I was checking out my kitchen bowls when I came to know my shallots and garlic are out of stock. Even though they are small in size to peel, I just love shallots to be a part of my recipes, and most of my recipe calls for the same. I was thinking out on what can be the shallot substitute, and that is when I came across some of the best replacements that can enrich my curries.
The shallots are basically small onion bulbs that mostly grow in clusters, just like garlic. Even though there are only a few shallot substitutes, they cannot replace the unique flavor and taste.
The shallot is a variety of onion that is small and elongated and covered with a reddish-gray colored skin. Shallots is a bulb vegetable in the allium family. It has got its name from Ashkelon, an Asian city on the Israel coast. There is some evidence that shallots also originated in Turkestan in Central and Southwest Asia.
Shallots are known by many names, like people in Quebec and England call the word shallots as “Shall-OH,” while in French, it is known by “eschalot.” The flesh of the shallots is generally off-white and tinged with green or pink.
This article focuses on some of the best shallot substitutes that you can look at when you forget to buy shallots or if you do not have any surplus of shallots.
More about Shallots
There are basically two types of species in shallots -Allium oschaninii, which is also known as the French gray shallot or ‘griselle,’ and Allium cepa var. aggregatum. Allium Oschaninii Is the most common and generally known as true shallots. In Australia, shallots known as Scallions, are basically onions and grow in clusters.
The shallots are a bit more expensive than onions and used for cooking beside it being pickled. Shallots come with many health benefits as they contain organic compounds like phenols and flavonoids, the flavonoids known for their antioxidant feature. The shallots also help in minimizing the damaging effects of free radicals on the body tissues and cells.
You can use raw shallots as a seasoning in salads and vinaigrettes, whenever you want to add onion flavor without the actual punch.
What does a shallot taste like?
Shallots share their nature with garlic and onions and, hence, have the same pungent and robust taste, which doesn’t shock us. The shallots have sweeter and milder than onions and garlic and are made sweeter and softer by cooking to their real flavor.
Types of Shallots
The shallots are available in different varieties:
1. French Gray Shallots
The French shallots are considered the true shallots by the Chefs due to its rich flavor and creamy purple flesh. They are individual bulbs that The rich, creamy flavor and texture of French Shallots elevate the delicacy of almost any recipe. You can plant its little individual bulbs to yield 10 to 15 times as many. They are pear-shaped with tough skin and has a luxuriant flavor. The French Shallots are exotic and rare delicacies and must be savored shortly after the harvest.
2. Jersey shallot
Jersey Shallots is a short, round bulb that is fairly large and uneven and looks something like a small onion. The Jersey shallots come in orange to reddish-pink skin and give a mild taste to the recipes. The shallot originates from the Isle of Jersey and is sometimes known as False shallots, red shallots, or orange shallots. The Dutch shallot is another variant of Jersey shallot.
3. Old Shallots
The old shallot bulbs are generally small, about the size of a walnut and with an irregular pyriform shape. When they turn ripe, these shallots become silvery green or brownish with inner scales tinged with purple or brown. They also grow in clusters, and the bulbs produce 5-10 per cluster. This is the earliest variety and cultivated very rarely.
Echalion is also known as banana shallot. It is a type of shallot that gets created out of crossover between the regular shallot and onion. They have a milder taste than onion and used as one of the best shallot substitutes. They soften quickly and caramelize when glazed with sweet vinegar.
Sourcing and Storing Shallots
Shallots received their recognition in American homes only a few decades ago, but this ingredient has been a shining star in many French recipes for more than many years. One of the significant shallot producers is still France that ends in all American stores. Shallots also form a part in a large variety of Indian and Southeast Asian cooking in a significant way. Indian cuisine does not become complete with the use of shallots.
Shallot gets a space in our own garden if they are grown using special techniques like onion and garlic. The ideal time to plant the shallots is springtime for a good harvest. The shallots are found most commonly in two varieties, but as discussed earlier, the shallots are available in many different types.
Tips for storing Shallots:
- The shallots are suitable for more extended use in a cool, dry, and dark place. This method of storage shall give a good shelf life of more than one or two months.
- They must have proper ventilation while storing shallots
- Toss out the shallots that get soft and discolored
- Put the shallots on punched paper bags for longer life
- Chopped and sliced shallots are great for getting stored in the freezer for more than 3 three months.
Nutritional Benefits of Shallots
Half cup of diced shallots can give you 56 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and even 12 grams of carbohydrates. Shallots are one such ingredient that contains no fat and contains other proteins and peptides that have immune-boosting properties.
