Cooking with shallots isn’t for everyone, as not all enjoy its pungent smell and taste. If you have made a French stew, then you are familiar with shallots. This type of onions is also used in soups and salads and sometimes used in making sauces and vinaigrettes, too.
If onions are not your favorite, shallots may not be of your liking either, because even though they are small, their flavor is powerful.
You may also not want to use shallots if you have trouble digesting certain fibers, as this vegetable is very hard to digest. There is also a chance that someone in your family or friend group is allergic to onions, and so shallots aren’t an option.
What Are Shallots?
Let’s talk about what shallots are first!
These small and long onions are red or gray, with white, yellowish flesh. There are two types of shallots, and these are Allium oschaninii, sometimes called griselle, and Allium cepa var. Aggregatum. While they are still pungent, the flavor is milder and somewhat sweeter, which is why they are used both raw and cooked, and even pickled.
Shallots are considered high in fiber, and they contain phenols and flavonoids, with the latter having antioxidant properties, which can help your body neutralize free radicals and prevent inflammation and damage.
What Can I Replace Shallots With?
So, if you don’t want to use any or don’t find any shallots, try these substitutes instead:
#1. Red Onions
If you can’t find any shallots, there is a high probability that you will find red onions and you can use these in their place. These onions are very smelly and pungent, but they lack the garlic-like taste that shallots bring. You can add garlic along with red onions for a more similar flavor.
These onions can be found in every grocery store, and they are commonly used in salads, salsas, and dips. You can replace one shallot with one red onion, plus a teaspoon of mashed garlic if you want.
Also known as green onion, scallions are long sticks with white bulbs, and usually, the whole plant can be used in recipes.
Because these are milder and somewhat sweet, they are used in a wide range of dishes, including fish, soups, sauces, and salads. If you like cooking Asian dishes, you have probably used scallions before.
You can find scallions in grocery stores, but if they are not anywhere to be found, you can try an organic store or farmer’s market. We recommend you use the white portion of the scallions, but the whole stick can be cut into the dish in place of shallots.
Another member of the same family, this long, thick vegetable is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines, and sometimes in soups and marinades or salad dressings.
The flavor is very close to shallots, which resembles garlic, so you won’t have to add any extra. You can use the white and green parts of the leeks, though most people prefer only the green part.
Leeks can be found in any produce section of the grocery store, but you can also search the organic market if none is to be found anywhere else. You can pretty much replace shallots for leeks for the same amount.
This option shouldn’t be a surprise by now, as you already know that shallots have a garlic-like favor. Garlic is often seen as a cousin of onions and shallots, so they can be used together easily. Garlic is used in almost every cuisine, including meat dishes, sauces, stews, and dips.
While many think you should look for dry garlic, you can buy garlic gloves alone or already mashed up garlic. We recommend you use one to two cloves at most, as some people consider garlic to be too overpowering.
This species from the Allium family is a close relative to onions, shallots, leeks, and scallions. These very skinny and green stalks are very garlicky and almost acidic, so they are commonly used in fresh foods, such as raw fish, or salads, but also in breakfast foods, like eggs, and cream cheese.
The flavor may not be the same or as strong as shallots, but you can find them easily in the produce section of your grocery store. We recommend that you use a handful of chives chopped finely in place of shallots.
When In Doubt
If you can’t find any of these choices, try garlic powder, as the flavor is somewhat close to shallots. And if you have any, you can try adding red bell peppers, as they have a sweet and sharp flavor too. If you have yellow onions, use these too, but consider using fresh garlic with them.
While they make part of the same family, they are not the same. Regular onions grow in single bulbs, while shallots grow in clusters. The flavor in shallots is sweeter and milder, and so is their aroma. Shallots are also smaller and easier to peel and cut.
Both onions and shallots share similar properties, but shallots sometimes have more concentrated amounts of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and vitamins B, A, and C. Onions have these nutrients too, but sometimes they have them in lesser amounts.
Whole raw shallots are better kept outside the refrigerator but in a cool, dark area of around 45-55°F. Shallots can last up to two months if they remain untouched, but if you don’t have a cool and dark space, consider refrigerating them for longer shelf life.
Shallots are a common ingredient in some dishes, including stews, sauces, and soups, but sometimes this food is hard to find as it is very popular.
If this is the case, you can try one or two of these alternatives, just make sure you smell them and try the flavor first, as some people can find it too overpowering. Mixing flavors is a good option for those who truly want to imitate the garlic-like sweetness of shallots.
*Photo by Xalanx/depositphotos