roasted stuffed onions

Short and sweet tonight because someone (aheeeem) already forgot that she had something she was supposed to be doing every day in November!

hollowed onionscelery and onion

I hope you don’t only allow yourself to eat stuffing on Thanksgiving. I mean, why is it that something so delicious, so universally adored (as least in our families) is limited to just one day a year? We don’t only eat apple pie once a year, perishthethought.

baconbread cubes

Nonetheless, I have decided to single-handedly spearhead the effort to bring stuffing into the everyday repertoire, and this, this a marvelous place to start. Bacon, cashews, sourdough cubes, spinach, onion and garlic are baked inside hollowed-out onion shells, allowing not just a pretty wow-factor but a neat and effective stuffing-delivery vehicle for those of you not actually stuffing a bird. But this stuffing would be phenomenal anyway you baked it, up a bird’s bum or even in a baking dish, and I do hope you bookmark it for when you’re seeking out a recipe in a few weeks.

Or tomorrow night. Because if you knew how good it tasted, you wouldn’t even wait that long.

roasted stuffed onions

One year ago: Is That All There Is

Roasted Stuffed Onions
Gourmet Magazine, November 2002

A whole bunch of notes: If you only want to make the quantity for stuffed onions, even half of this is slightly more than enough, leaving you with the option of using an extra onion or two, or just baking it in a pan.

If you wish to make this vegetarian, simply omit the bacon, and cook the filling in olive oil instead. Vegetable stock can be swapped for turkey.

If you’re freaked out about hollowing out an onion, believe me, I was too. I dreaded and dreaded it, and then–voila! I used a melon baller. Working carefully, you’ll be surprised how easily it works.

If you’re stressing because you have a lot of guests coming over, you can definitely do the onion-hollowing step a day or two in advance. The stuffing can be made in advanced as well, then brought to room temperature before filling and baking.

10 medium red and yellow onions (4 lb)
1 lb sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces
3 celery ribs, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz baby spinach, trimmed and coarsely chopped (14 cups)
1 (9-inch) round loaf country-style bread (1 1/4 lb), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (10 cups), lightly toasted
2 cups salted roasted cashews (10 oz), coarsely chopped
1 stick (1/2cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups turkey giblet stock

Make onion shells: Cut a 1/2-inch-thick slice from tops of onions, discarding tops, and trim just enough from bottoms for onions to stand upright. Scoop out all but outer 2 or 3 layers from each using a small ice cream scoop or spoon (don’t worry if you make a hole in the bottom), reserving scooped-out onion and onion shells separately.

Make stuffing: Coarsely chop enough scooped-out onion to measure 3 cups.

Cook bacon in 2 batches in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, about 10 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving about 1/3 cup fat in skillet.

Add chopped onion, celery, salt, and pepper to skillet and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in spinach, bread, cashews, butter, 1 cup stock, and bacon, then cool completely.

Roast onions: Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange onion shells, open sides up, in a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, then add 1/2cup water and cover pan tightly with foil. Roast onions in middle of oven until tender but not falling apart, 25 to 30 minutes.

Stuff and bake onions: Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Transfer shells to a work surface and pour off water in pan. Fill shells with stuffing, mounding it, and return to pan. Reserve 5 to 7 cups stuffing for turkey cavity, then put remaining stuffing in a buttered shallow 3 1/2-quart baking dish and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup stock.

Bake stuffed onions and stuffing in dish in middle of oven, uncovered, until heated through, about 25 minutes.

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60 comments on roasted stuffed onions

  1. This looks really good. My husband isn’t a fan of onions so I wonder how the stuffing would go with bell peppers or acorn squash. I’d do onions for me. I love them.

  2. Lisa in Poland

    How beautiful!! This looks soooooooo fancy, but also sooooooo delicious that I will just HAVE to try them out! Especially for a husband that thinks there’s nothing better for a cold than onions and garlic! With this recipe, maybe he won’t feel the need to eat so much of them raw! This recipe may just spare his family some unpleasant odors…

  3. I have stuffing all the time. It’s one of my favorite foods, and so easy and cheap, too!

    I love the onions, especially the purple ones. They’re beautiful!

  4. Yum… I used to stuff onions quite a bit some years ago. Try par-boiling those onion shells in a little water with a couple of cloves in it. I promise you won’t regret it!

