Roasted Onions Stuffed with Curried Black Quinoa

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The National Onion Association for Kitchen PLAY. I am being compensated for my efforts; all opinions are 100% mine.

Storage onions have a low moisture content and thick skins, which makes them perfect for cooking techniques such as braising, caramelizing, and roasting (spring onions, on the other hand have thinner skins and a higher moisture content, making them more suitable for raw preparations).

I cook with storage onions just about every day, yet I’ve never considered making them the star of a meal. When I was assigned to create an entree for this month’s storage onion themed Progressive Party at Kitchen PLAY, it was time to change that.

Kim from The National Onion Association planted the idea of stuffing roasted onions in my head. I’d never heard of stuffed onions, and was immediately intrigued. I googled “stuffed onions” and “roasted stuffed onions” and did find some recipes, most of which featured some sort of meat (generally ground beef or lamb) and/or bread in the stuffing.

Back in the days when I was a vegetarian, I was really sweet on a curried rice stuffed pepper dish. I used to make it all the time, but this was 15-20 years ago, and I don’t have that recipe written down. So I went by memory to come up with what you see here, using onions instead of peppers as the “shells” and quinoa instead of rice in the filling so it’s packed with protein.

I decided to make this dish vegan because the holiday season will soon be upon us, and I think it’s always nice to have a great meatless/dairy-free dish in one’s repertoire. These stuffed onions are also gluten-free. They aren’t difficult to make, and having them on hand will ensure that guests with special dietary needs will have something filling and nutritious to eat. That said, these also make a great accompaniment to the more traditional (meat-y) holiday fare.

Please don’t feel you have to save these for a holiday table, though. They are a perfect meal or snack anytime…if fact, I just had a cold one for breakfast.

baked stuffed onions

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baked onions with quinoa

The National Onion Association is sponsoring a great giveaway at Kitchen PLAY. If you recreate any one recipe from this month’s Progressive Party, then post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen PLAY to enter, you could win cash! All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win $100 (6 prizes total). The deadline is October 31, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!

More Stuffed Onion inspiration:
Roasted Stuffed Onions from Smitten Kitchen
Stuffed Onions from Taste of Home
Stuffed Onions from What’s Cooking Mexico

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Recipe for Roasted Onions Stuffed with Curried Black Quinoa

As with all of my recipes, use organic ingredients whenever possible.


  • *6 medium onions
  • *2 tablespoons olive oil
  • *1 fat clove garlic peeled and minced
  • *1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • *1 cup quinoa I used black quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer
  • *1 1/2 cups water
  • *2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • *1/4 cup raisins
  • *1/4 cup chopped cilantro or more to taste, plus more for garnish
  • *1 teaspoon curry powder or to taste
  • *pinch or two of cayenne pepper or to taste


  • 1. Put a large pot of water on to boil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • 2. Slice off a very small portion of the bottom end of each onion so they will stand without rolling over, then cut a slice about 1/2 inch thick off the tops of each onion. Peel off the outer papery layer and one of the thicker inside layers of each onion. Compost or discard the onion trimmings.
  • 3. When the water is boiling, carefully add the peeled onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, until softened. Allow to cool, then remove the center portion of each onion. I did this by scooping it out with a sharp tipped spoon from the top, but you could also make a slit lengthwise along the side of each onion to make it easier (though then you'll have to push your onions back together so the filling doesn't fall out).
  • 4. Place the onion shells in a shallow baking dish (it's fine if they're all touching), then chop enough onion centers to equal 1 cup. Reserve the rest of the onion centers for another use.
  • 5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet (I use cast-iron) and add the onion and the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Add the red pepper and cook for another minute or two.
  • 6. Add the rinsed quinoa. the water, and the tomato paste. Turn heat to high, and mix well with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients and dissolve the tomato paste. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender (it's ok if it's still a little crunchy because it will continue to cook in the oven). Remove from the heat.
  • 7. Add raisins, cilantro, curry powder, and cayenne, mix well, and taste to see if you'd like to add more seasoning to the quinoa.
  • 8. Gently spoon the quinoa filling into each onion shell, then generously drizzle the stuffed onions with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro before serving.

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42 thoughts on “Roasted Onions Stuffed with Curried Black Quinoa”

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  7. Winnie, I can’t wait to try these! It never even occurred to me to stuff onions. I may have to skip the raisins, though ;) Awesome recipe!!

  8. I would NEVER think to stuff an onion! But these look incredible, and I LOVE stuffing veggies – tomatoes, squash, peppers, mushrooms — you name it! I’ll have to try this!

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  15. We made these tonight and I have to agree with the previous post – I would roast the onions if I was to make them again. I didn’t find that boiling the onions made them ‘stinky’ or ‘disgusting’, just that it gave the onions an odd texture. I also agree with the previous post that leaving the outer 2 – 3 layers for the shell is perfect.

    As for the filling – it was delicious! I just used regular quinoa as my local grocery stores don’t carry black quinoa. I don’t care for raisins so I doubled the red bell pepper. The tomato paste, curry powder, cilantro and cayenne were perfect with the quinoa and red bell pepper!

  16. Word of advice to anyone looking to make this recipe. First, use LARGE onions. The “medium” referenced in here is far too small. Second, if you’re wondering how much of the onion to remove in order to stuff, leave approx 2-3 rings. And third, do NOT, under any circumstance, boil the onion. If you do, you get stinky, slimy onions that are not only impossible to core, but are disgusting in flavor – and I previously thought there could never be such a thing as a disgusting onion. Roast the onions instead. Much better flavor, less mess, and the slime factor never becomes a problem.

  17. These stuffed onions look so good. I love onions, I cook with them every day, I jump at any excuse to cook them whole, but I never thought of stuffing them.

    Bell peppers were once a favorite, but they disagree with me in recent years. This recipe is a wonderful replacement for stuffed peppers.

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  19. These look so stunning! And so healthy. I am making my very own right now, but will be using white quinoa since that is what I have on hand. My husband loves onions, so I think these may go over really well with him!

  20. What a marvelous recipe for the beginning of autumn! When we went to a local farm to pick tomatoes a few weekend ago, I also purchased a few of their onions. I wish I would have gotten more. They were so different than the ones I purchase at the grocery store; firm yet with moist interiors. Perfect for this recipe with the stunning black quinoa.

  21. Hi, what a genius idea! The black quinoa is visually stunning against the pale onions. Does the quinoa form a crust? or do the juices from the sauce keep it moist?

  22. Wow that looks delicious. I would never had imagined doing this but the black quinoa on the white onions looks stunning.

  23. These look so beautiful and tasty too! I’ve not tried black quinoa, but I do like the regular and red varieties. I will definitely give this a try.

  24. Those looks so delicious! I just bought some red quinoa yesterday, I love this ingredients.

    I have never seen a stuffed onion dish, but it totally makes sense.


  25. This is so creative, and looks delicious! I never had stuffed onions before but I love the flavors here — the curry, the raisins, garlic, tomatoes. Can’t wait to try these!

  26. I have never heard of stuffed onions, but this looks absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for posting this, I am always looking for good vegan recipes.

  27. What a great idea! We always stuff fruit and other veggies but never thought of stuffing sweet onions. And anything with black quinoa has to be great! So good!

  28. What a great idea, I had never thought to stuff onions before, but now I must try it. And thank you for taking us on a little walk down your memory lane :-) xoxo

  29. Winnie, this is just lovely! Not only are your stuffed onions gorgeous and delicious, but in creating this recipe, you have provided a dish that nearly anyone can enjoy–including those with food allergies. That in itself is a gift. Thanks for your inspiration!

    Kitchen PLAY

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