Trying international cuisines can introduce you to several different vegetables and meat options. However, it is also possible that you’ll find the exact ingredient being used in different ways across the globe. One such component is a spring onion, a people’s favorite in Asian, European, and American cuisine.
Not only is it used in soups, dips, and marinades, but people also include this herb in stuffing and stir-fries. Even if you have insufficient spring onions at home, you can substitute them with other vegetables like shallots, red onions, leeks, and chives.
Not convinced? Well, we have done the work for you. Read along to understand how and when to use the spring onions substitute to recreate the same taste and texture.
9 Best Spring Onion (Scallion) Substitutes:
There is no one way to describe the taste of spring onions. It all depends on your style of cooking. Some people might find it acidic, sweet, or salty.
Nonetheless, the following substitutes will help you prepare a spring onion dish without using the vegetable.
If you are making sauces or soups, nothing will be a better substitute for spring onions than shallots.
Shallots are a botanical variety of onions. Moreover, they are close relatives of garlic, chives, leeks, and scallions. They originated in the Southwest or Central Asia, gradually making their way to India and Eastern Mediterranean.
They are smaller than onions with longer and slimmer bulbs. Even though shallots share the same taste as onions, the former is far less intense.
Like spring onions, shallots have a delicate and sweet taste with not much intensity. If you are substituting spring onions with shallots, it is advisable to use the same quantity.
While you might not get the same texture or look, you’ll undoubtedly be able to recreate the same taste and aroma.
2. Red Spring Onions
Red onions are the peculiar ones in the onion clan with their round shape and purple-red flesh. While they are similar to yellow onions in taste, they are far less meaty and tender.
Moreover, red onions are also spicier than white onions, making them a reliable substitute for spring onions.
Due to their rich color, texture, and taste, raw red onions are added to salads. Moreover, they are also added to several dishes to enhance the flavor. You can also add them to hamburgers after cooking them on a grill.
Regardless of your cooking style, red onions will surely bring sweetness and natural savoriness to the table, elevating your regular dish to a gourmet level.
Since leeks are alliums, they are related to chives, shallots, onions, and garlic. You can use them in place of spring onion in several recipes like soups, pasta, stew, salads, etc.
They have a sweet and oniony flavor that can almost replicate the flavor of spring onions.
You can either roast, grill, or consume them raw as a side dish. Apart from that, you can add depth to your soups and pasta with some eeks. They also go well in the form of stuffing, especially on festive occasions like Thanksgiving. Lastly, adding sautéed leeks as a topping to your pizza will definitely give you an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
Chives are herbs closely related to garlic and onions. They have long green stems with a milder flavor, at least when compared to their intense-flavored cousins.
Generally, due to their non-pungent flavor, chives are used as a garnish on dressings, dips, soups, and other dishes. Apart from the taste, they also add a pop of color to the dish with their vibrant green color.
While some prefer eating it raw, some might add its blossoms to chicken dishes after roasting or sautéeing them. This recipe also works as toppings for soup broth or a garnish over steak.
Even though chives have an onion-like flavor, you can add them as a substitute for spring onions due to their delicate and mild taste.
Add them in the same proportion as spring onions, and nobody will be able to tell the difference in terms of taste.
5. Green Onions
Let us get one thing straight first- green onions are not the same as spring onions. The bulb of spring onion is bigger than that of green onion or scallion. Moreover, it is spherical and white.
Green onions have a spicy and peppery flavor, which might remind you of chopped onions. Regardless, you can add them as a substitute for spring onions if added in moderate proportions.
Just like spring onions, green onions can be consumed raw as a garnish. You can also add it to egg salads, baked potato, and tofu dishes.
It must be noted that the white and pale green portion of the green onion should be used for cooking. But you can also toss the darker green leaves in stews, soups, or stir-fries.
6. White Onion
If your dish does not require extreme spiciness, you can use white onions instead of red or spring onions. While white onions are spicier than yellow onions, they are not as intense as red onions. Moreover, they are thinner as well as tender, giving you the liberty to add them to chutneys and salsa dips.
White onions have white skin as well as an all-white flesh. Due to their peppery and pungent taste, you’ll notice this vegetable dominating Mexican cuisine.
Since they don’t hold them well after cooking, it is best to add them as a garnish over salads, relishes, and sauces. Apart from the flavor, white onions will also add a level of crunch to your dish.
Forget amateur chefs, anybody who has cooked more than three times surely understands the importance of garlic in cooking. Its quintessential taste and aroma are difficult to ignore, along with its pungent, nutty, and raw flavor.
Garlic also belongs to the onion family. While it is considered to be a condiment, it is also consumed as a vegetable in marinades, sauces, soups, salad dressings, stews, etc. Of course, we cannot forget the delicious garlic bread that we devour.
It adds a delicious depth and aroma to the dish with its garlic-y taste.
While trying to substitute spring onions with garlic, it must be added in proportion since one stalk of spring onion is equivalent to one clove of garlic.
Ramps are considered to be cousins of onions, scallions, shallots, and leeks. They grow in low mountain altitudes, where they are considered to be a spring delicacy.
In terms of appearance, ramps look like scallions with broad leaves and purple stems. They can be substituted in recipes that require spring onions or leeks. All you need to do is cut off the hairy roots and peel the first leaf layer. Once done, wipe off any dirt from the bulbs and use them in preparing scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, etc.
With its unique combination of onion and garlic in terms of taste, the flavor and texture can be leveraged to use ramps in several types of recipes.
9. Onion Powder Seasoning
You can recreate the same taste of spring onion without making a mess with the help of onion powder seasoning.
It is made from dehydrated ground onions, through which you can evenly distribute the taste of spring onions in several dishes like stews, soups, sauces, marinades, etc.
However, it must be noted that onion powder might lack the sweetness of spring onions. Nevertheless, you can add one tablespoon of the powder for every half cup of chopped spring onions to replicate the aroma.
How to Chop Spring Onions?
Chopping spring onions in the right way is necessary to retain their aroma, taste, and texture. While the process is quite simple, people make minor mistakes while chopping them.
Before you get started with chopping, it is necessary to wash the spring onions.
- Place the spring onions in a colander and wash them thoroughly under cold running water.
- Transfer the spring onions to a dry towel.
- Let them dry before chopping them.
But the following steps will guide you to get finely chopped spring onions without making a mess over your kitchen counter:
- Take a few pieces of fresh spring onions and cut off the ends.
- Hold the spring onions with your non-dominant hand and start cutting them in a slicing motion.
- Continue moving your fingers towards the bulb.
- You can either chop the bulb, preserve it for later, or throw them away. It all depends on the recipe you are going for.
Is green onion and spring onion the same?
Green onions have a stronger acidic and salty taste, mixed with some sweetness and bitterness. On the other hand, spring onions are pungent with a tender and sweet taste.
However, since both of them aren’t tear-inducing, they are easier to cook.
Can you use overgrown spring onions?
Overgrown spring onions can easily be used by chopping or mincing them. You can either eat them fresh by tossing them in stews and soups. If not, you can op them in a freezer bag and freeze them for later.
How long can spring onions last?
Spring onions will not last for more than a few days at room temperature. The best way to store them is by transferring them to an airtight container and placing it in the refrigerator. This will help you use them for 2 weeks.
Can you keep spring onions in the water?
If you have to keep your spring onions at room temperature, the best way to do it is by keeping them in a vase filled with water. This method will retain its freshness for a long period.
Substituting the taste of spring onions is not easy, but definitely not impossible. If you want the same taste, aroma, and texture, we suggest going with shallots. On the other hand, if you only need the taste without the same consistency, red onions and chives will get the work done!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.