Cebollas Curtidas

There is this Mexican restaurant that has the best vegetarian burritos ever (and no it isn’t Taco Bell!). Inside the restaurant, even though they have a drive-thru, they have the best salsa bar. Like, 5 kinds of salsa, the BEST pico de gallo, pickled onions and jalapenos, and these spicy purple onions. Well I decided to google “Mexican pickled onions” and was presented with Cebollas Curtidas.

But this isn’t just a tasty faux pickled onion, it’s an ONION.

Onions have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of prostate and esophageal cancer. An interesting note in Bowden’s 150 Healthiest Foods is that in Vidalia, Georgia (vidalia onion) where onions are consumed in large quantities, the death rate from stomach cancer is 50% less than the national rate. Additionally 2 studies from Nature and Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry show onions are linked to stronger bones. Another study in the European Journal Clinical Nutrition showed that onions belonged to a very select group of foods that was found to reduce mortality from coronary heart disease. The flavonoid quercetin in onions is linked to asthma relief in the form of inflammatory response blocking. The sulfides popular in garlic are also in onions. It’s not too shabby in the Vitamin C department either at 20% RDI.

A final note on onions – the stinkier, the better!

With cebollas curtidas it’s a pretty simple process, and it’s not even close to what you do to pickle vegetables traditionally.

Cebollas Curtidas (from here)

  • 1 medium beet, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup coconut vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lb red onion, peeled and thinly sliced (2 good-sized onions)
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (3+ limes)
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (you will use all of the limes above)
  • 2/3 cup grapefruit juice (1+ grapefruit)
  • Salt


  1. Put beets in medium saucepan and add garlic, bay leaves, vinegar and 4 cups water.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Put onions in a medium bowl. Strain hot beet cooking liquid over onions and set aside to rest until onions soften slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain onions and return to bowl. Add lime juice, lime zest and grapefruit juice and salt to taste and toss well.
  5. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

These are so good with some salsa-baked cod tacos! They weren’t spicy and I’m sure I could do something about that, but I won’t. They would add to a fancy plate of edible beautiful veggies at a party too.


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About Sarah Hiller

Eco-maniacal! I love learning about food and health, and then sharing! I'm also an aspiring photographer, lover of kale, dogs, yoga, anything fitness, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and heavy metal. It is my goal to empower and support people through nutrition and attitude. I have an Etsy store you can check out as well

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