Green onions are no doubt one of the best vegetables for any dish. It makes an excellent topping for soups and stir-fried dishes especially Chinese fried rice. It’s also a good flavor kick and aroma for a typical egg omelet. You can never go wrong with green onions. They’re aromatic, delicious, and healthy.
But what if you suddenly run out of green onions? Don’t worry because there are amazing green onion substitutes that can be found in your kitchen such as Shallots, Scallions, Ramps, and Leeks.
Green Onion Substitutes
Let’s get to know more about these substitutes and how we can use them for most dishes.
Shallots are technically an onion. You can tell by the way it looks, it’s just smaller than the regular onion we see in the market. But before it became part of the “onion family”, it used to be a totally different species due to its unique qualities. When picking shallots at the market, you can choose from different colors: red, gray, brown, and green mixed with white.
These onion relatives are quite flexible in the culinary world. No wonder it’s mostly used in Asia and also the rest of the world. It can be eaten raw since shallots have a milder flavor than onions. You can mix these with salads and other finger foods.
It’s also perfect for stir-fried and soup-based dishes. Just like green onions, shallots can be pickled, too! It’s a perfect condiment, especially during the cold winter months.
How to Substitute
When substituting shallots over green onions, the only difference you can get is the texture and color. I don’t recommend you use it as a topping for the fried rice, for example. But, you can use the shallots while sauteing it before adding the rice. This will fill the void from the lack of green onions. It wouldn’t even feel like you need green onions for the dish. It’s perfect for sauteing any kind of dish. To substitute, just use 1 ½ tbsp of shallots over 2 tbsps of shallots.
Scallions are actually the same as green onions. The only difference it has from green onions is that the scallion’s bulbs are not fully developed compared to green onions. It also has a milder taste and aroma almost the same as shallots. No wonder they are close relative to each other. The green leaves of the scallions can be eaten both raw and cooked. It’s also one of the most flexible vegetables under the onion family.
Since the leaves can be eaten both raw and cooked, it’s almost perfect for every dish you could think of. When you’re making a Mexican salsa, you can mix some thinly chopped scallions in it to add some spice and aroma. It’s also an excellent topping for fresh salads, noodles, seafood stews, and curries.
You can also mix it with your salad dressing or even for sandwich dressing. I personally like scallion-flavored mayonnaise, it’s really delish! You can also mix it with baked bread for that savory feel and aroma.
How to Substitute
Since both green onions and scallions have the same characteristics, they almost are like doppelgangers that can be hard to distinguish. That’s why it’s not so hard to substitute them from one another.
A tablespoon of scallions is enough to replace a tablespoon of green onions. You can follow the ratio of 1:1. Also, you need to keep in mind that green onions have a stronger taste and aroma compared to scallions. If you feel like the 1:1 ratio is not enough, add a teaspoon to make some adjustments.
Ramps are also commonly known as Wild Leek and Wood Leek. If you’re not familiar with this vegetable, it actually looks like a totally different onion species. The leaves quite resemble the leaves of the corn but smaller and softer.
The bulbs are not too big and developed. The color of its bulbs and stalks quite resembles the scallion’s, however, the color goes into an ombre of deep purple. These wild leeks are most common in North America, Europe, and Asia.
This vegetable has a very strong garlic-y and onion flavor. No wonder these ramps are also a perfect substitute for garlic as well! However, it’s rare since you can only find these amazing vegetables in the wild.
Most home cooks try to preserve it when they can as a pickle to have a year-round use for it. It’s also a perfect mix with pan-fried potatoes, egg omelets, scrambled eggs combo with bacon, and as well as a good mix for making cornbreads. When sauteing these in your dish, you don’t need to chop garlic and onions. This vegetable can do both just right.
How to Substitute
For this substitution, we’re hitting two birds with one stone. You can do away with your typical garlic and onion or green onion saute combo and just go ahead with just ramps. A half a cup of mixed green onions and garlic can be substituted by just 1 cup of chopped ramps.
Super simple and easy to substitute and saves you a lot of time to chop your garlic and onions. However, ramps may be rare in some areas so if you could find a specialty grocery store, don’t forget to grab your hands on this vegetable.
Leek is also the close relative of shallot, onions, and garlic. But if you notice its physical appearance, it has thick leaves, thicker than the usual green onions. Its leaves are usually mistaken as to its stalk or stem. But, this doesn’t have to be an issue because the whole leaves are full-on edible whether consumed raw or cooked.
Since leeks have a milder taste than green onions, it’s commonly used as an excellent topping for noodles or soup dishes. When it’s eaten raw, it adds more tanginess and crunchiness into the dish. Unlike other onion vegetables, leeks don’t leave too much trace of after odor effect that could drive people away from you.
Other than being an excellent topping, it’s also yummy when deep fried such as leek chips. It’s really good and perfect as an appetizer or healthy snack. It’s also good for sauteing when replacing onions for stir-fried dishes.
How to Substitute
Leeks are big, thick, and wider. You can chop them thinly so it wouldn’t be too huge for a bite and could mix well with other ingredients. To substitute a teaspoon of green onions, just replace it with a tablespoon of thinly chopped leeks. You can’t even tell the difference. Except that it’s bigger and more crunchy to the bite. To add more kick to the flavor, feel free to add a handful of it to your dish.
My Personal Favorite
Based on my own experience, I would go for leeks. The leeks have a very mild flavor and it’s always a perfect topping for most salads. It doesn’t affect your breath after eating it in its raw form.
It’s also not complicated to mix in most dishes and the aroma is just enough to harmonize with the other ingredients in the dish. It’s not as powerful that even your dog can’t handle the smell. Also, it’s readily available in most grocery markets. You can also buy a potted plant where you can grow and just easily pick in your kitchen.
But whatever your pick is from the four substitutes we’ve mentioned above, know that all of them work fantastic. Just learn how to experiment and adjust the flavor according to your preference.