Shallots are members of the onion family, but are smaller and sweeter than onions. They look more like a large garlic bulb. The white “flesh” can have either red or purple streaks similar to a red or purple onion and are native to Israel and regions in the Mediterranean. Shallots are used in many of the same dishes where garlic and onions could be used, and don’t give you bad breath or cause them to “repeat” on you like onions do to most people. They can be sautéed, caramelized, roasted or grilled and are delicious in cream or butter sauces and gravies. Last night I roasted them and mixed them into my mashed butternut squash. It gave the mash and amazing flavor!
Health Benefits of Shallots
- Shallots have better nutrition profile than onions. On weight per weight basis, they have more anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins than onions.
- They are rich source of flavonoid anti-oxidants; contain sulphur anti-oxidant compounds which convert to allicin through enzymatic action following disruption of their cell surface while crushing, and chopping.
- Research studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production and is found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activities.
- Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness which helps bring a reduction in the total blood pressure. Further research studies suggest that allicin inhibits the platelet clot-formation in the blood vessels that helps decrease an overall risk of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular diseases, and stroke.
- Shallots contain a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals than onions, especially vitamin A, pyridoxine, folates, thiamin, vitamin C etc. Pyridoxine (B-6) helps raises GABA chemical levels in the brain that help sooth nervous irritability. In addition, 100 g fresh shallots have 1190 IU (35% RDA) of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Shallots are also have more minerals and electrolytes than onions; particularly iron, calcium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus.
Most people buy only as many shallots as they will need for a particular recipe, but if you have an abundance of shallots or find a great deal on them at a farmer’s market, store them as you would any onion in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air circulation. TIP: Knot them in clean pantyhose, hang from the ceiling in a dry garage, cellar or closet, and they can last up to 2 months. Store in a hanging metal mesh basket. If they sprout, you can still use them. Remove the bitter green sprouts if you don’t want a strong onion flavor, but remember that the sprouts can be used like chives. Waste not want not! They can also be chopped and frozen up to 3 months. However, when thawed, they will have the texture of a lightly sautéed shallot, so don’t expect them to be crunchy.
Now that you know how good they are for you, go buy some shallots and start cooking! Here’s my recipe for mashed butternut squash with roasted shallots. ENJOY!
Mashed Butternut Squash
- Peel and cube it or buy pre-cut in a package.
- Place the cubed squash in a pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Cook on medium heat until they are fork tender.
- Drain the squash into a colander and place back in the pot.
- Mash the squash and add milk a splash at a time until you achieve the desired consistence.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter & the roasted shallots.
- Peel & cut in half then place on a sheet of tin foil.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Double wrap the shallots in foil and place on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for approx. 30 minutes or until tender and translucent.
- Slice and mix into the mashed butternut squash.