The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions

So I think I can top that time I peed on a wasp nest.

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

Not even kidding. I’m so embarrassed. But still kind of laughing at myself. And that’s how life should be  right? Better they laugh with me than at me. Or something. Either way – as long as we’re smiling. I guess.

Here’s what happened…

Last Sunday I got to see one of my favourite singers for a second time. He blows my friggin’ mind. That’s what I’m blaming my “collision” on, anyhow. Goose bumps, people. Goose bumps.

So I’d just had my mind blown, my soul touched, my glass emptied. And I had to pee. Don’t worry – this isn’t another hoo-haa experience. I figure one lady parts story per year is admissible. Any more than that and we’re gettin’ way too friendly. 

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

So yeah, we’re between sets and I had to pee. Thanks gin. So up I go and I b-line it for the ladies room. You know how it is when an artist breaks for a few minutes, it’s like a mass-exodus for the bathroom. Myself included. Unfortunately the architectural structure of the building had other ideas.

Half way through the room I’m suddenly stopped short. By my face. Hitting a glass wall.

Did I mention this is in the middle of a very dark, very crowded bar with no patio, smoking section or any other reason for a glass divider – a very clean glass divider – to be present at this precise location?


Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver BC & A Recipe for Pickled Red Onions- She Eats

So yeah – face plant, in front of hundreds of people and then I look down. And my glasses – my fairly new, fairly expensive, fairly awesome glasses – are in pieces. So I bend down, pick them up and look around rather sheepishly stunned by what just happened. And then I see it: The horrified, amused and otherwise shocked looks on all the faces around me.

Unlike the peeing on a wasp nest fiasco, this one was in front of everyone.

So there I am, unable to properly focus on anyone (because of the glasses – not the gin… Okay, maybe a bit because of the gin), embarrassed, still needing to pee and unsure of what to do next. Do I go to the bathroom like nothing happened? Do I run out of the bar and miss the rest of the show? Do I get angry and sue the shit out of the establishment? Nay. None. Neither.

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

I laughed.

I belly laughed. I roared with laughter. I almost doubled over with laughter. I down right cackled. Because what else is there to do in that moment than see it for what it is: Some chick just face planted into a vertical surface in front of hundreds of people and lived to tell about it.

That’s pretty fucking funny.

Even now, I’m still giggling. With a slightly bruised left eye, a now-very-large concert bill, a YouTube search history of people walking into windows and a new shiny pair of glasses, I’m still giggling.

There’s something seriously wrong with me.

So, what does this have to do with the most stunning quick pickled red onions? Truthfully, not much. But ya know – when something that classically comedic happens, ya gotta share. And when Fall starts creeping into corners of Kitsilano, ya gotta share (hence the photographs in this post). And when something so delicious as quick pickled red onions gets discovered, ya gotta share.

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These little guys are hardly a recipe – kind of like avocado toasts – but well worth the mention. I think the inspiration for these pickles came from my friend Jayme’s “Quickle” recipe that was featured in the latest issue of Nourish Magazine. And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a quick pickle? No friend of mine, that’s for sure.

Let’s break it down, Run DMC style.

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

All About the Base, ‘Bout the Base (Onions)

Any onion will do – white, sweet, Spanish, Vidalia, or even shallots. I like red though because they shine like jewels on the plate and we all know how much I like to flash my bling around town. Brittany Spears style, yo.

Red onions simply pop it like it’s hot, both in terms of flavour and colour.

You Little Tart (Vinegar)

Generally I recommend a more mild vinegar for a quick pickle like white wine vinegar. Not only is it less strong in flavour than most other vinegars, it’s also clear so the bright pinkness of the pickles won’t be compromised.

However apple cider vinegar or even rice vinegar would work here too. If you use either one of these you may want to reduce the sugar though because they tend to be sweeter in flavour.

Try to avoid regular white vinegar and pickling vinegar. Their astringency is much too strong for this delicate pickle and you’ll wash out the onion’s brilliance.

Gimme Some Suga’, Suga’ (Sugar)

You probably don’t need to add any sugar to your pickles because you’re sweet enough as is, but let’s do it anyway just in case you’re having a bad week 😉

You can use your sweetener of choice here – white sugar, brown or Demerara sugar, honey, even maple syrup. Just keep in mind that the pickles will absorb the flavours of whichever sugar you use.

I like organic cane sugar because it falls somewhere between white and brown sugar for sweetness and Earthiness and I love the grainy texture.

Accessorize (Flavourings)

As with any other pickle, you can season the quick red onion pickles with any array of herbs, spices or extra flavourings to match what you’re going to serve these babies with.

Making an Indian dish? Add a few cloves or a stick of cinnamon or even some sliced ginger. Going to pile them on pasta or seafood? A few peppercorns, a bay leaf, some peeled garlic or some soft, fresh herbs like tarragon, basil or oregano might be nice.

Or keep it super simple like I did and just let the onions cure all on their own. I wanted versatility in the finished product so I just kept it basic and have since slathered them all over veggie invasion Quiche, black bean veggie burgers, Thai coconut steamed mussels and even saucy slow braised beef stew! The only dish they haven’t made it into this week has been my morning smoothie. But ya know, that could change.

The most stunning quick pickled red onions - She Eats

Quick Pickled Red Onions

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 1 500ml jar


  • 1 Medium red onion
  • 1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1 Tsp coarse sea salt
  • Flavorings optional


  • Using a sharp chef's knife, remove the bums (top and bottom ends) from the onion and carefully slice into the first layer of the skin down the length of the onion from top to bottom so you can "skin it" without slicing the onion in half. This keeps the onion whole so you get nice rounds when you slice 'er up. Discard the skin into the compost.
  • Very thinly slice the onion across the top so you get nice rounds. You can do this with the knife if your skills are honed and you have a steady hand. I use a mandoline because mine aren't and it ensures consistency - you want each slice to be the same width so they pickle at the same rate.
  • Chuck the sliced onions in a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and any flavourings you're using. Mix well with your hands to ensure all the slices are well coated.
  • Let sit at least 30 minutes, though they do get better the longer you allow them to pickle. I generally give them an hour or so.
  • After they marinate, chuck em in a clean, dry mason jar (or any other non-reactive salable container), cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Use on everything.
  • Eat.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Have you ever made quick pickles? Do you make regular pickles? Care to share an embarrassing story of your own? How are things with you, lately?

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