Why use shallots instead of onions?

In this guide, we will address and answer the query, “Why use shallots instead of onions?” and answer other similar related questions like “How to differentiate shallots and onions?” and “How do shallots taste?”

Why use shallots instead of onions?


Shallots are sweeter and have more flavors compared to onions. Shallots are better used in salads and recipes eaten raw where onion flavor is desired but not too punchy.

Shallots are also preferred when making braised dishes and slow-roasted dishes for the oniony sweetness that is not too expressed. Onions give a pungent and sharp flavor.

How do you differentiate a shallot and an onion?

Shallots and onions look alike and it is easy to confuse them. Shallots are more oval than onions which are round-shaped. Shallots grow in a bunch, unlike onions which grow singly.

Like garlic, shallots have cloves that are revealed when you peel them. They are red-brown in color and cream white when fresh.

Onions, on the other hand, have single bulbs and grow singly. When peeled, onion reveals rings, unlike shallots that reveal cloves. Onions have many varieties of different colors. Onions are generally purple in color.

What do shallots taste like?

Shallots are sweet and are preferred when making vinaigrette dishes that do not have an oniony expressed flavor. Onions have a pungent and sharp flavor that becomes mild when you cook. 

You would need to cook or steam onions before including them in a salad. Their pungent taste can take up the whole recipe.

Can shallots and onions be used interchangeably?


Shallots and onions cannot be used in an interchangeable way even though they both give oniony flavors. When cooking the same dish, you would have to use half the amount of shallots in a dish in which you used a whole onion. When cooked, shallots’ taste is expressed more.

When shallots are used in dishes that call for onions, the food will have a mild flavor. You can swap shallots in place of onions and it would be okay but the opposite is not preferred.

Onions are used mostly in onion soups where the onion flavor is needed. Shallots cannot offer the texture and taste for such a dish.

Shallots are saved for salads due to their sweetness. They are also used in food seasoning with little onion punch needed.  Red onions, however, almost have a similar taste to shallot but they are preferred cooked.

Are shallots more nutritious than onions?


Shallots and onions vary in protein and calorie content. Shallots have more calories and sugars than onions. In fact shallots excess onions in terms of nutritive value. 

100g of a whole onion has 1.3g, 4.2, 8.6 protein, sugar, and carbohydrates consecutively while shallots with the same weight have 2.6, 8.0, 6.8 proteins, sugar, and carbohydrates consecutively.

The nutritional profile of shallots makes them a good choice for people looking to improve their overall health. Shallots are low in calories and fat, and they contain a good amount of fiber. 

Additionally, shallots are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.

How do you pick out good shallots?


Shallots are heavy. For the same size as onion, shallots will be heavier. You can also tell a good shallot by their papery skin. They are also dry and their outer skin is continuous. 

They are best stored in dark, dry, and cool areas. They should not be refrigerated for any reason, they tend to produce a bad odor when stored in moisture. 

What are the different types of shallots?


Echalion. They can also be called banana Shallot. They lie between onion and shallots varieties. They are the largest of the shallot family and give out flavors that are milder.

Jersey. Jersey shallots lie toward pink in terms of their color. They originated from the United States and are not an easy variety to spot. They resemble french gray in nutritive value, flavor, and texture.

Lastly, we have a French gray variety. They are called gray due to their gray skin. 

For more details on different types of onion varieties. Click here

Other FAQs about Shallots that you may be interested in.

How to prepare shallots

How to peel a shallot

What do shallots taste like? 

What can I substitute for shallots?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Why to use shallots instead of onions?”  We have also discussed how shallots taste, how to differentiate between onions and shallots, and how to store shallots and onions.

Hope you found this blog useful, if you have any questions, please let us know

Citations

https://www.finedininglovers.com/article/shallot-vs-onions

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/all-about-shallots

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/shallot-vs-onion

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/8294/why-shallots-over-onions#:~:text=Shallots%20are%20milder%20and%20can%20be%20used%20if,onion%20if%20 all%20you%20need%20is%201%2F4%20onion.