  5. OH MY…I just found your sight~~I love your recipes! I’m a wanna be chef, at least at home. I work on creating new recipes for the family all the time. Your recipes are such an inspiration…I think I’ll be making these Stuffed Onions for Thanksgiving dinner! Thanks so much…

  6. These are so beautiful, Deb! But I’m really at a loss for the mechanics of hollowing out an onion. I’m sure I just need to try it but it’s boggling my mind at the moment. :) I think that first photo might be one of my favorits on the whole blog. You never fail to amaze me. :)

  7. Ann

    Oh, my… these are gorgeous. I’m a little scared about the onion-scooping bit, though. I’m having visions of floods of tears. Still, I think I’ll have to try this for turkey day.

  8. Those. Look. Brilliant! And nope… I do not limit stuffing to Thanksgiving. Living in San Francisco I’m privy to fresh sourdough… which makes amazing stuffing/panzanella!

  9. shel

    These look divine! I’m seriously considering this for my small Thanksgiving-for-the-in-laws this year (although I’ll be caned if there aren’t any leftovers…).

    Any conceivable way to prep these in advance (1-2 days), then just pop in the oven on the day of??

  10. santadad

    Straight from the horse’s mouth: These were DELICIOUS, and the minimal bread cubes didn’t even cause Dr. Atkins to roll over in his grave.

    I must say that the 5 glasses of McCallans may have affected my taste, but it was good!

    Thanks. We’re coming back and will even climb those damn stairs for food this good.

  11. Excellent. I am Officially In Charge Of Stuffing every year in our house at Christmas. I think I’ll try this recipe this year — which should give me, ooh, about 56 days to practice. Stuffing every day for the next 56 days! What is this, heaven?

  12. I think this is a beautiful recipe – what a wonderful presentation! Can someone describe to me what the onions taste like in this dish? I love cooking with onions, but I’ve never thought to eat them stuffed like this. It almost makes me think there would be too much onion taste, but I have a feeling it’s quite mild. Someone describe please! :-) And I agree with laura k, I think the coolest part about the pictures of the finished product is the fact that you can kind of see through the onions. They’re really pretty to look at.

    Oh and honsetly, I don’t think you SHOULD only eat stuffing at Thanksgiving, but I find that I forget about it until Thanksgiving, therefore I don’t eat it until then. I’m going to have to put a stop to that!

  13. joanne

    I adore stuffing! It should be eaten at least once a week! It’s fall and Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I went to 3 different grocery stores and everyone was out of turkey necks! I was imagining the house smelling like turkey, making mashed potatoes to go with that yummy turkey gravy. No luck. I guess everyone else had the same thought. My son was so disappointed when I told him the town was out of turkey necks, no gravy for him. If given a choice he could live on mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. Oh the recipe I use is the Sunset Magazine -Classic turkey gravy.

  14. Laura

    This is definitely going on my Thanksgiving menu! For the make-ahead version, can I roast the hollow onions the day before also? My turkey won’t be cooking at 425 degrees…

  15. Katie K

    I hosted an Iron Chef Potluck dinner where onions were the “theme ingredient” and my boyfriend and I made this recipe. It was a huge success! We made “dirty” roasted garlic mashed potatoes and put them on the plate first, then had sauteed spinach on top of that, then plopped the stuffed onions on top of it all. The presentation was quite impressive and the guests loved all the flavors and textures.

    It did take a lot of prep to make these, but with two people it was manageable.


  16. Sarah

    oh my god thank you! my partner is a chef and have have been reluctant to cook for him the whole year we have been together. i saw this and thought it looked really good so i decided to cook him a sunday dinner and to do the stuffed onions. they are currently in the oven and look and smell fantastic! if it impresses my chef boyfriend i may have to kiss you!! will post later to let you know what he thinks :-)

  17. JENI

    cool! I am making this for T-day because they are just cool looking. I love the fact that there are spinach in there too. I am always looking for ways to sneak in as much veggies as possible =) portion control people! i made desserts!

    I might replace the cashews with some chestnuts and hit the stuffing siwth some cream?

    I am pretty concerned with hollowing out all those onions though (we have 15 peeps coming and so i figure i need to make at least 25-30 for leftovers) geez… should i par boil them so i don’t have to deal with tears? or do you guys hollow under water in the kitchen sink?

    i hope someone answers me… i’m a bit late in the game…

  18. JENI

    I have a wild idea…. i am going to add “soyrizo” (which i don’t think taste bad at all) to this along with chopped lancino kale and some corn kernels. I might mix in some bacon for good measure. The main reason for this is because my turkey is chipotle/adobo glazed and i don’t think my regular herbs will go. i’m omitting the nuts… i’m afraid of soggynuts- maybe add some grains instead…

  19. Lulubee

    Just wanted to share that I made this beautiful onions last Thanksgiving. They are know securely part of my “signature” dishes. Thanks SK!

