. It’ll take you no longer than 15 minutes. The trick is to use beautiful fresh onions. Equally important is to not overcook them. The subtle crunch is key to making a good batch of pickled onions. And what makes this condiment the best thing ever  is its shelf life and gift appeal. Keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Fill a mason jar and tie with a  pretty ribbon and gift your best friend; your mother-in-law; your non-cooking best friend.

Just make them. A bonus: they’re totally appropriate for the vegan lifestyle. Because you know, healthy living is sexy living.

Bren Herrera Pickled Onions Long

I’m so in love with these and think I’ve hooked my oh-so-classically Cuban parents. Introducing them to nontraditional foods is one of my life goals. I’m getting better at it. That or they just resign to knowing they have no choice but to eat my food!

Life is good.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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  • 1 ½ lbs red onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup naranja agria marinade (can be purchased in any Latin market… or the international section of  major stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 2 ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1.5  tsp. of cane sugar
  • 2 whole cloves


In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil.  Add onions.  Stir for about 30 seconds, then drain into a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water to stop onions from cooking.  Shake colander to release excess water.  In a 2-quart plastic or glass container, combine drained onions, limes juice, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Toss to mix everything, tightly cover the container and chill for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend.  The onions will taste best if allowed to marinate overnight. Keeps for 2 weeks.

279 thoughts on “Summery Pickled Onions

  1. Simple and delicious! My English grandparents made something very similar (with white onions and malt vinegar).



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