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Whether you’ve gotten a bundle of spring onions in your CSA box or have noticed them at your local market, this is one ingredient you don’t want to miss this spring and summer! Find out what spring onions are and get spring onion recipe ideas all right here. 

One spring onion sliced in half and ready to cook.

Occasionally I like to do ingredient spotlights here on the blog. It’s a great way to get to know a seasonal ingredient better! Spring onions are in season now, and you may have already noticed them in the markets. They look a lot like green onions or scallions, but they are different.

Spring onions are most often found in farmers’ markets, but I can usually find them at Whole Foods too. They may be a little more difficult to find in other mainstream grocery stores. Spring onions add wonderful fresh flavor to salads and sandwiches when sliced and eaten raw, and delicious sweet, savory, and mild flavor when cooked. I  love adding them to the grill at BBQs, roasting for a side dish, or adding to risotto, pasta, and pizza. Let’s look at what exactly spring onions are and some of the best recipes that use them. Plus a current lunch favorite: hummus toasts with charred spring onions!

What is the Difference Between Spring Onions, Green Onions, and Scallions?

bunches of spring onions and green onions or scallions so you can see the difference between the two.

So, what exactly is a spring onion? Spring onions are just baby onions. Yes, the “normal” onion bulbs you buy from the grocer store dried without tops. If you’ve never seen onions growing in a garden or freshly picked and piled up at a farmers market, you may not really think of them as having tall green leaves, but they do! Onions are bulbs that grow underground, while their green parts grow aboveground. Spring onions have a wonderfully mild, sweet, and savory flavor, and both the bulbs and the tops can be used. The skin around the bulbs can be either purple, as mine here are, or white.

I bought a bunch of spring onions and green onions at Whole Foods to show you the difference in the image above. Spring onions are larger, and have larger bulbs, than the green onions or scallions you may be more familiar with. Scallions are actually a different variety and their bulbs stay straight and narrow. Both are sold in bunches and do look similar. Since there’s more to love/cook, spring onions are fantastic charred on a grill, roasted, or pan fried. The flavor reminds of a combination between onions, pearl onions, and leeks.

How to Cook Spring Onions

Spring onions get charred on a stovetop skillet.

Spring onions are a delicious way to add flavor to many, many dishes. They can be sliced and eaten raw and crunchy, or cooked. I love the raw sliced rounds on salads and in sandwiches. Cut off any of the little hair-like roots at the bottom of the bulb. Cut the spring onions in half lengthwise, and brush with olive oil. Cook on the grill, roast in the oven or char in pan.

Grilled spring onions on toast with hummus, basil, and edible borage flowers.

Tired of avocado toast? Try charred spring onion toast! This was such a delicious snack! Fresh sliced French bread slathered with hummus and topped with pan seared spring onions.

A plate with two pieces of toast topped with hummus, grilled spring onions, and fresh basil for an easy vegan spring lunch or snack.

Spring Onion Recipes

You can come up with your own unique spring onion recipes by adding them raw or cooked to your favorite recipes! Here are over 15 vegetarian spring onion recipes to get you started.

Grilled Asparagus and Spring Onions with Lemon Dressing from Bon Appetit

Spring Panzanella Salad on Savory Simple

My Favorite Green Salad on This Healthy Table

Espresso Braised Spring Onions on With Food and Love

Charred Spring Onion, Ricotta, and Baby Artichoke Pizza on Cooking Light

Rhubarb, Chrvre, and Caramelized Spring Onion Grilled Cheese on Adventures in Cooking

Creamed Chard and Spring Onions on Smitten Kitchen

Butter-Braised Spring Onions with Lots of Chives on Epicurious

Deep Fried Spring Onions on New York Times

Spring Onion Soup from Veg Recipes of India

Chicken and spring onion stir-fry (I would sub tofu) from Taste.com.au

Potato and Spring Onion Soup from Saveur

Spring Onion Pie from MyRecipes

Fried Spring Onions with Calabrian Chile Aoili from Tasting Table

Savoury Crepes (vegan) from Vegan Lovli

Vegan Crispy Duck Lettuce Wraps from Rhian’s Recipes

Spring Onion Toasts

Crusty sourdough or French bread toasts with hummus and charred spring onions are a delicious lunch or snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 spring onion, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 slices fresh crusty French or sourdough bread, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons favorite hummus
  • fresh basil, other herbs, or arugula

Directions:

Trim the top 2-3″ off the spring onion greens. Cut off any of the little hair-like roots at the bottom of the bulb. Cut the spring onion in half again crosswise. Coat a cast iron skillet with cooking spray or  olive oil and place over medium heat. Place the onions cut-side-down on the hot skillet and sprinkle with sea salt. Sear until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until tender, another minute or two.

Spread hummus over the toast and place spring onions on top. Garnish with fresh herbs or arugula.