Kicking off a recipe by gently frying an onion or two is the base of pretty much every cuisine around the world. Whether slow cooked to caramelised perfection, pickled and sprinkled over salads or starting off a delicious soup, you’d be hard-pressed to find a recipe that doesn’t contain onions.
The good news is that onions, along with other members of the allium family like garlic, are nutrition powerhouses, with prebiotic fibres to support our gut microbes, powerful anti-inflammatory flavonoids like quercetin, and sulphur-containing compounds which aid the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, in our cells.
Onions and garlic have been identified as foods that possess cancer-preventive properties. While all onions are good, red onions may have a nutritious edge over their white and yellow cousins.
Here are two recipes for you to try:
Beetroot and Coconut soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tsp ground cumin
Few sprigs of fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 medium cooked beetroots, chopped
1 carrot, grated
600ml vegetable or chicken stock
400ml tin of coconut milk Salt and black pepper to season
Dash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
Gently soften the onions in oil. Add garlic, cumin and herbs and cook, stirring for a further five minutes. Add the vegetables to the pan and raise the heat, stirring well. Add the stock, coconut milk and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 15- 20 minutes. Once everything
is cooked blend until smooth, season and finally add either a dash of vinegar or lemon juice.
Tip: Blend in a can of drained and rinsed white beans for added protein.
Thai Green Curry
3 onions, peeled and cut into thick wedges
2 green chillies, deseeded 3cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped
5 cloves of garlic
Juice and zest of one lime 2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp each cumin, turmeric, paprika and black pepper 4 tbsp olive, 2 tbsp water
1 large aubergine, cubed 300g firm tofu, cubed (or use four skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 400g, cut into small pieces)
1 red pepper, sliced 400ml tin of coconut milk 1 stem lemongrass, sliced lengthways, leaving the root intact
2 tbsp tamari or soya sauce 40g fresh coriander, chopped
To make the curry paste, blend one onion, chillies, ginger, garlic, lime zest and all the spices with 1 tbsp of olive oil and the water in a food processor. Heat the remainder of the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, toss in the rest of the onions and stir well. Add the aubergines, tofu or chicken and curry paste. Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the red pepper and stir again. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the coconut
milk, tamari and lemongrass and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and add the lime juice and fresh coriander. Serve with brown basmati rice.
Tip: The tofu can be marinated in lime juice and spices in advance to enhance the flavour, or buy ready marinated tofu chunks.
Penny Brohn UK Chapel Pill Lane, Pill, Bristol, BS20 0HH
Tel: 0303 3000 118
© Penny Brohn UK is the working name of Penny Brohn Cancer Care.