Grilled red onions

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Grilled red onions

If you are in the category of "never cook at home,"  it's still possible to make healthy choices, even at many fast-food restaurants. Paying attention to basics like whole grains, avoiding trans fat, limited overall fat, and reasonable portion size can make a difference.

Maybe even the “never cook” group of diners will grill something to put on a bun at least once this year. This recipe is just the ticket as an accompaniment for a grilled meal.

I got a simple tip from a great cook in the family that has changed my life. Using a toothpick in red onions prevents them from falling apart on the grill.

These are great on any version of "burger," be it chicken, turkey, or salmon. 


  • Red onions, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar


  1. It's harder to describe than to slice the onion. Maybe it's "crosswise" or like the latitude lines on a globe, but it's not lengthwise from stem to root. (Hint: you want to end up with thick rounds of onion that look like redwood tree cross-sections.) 
  2. Insert a toothpick all the way to the center, parallel to the cut surfaces of each onion slice. 
  3. Drizzle them with a little balsamic vinegar either before or after grilling. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill until you see those grill marks and the onions are crisp-tender.