  20. AJ

    Oh my — I wondered last week why I was buying a bag of red onions when #1 it’s just two people I am cooking for, and #2 I always buy sweet onions. Still — they were just so pretty and I always get seduced by pretty at the market.

    Now I know what to do with at least some of them.

  21. Ariel

    Hey, I’ve decided to make this for thanksgiving this year. I’m making a whole lot of things a few days before. How long do you think this last in the refrigerator before I have to serve it?

  22. Gabby

    there are only 2 of us so im cutting this in 1/4ths…. litttle nervous about getting the amounts right but it looks so delicious i cant resist!!!

  23. Carolyn

    I have tried removal of the inside of the onion prior to par boiling , after par boiling all with success; however, placing the onions with just a very small amount of stock in the bottom of the dish and salting and lightly peppering, a few minutes in the microwave makes the job really fast and simple! I use a steak knife to gently cut around all but last two layers and a small fork to remove center.

    Be sure to pour off any liquid and not let the shells soak.


  24. Alexia

    So I’ve been saying for a whole week how I was going to make this and then when it came time to it, I just didn’t have time to do the whole onion cup part. HOWEVER, I did make the inside and it was fantastic.
    I just cooked the stuffing in a 9×13 glass baking dish (I halfed the recipe, btw) at 350 F for 20 min uncovered. I did pour almost the whole amount of stock over the bread crumbs though because I figured since it wasn’t going to be in its onion shell then it might dry out. We were only cooking turkey legs so I didn’t have a whole bird to stuff.
    I just wanted to pass this along for anyone else that doesn’t have time for the onion cup portion, but still wants fabulous stuffing.

  25. Michelle

    I just made this for the first time yesterday and it was FANTASTIC!! I made a vegetarian version, so no bacon and veggie stock instead. My husband and our friends said it was the best stuffing I have made. Everyone loved it. I just recently was introduced to your site and I made three other items from it for our Thanksgiving dinner. I will be coming back a lot! Thanks!

  26. This sounds like a delicious recipe, promising for the vegetarian (host or guest) who wants the stuffing, but not when it is inside of a turkey. Might try it sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Jan

    Lovely recipe! I forgot to bring mine on my travels so will be using this one this year … and I do love them at other times. For people who are put off by the scooping, may I suggest getting large onions, parboiling them in their skins for a few minutes, then cut them in half, but leave them joined at the top to stablise the shells in the casserole. Scooping the contents for chopping is now much easier. And it looks pretty good. If you’re making a veggie dish (I do), this gives a bigger serving, too. They’re good withl a basic red wine and parsley gravy

    I bet I can guess what the November project was – if so, hope it was equally successful. (My current word count is 34K – don’t know how I’m going to finish by the 30th!)

  28. Cydnee

    This is the second year we’ve made these and they are far and away the best stuffing we’ve ever had! We left out the bacon and it still had a ton of flavor. Sans onions, the stuffing would still be delicious. Thanks Deb!

  29. Vicki

    I’ve made these several times now,veggie and not, the bacon is heavenly, but my sis is a vegetarian and it’s also really good without! I also have skipped the nuts…
    I use a small ice cram scoop to scoop the onions, works like a charm. It’s so good I always make the ill recipe then bake the stuffed onions surrounded by stuffing (it also helps hold together the occasional onion that breaks a little) I keep saying I’ll just make the stuffing without the opinions, but I just love the presentation so much!

  30. Kris

    The roasted onion was a really fun idea, and using the melon baller did make this much easier than anticipated. The stuffing could use some tweaking though. 3 cups of onion was a ridiculous amount, especially given that the stuffing was cooked in onions. 2 cups on nuts was also really way too much (after looking at the amount, I used only about 3/4 cup and that was perfect. But would make this over again and again with better ingredient ratios.

  31. Lola

    I made this last night and it was so yummy, as are all things smittenkitchen. The melon baller was genius. Didn’t have enough cashews so I used half cashews, half pecans. I reduced the ingredients proportionally, and STILL ended up with a casserole dish of extra stuffing, which we just scooped from to add to our plates. Definitely a bookmarked keeper of a recipe. Thank you!