Health Benefits of Shallots
As the shallots come from an Allium plant, family shallots go well with onions, chives, and garlic. This mild-flavored ornamental vegetable is most chef's favorite ingredient all over the world. Apart from this, shallots also enjoy a lot of health and nutritional benefits. This makes this a valuable ingredient in many of the recipes. As suggested, it can even be a great addition to any of your meal plans due to its high nutritional content. Some Of the significant health benefits of shallots are below:
Reduced Cancer Risk
Allium vegetables are known for their ability to cut cancer cell death and hence minimize the danger of cancer. The ethyl acetate found in shallots has proved to slow down the growth of cancer cells. The intake of allium has the power of even reducing stomach cancer as per the latest studies. The anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects of shallots are also put into use in the treatment of cancer.
Help Fight Obesity
Ethyl acetate extracts in shallots have the potential to suppress fat accumulation in the body and help prevent obesity. The antioxidants in shallots are responsible for boosting metabolism. This contributes to weight regulation and optimum health.
Improve Heart Health
Shallots also have the ability to produce potassium that could support many body functions. For raw shallots of 3.5 ounces, it has the capacity to generate 334 milligrams of potassium. Potassium can function on the body by maintaining a steady heartbeat and fluid balance.
The shallots also play a significant role in activating the enzymes that are present in the proteins and carbohydrate metabolism. Shallots also play a major role in terms of enabling the enzymes in protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Shallots also activate the proper nerve cell firing, muscle contraction, and kidney function.
Brain Function And Cell Development
The folate, referred to as folic acid, is present in shallots at the rate of 34 micrograms. This folic acid is one of the eight vitamin B compounds. It is essential for brain function and enables and balances mental and emotional health. It also has a great role in the production of RNA and DNA of the body. It also supports cell development and acts as a protective guard against spine and brain congenital disabilities during pregnancy.
What are the Best Substitutes for shallots?
If you find yourself out of shallots, then these below substitutes can become handy to enhance your dish and give a similar taste and flavor. Here is a quick list of top 10 best shallot substitutes that you try out:
1. Yellow Onions
The brown or yellow onion is a variety of dry onion that comes with a strong flavor. The inside of the onion is greenish-white, light yellow, or mostly white inside. These onions are higher in sulfur content than other types of onions and have a strong and pungent flavor and smell. They are available in large to medium-sized onions, and when cooked, they have a nutty, mild, and sweet flavor. The yellow onions are one of the best shallot substitutes and give the recipe a similar taste and flavor to balance off the absence of shallots.
They are available all around the years and are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber.
2. Red Onions
Sweetness is the red onion’s strength and serves as the best shallot substitute. This red onion with its purplish-red skin and has white flesh. They are small to medium-sized onions and are slightly oval. Red onions are another best substitute for shallots as they can enhance and replace the shallots taste with its pungent and mild sweeter flavor. They are mild in flavor and get used by many chefs for many recipes. You can replace the raw shallots with raw red onions in a 1:1 ratio and still maintain the taste of the recipe. Red onions finely chopped are also a good substitute for shallots in salads and garnishes.
3. White Onion
For recipes that call for shallots, the white onion is one of the best substitutes of shallots in a pinch. However, the white onions can’t give the mild garlicky flavor that shallots add to a dish. You can solve this by using half as much white onion by volume of shallots and add a small amount of garlic. In general, the ratio is one medium-sized onion to 3 shallots, which should be kept in mind.
Leeks have a similar taste to shallots, so this is one of the best substitutes of shallots. It is simple but not plain, and whether you want to have it hot or cold, the leeks add flavor without any harshness of white onions. Leeks are mild in taste and are used and substituted in a 1:1 ratio of shallots, and you don’t need to add garlic in the recipe. Always be careful to use only the top of the leeks and do not overcook them.
Scallions are also another best substitute for shallots and are naturally mild in flavor than onions. These are a suitable replacement for shallots both in salads and even in uncooked recipes. To get the real taste of the shallots, you need to use only the white base of the scallions. The top green part is good for garnishing the recipes and also known by the name spring onion or green onion. Adding chopped garlic can enhance the flavor and aroma.
Garlic is another shallot substitute, but a little bit can accentuate the flavor very easily into leeks, onions, and scallions. Garlic and shallots do not go together even though they belong to genus allium that is closely related to the onion, scallions, shallots, etc.
7. Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are not that commonly found, and if used, they make a good substitute for shallots. They are flower bud ends, and taste falls between garlic and onion. They are a bit firmer than green onions, so the ratio should be much less than onions.
8. Green Garlic
Green garlic also called young garlic, or spring garlic is simply garlic that may not have fully matured. The green garlic is also one that can come handy as a substitute for shallots. They are just the same in the taste of regular garlic but small quantities.
Even Though there are few substitutes to the shallots, the flavor and taste differ a lot from the shallots. None of these substitutes can completely replicate the real flavor of shallots.