Some may immediately associate onions with a strong, harsh flavour, watery eyes or a stinky kitchen, but we’ve learned that these temporary nuisances and misconceptions are well worth the depth, flavour, and character that onions bring to many dishes.We’ve put together a guide to The Big Four—highlighting special characteristics of each type, how they’re cooked (or not cooked!) best, and our favourite recipes that showcase these often misunderstood kitchen chameleons. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

THE YELLOW ONION

imageThe yellow onion is the all-purpose onion. A little milder than the white onion, it should always be your go-to for sautéing—our yellow friend develops a slight sweetness the longer it’s cooked down. And it has thicker layers than the white onion, so it’s able to withstand cooking longer without wilting down to nothing! Store in a dark and dry place, and pull them out when you’re ready to cook well, just about anything. ## COMING UP: ONE POT CHICKEN WITH RICE & PEAS

image## THE RED ONION

imageThe red onion is used raw more often than other onions not only because of its mild flavour, but also its beautiful colour. It’s great in salads and salsas, or just thinly sliced on its own for nachos (see below)! Red onions are also great for pickling, which is an easier undertaking than it sounds: just combine vinegar, some sugar and some spices (like peppercorns and cloves) in a jar, let the onions sit for a few hours (or days), and drape those on any sandwich for an instant upgrade. Here is a family dish currently on the menu that features some of this delicious flavourful onion in the cucumber salsa. ## BEEF AND BEAN NACHOS WITH CUCUMBER SALSA

image## THE SHALLOT

imageThink of a shallot as the red onion’s delicate, adorable little sister. Often used in French cooking, a shallot provides a slight garlicky flavour beyond your typical onion, as similar as they may appear. Shallots can be substituted for onions, just be sure to use three shallots for every one onion—not just because of their size, but because shallots are milder. And because of their unique flavour, shallots are best used raw or lightly fried, mixed into a vinaigrette, sliced thinly into a salad, or atop eggs or noodles, like in our noodles and miso butter dish below. ## NOODLES WITH MISO BUTTER, SPINACH AND SHIITAKE

image## THE SPRING ONION

imageThe spring onion is incredibly versatile and global. Sprinkled atop Indian curries, incorporated into light Italian pasta dishes, mixed into those classic Chinese pancakes and more, scallions are perfect if you need a subtle onion flavour without the strong bite other onions provide. The spring onion’s colour isn’t the only thing that changes along the length of the onion—the white base is crunchy and has a slightly more pungent flavour, whereas the green tips are leafier and are best used as an accent. Spring onions add the loveliest flavour to so many dishes, including this light and fresh casserole. ## BAKE POTATO CASSEROLE WITH BACON AND BROCCOLI

imageIllustrations by Laura Manzano