Feta, Tomato & Basil Stuffed Onions
White onions cooked in white wine stuffed with tomato, feta, parsley, basil, breadcrumbs and spring onions. Baked to perfection.
- butter (to grease the baking tray)
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 350 ml white wine
- 5 large white onions
- 4 small ripe tomatoes, grated
- 170 gr breadcrumbs (or almond flour)
- 150 gr feta cheese, crumbled (or vegan crumbly cheese)
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 bunches fresh herbs (parsley and basil is what I used)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt, black pepper – to taste
Grease a large baking dish with butter. Preheat oven to 180ºC (heat above and below, no fan for now).
Pour the stock and the wine in a medium pot and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, cut the ends of each onion, slice in half. Remove the heart from each side, keep in an air-tight container to use at another time. Carefully, remove each onion layer, one by one. Once the stock is boiling, add the onion layers and let them simmer for 7-10 minutes or until they've softened and become tendre. Do not fill the pot with onion layers, cook them in two batches, if necessary. Pick them out one by one and place them on a plate, to cool down. Reserve the stock for later.
Let's prepare the stuffing: grate the tomatoes and discard the skin. Add to a large bowl, along with crumbled feta, breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and basil, chopped spring onions, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Using a spoon, mix and press well, until you get a sticky doughy consistency.
Once the onion layers have cooled down, using that same spoon, fill each one with stuffing, generously. With your fingers, bring the seams of the onion together, as if it was a large fat cigar. Place on the baking tray (seam facing down). Repeat until you've stuffed all onions.
Pour some of the remaining stock in the baking tray, enough to cover the bottom of the tray, about 0.3-0.5cm high. Bake for 45-50 mins or until most onions are golden, and some have dark brown bubbles on the surface. You should notice the stock boiling halfway through the baking time, if this doesn't happen, bring up the temperature to 220ºC and bring the oven to fan mode.
Serve hot, with a simple side salad of greens.
Vegan: sub the feta for a vegan alternative that you can also crumble.
Gluten-free: sub breadcrumbs for almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs if you can find.
What a beauty of a recipe! Originally found in Ottolenghi’s book ‘Plenty’, I fell for it as soon as I saw the picture of those stuffed onions. The first time I made them was on Boxing Day (also known as San Esteban in Spain), on December 26th. Seeing as our regular lunch for that day, every year, consists of beef, pork and chicken, and given that on this occasion I was in my aunt Merce’s kitchen helping out to prepare our family lunch, I decided to make my own (vegetarian) addition to that special day by preparing a new dish.
They were a huge success! So on the next occasion, which was shortly after, Ben and I decided to make them for a dinner with friends. And again, the onions were loved! And so it has been every single time we’ve prepared them. People love the creaminess of the filling, the combination of flavours, the caramelised onions and cheese. It’s a feast for the eyes, the mouth, the nose, the belly… and most importantly, the soul!
A few weeks ago I even prepared them together with my friend Carlota, through a videocall. We cooked together in the distance, and both my family and hers were happily satisfied with our work. What else can you ask for?
So here it is, a recipe that is not of my own invention, but a recipe I want to remember and share with everyone. If you need a dish that feeds your loved ones and yourself, this is the one.
Let me know how it goes once you try it, if you have any suggestions or if you happened to make any successful variations!