Caramelized Red Onion Chutney is a sweet and sour relish that's the perfect addition to your grilled cheese, cheese board, and can be a great gift during the holidays. This is a recipe that's always good to have in the fridge!
I have an easy, no-knead caramelized onion focaccia where you can use this chutney. Focaccia never tasted so good!
🧅Why make this recipe
- You can make it as a gift to your loved ones - is as good as my vegan caponata!
- It's the perfect addition to grilled cheese;
- You can impress your friends by adding it to a cheese/charcuterie board - onion relish and blackberry jam are delicious with cheeses like brie;
- It keeps for a long time in your fridge, even longer if you can it;
- It has less sugar than some onion chutneys: this recipe has only ⅔ cup of brown sugar.
This red onion chutney is a vegan and gluten-free savory condiment made with red onions, brown sugar, vinegar and spices. It’s thick, has a dark caramel color and a jam-like consistency. It carries the complexity of brown sugar combined with the right amount of tartness.
This is an essential recipe for anyone who loves to add a hint of sweetness to a savory dish. The combination of wine with balsamic vinegar gives this chutney the exact amount of tartness: for an onion lover, it’ll be hard to stop eating.
🤷🏻♀️What is a chutney
To make it simple, chutney is a kind of savory jam. There are some differences between jam and chutney, though:
- In chutneys, vinegar and sugar are used together for preservation, while in jams sometimes only sugar is added for that purpose;
- Jams are usually made with fruit, while chutneys can be made with both, or only vegetables (like this recipe);
- Chutneys are always flavored with lots of spices and even chili peppers, while with jams, the taste of the fruit alone is predominant.
🧅Ingredients and substitutions
Red onions. I mostly use red onions when making this chutney, as this type has a great peppery, spicy flavor. But you can substitute with yellow, white or sweet onions and get a good result.
Olive oil. Used to caramelize the onions. Choose extra virgin olive oil.
Bay leaves, black pepper and mustard seeds. Bay leaves and black pepper give extra flavor and aromas to this recipe. Mustard seeds are optional, but also play a role into taste. Use ground black pepper (better if freshly ground).
Salt. Use fine sea salt.
Brown sugar. You can use light or dark brown sugar for this recipe.
Balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar has more intense flavor and taste than other vinegars. Do not substitute for red or white vinegar.
Red wine. Any dry red wine is good. Don't use a sweetened wine, unless you're fine with adding more sweetness. If you don't want to use wine, it's possible to substitute for red wine vinegar. If doing so, use half red wine vinegar and half water for the amount of red wine.
🥣How to make it
It's easier than it looks: caramelizing the onions is the hardest part when making this chutney.
Step 1. Peel and slice the onions into thin half-moon slices.
Step 2. In a large heavy-bottom pan, heat the olive oil and add the sliced onions, bay leaves, black pepper and salt. Cook over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 3. Add the remaining ingredients: brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, wine, and mustard seeds (if using).
Step 4. Cook over low heat for 1 hour, or until most of the liquid has reduced.
When ready, place onion chutney into jars with lids and let it cool before closing and storing in the fridge.
- You can choose to not caramelize the onions (but I don't recommend doing so): add all ingredient to a heavy-bottom pan, and simmer using low heat for about 1 hour (or until it gets a jam-like consistency).
- I recommend using a heavy-bottom pan when making this recipe. If you don’t have a pan with a thicker bottom or a dutch oven, it’s best to stir from time to time to check if the bottom is not burning. Do it every 5 minutes.
- You can also can this recipe and store outside the fridge while the canned jars are closed. After opening, refrigerate.
🍴What to eat with it
You can have it hot or cold, and it goes well with grilled cheese, soups, even pizza!
For me, this is the perfect chutney to have with cheese. Have it along with some brie or goat cheese: you won’t regret it!
This chutney is also fantastic for burgers. Try combining it with brie and salted mushrooms for a fantastic hamburger.
❓Questions you might have
Yes, this recipe is vegan.
You can substitute wine for vinegar if you like. Replace the wine with ½ cup of red wine vinegar and ½ cup of water.
A marmalade is a bittersweet preserve made with the peel of acidic fruits. Sometimes, an onion chutney is labeled as onion marmalade, but is, in fact, a chutney.
You can eat it as soon as it finishes cooking, but the flavors are more intense after a day.
I recommend storing this chutney in two jars and leave one resting for a week, so the flavors are more well developed, and the taste even better.
Red onion chutney will keep well in the fridge for up to 6 months.
You can water-bath if you want/know how to.
🧅More savory spread and dips
Caramelized Onion Chutney
- 8 medium red onions
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black pepper ground
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup brown sugar packed
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds optional
- Peel and slice the onions into thin half-moon slices.
- In a large heavy-bottom pan, heat the olive oil and add the sliced onions, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
- Cook over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning. After this time, the onions should be soft, translucent, and reduced in size by half.
- Add the remaining ingredients: brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, wine, and mustard seeds (if using). Cook over low heat for 1 hour, or until most of the liquid has reduced. Stir occasionally to prevent the chutney from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The chutney should be thick and have a dark caramel color.
- Place into sterilized jars. Keep it in the fridge, or can it.
- You can substitute red onions for yellow/sweet/white onions.
- You can use light or dark brown sugar for this recipe.
- Using red wine vinegar instead of wine: use half red wine vinegar and half water for the amount of red wine.