Moroccan Onions
(Mezgaldi Spiced Onions)

I finally got the 'onions aren't just for mirepoix' memo and 2010 may well go down as the Year of the Onion. This recipe is my variation of the traditional Moroccan onions called 'mezgaldi'. They are sliced and spiced, then roasted, then caramelized under the broiler, all simpler than it sounds. I think you're going to love this recipe ...

Moroccan Onions

"I'm on a MAJOR diet so only used 1 T. of olive oil and it turned out great." ~ Sally

No question, food – the topic – is as ‘hot’ as this last soul-sizzling summer and as ‘cool’ as the fall air that wafts through the open window right now.

One venerable media outlet after another is dishing up food. My favorite magazine, The Atlantic, now publishes extensive food content online. My favorite news source, NPR, has great food coverage but recipe hunters will especially appreciate NPR’s Kitchen Window. The Smithsonian has new food content called Food & Think. Even CNN (yes, the ‘news’ CNN) launched a new food site called Eatocracy.

But truth be told, despite the big-budget credentials of the slick newcomers, my favorite food sites are published in spare time on a shoestring by food bloggers, home cooks who put breakfast, lunch and supper on the table week in and week out. These aren’t ‘professional’ food and media people – but produce authentic, inspiring and yes, professional, results.

Take Kayotic Kitchen, the lovely food blog from the Netherlands. When Kay (get it, Kay? Kay-otic?) posted a recipe for Moroccan Tomato Salad, she urged readers to take another look at another Moroccan recipe from last year, an onion dish called Mezgaldi. I took the bait and a look and immediately printed off the recipe. A day or so later, I found the recipe in my bookmarks, saved last year when Kay first published the recipe!

I can take a hint: I made the onions straight off. OH MY they are good. The spices are sweet and gentle, if you close your eyes you just might imagine colorful scenes right out of Marrakesh (open your eyes to be transported into My Marrakesh, another favorite blog, this time, no recipes, just color and design).

That was June and I’ve been making Moroccan Onions ever since, for two, for twelve, for twenty. Adventurous eaters love them, onion lovers gobble them up. (Kids, oops, not so much.) They’re unusual, quick to make and very tasty. Over time, I’ve cut the oil to just a tablespoon, it’s plenty. Delicious hot, the onion slices really shine at room temperature so are a natural for a buffet or a make-ahead side for grilled meat. Sliced and roasted thin, the onions are surprising but welcome additions to open-faced sandwiches.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite onion-centric recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via

(Mezgaldi, Moroccan Spiced Onions)

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Makes 12 rings
  • 1 - 3 tablespoons olive oil (see TIPS)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric or 1/4 teaspoon curry
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 medium onions (white, red, yellow or sweet, see TIPS)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400F.

SPICED OIL In a small bowl, stir together the Spiced Oil.

ONIONS Wash the onions, slice off the ends, peel and cut into slices about 3/4- to 1-inch thick. Brush both sides with the Spiced Oil, arrange in a baking dish, overlapping a little if needed. Pour over any remaining Spice Oil. Wash the water down the sides of the baking dish, taking care not to rinse the oil and spices off the onions. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes until the onions are soft.

Remove the onions, turn on the broiler and place an oven rack about six inches below the broiler. Sprinkle the sugar atop the onions and place under the broiler until the tops brown and caramelize a bit, about 5 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes because they can turn fast.

If you like, serve hot, otherwise, let cool to room temperature. Serve and savor!

ALANNA’s TIPS Kay's recipe calls for three tablespoons of olive oil but I've dropped it back to just one tablespoon with no problem. For fun, the first time I made Moroccan Onions, I sliced up four onion varieties, a yellow onion, a sweet Vidalia onion, a red onion and a white onion. They were all excellent, the red onion (surprisingly) just a little bit not as good and the white onion (again, surprisingly) just a little bit better. But the red onions do look quite pretty, I’d choose them for aesthetics.
Made with 3T oil, per Slice/3 Slices: 54/162 Calories; 3/10g Tot Fat; 0/0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 2/6mg Sodium; 6/17g Carb; 1/3g Fiber; 3/9g Sugar; 1/2g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 1/3.5 & PointsPlus 1/4
Made with 1T oil, per Slice/3 Slices: 34/102 Calories; 1/3g Tot Fat; 0/0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 2/6mg Sodium; 6/17g Carb; 1/3g Fiber; 3/9g Sugar; 1/2g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points .5/2 & PointsPlus 1/3

I Heart Food Blogs

My fellow food bloggers are the most inspiring cooks I've ever known, what a pleasure it is to follow their culinary curiosity and kitchen creativity. Who are my favorite food bloggers and what are they cooking? Check out I Heart Food Blogs.

So What About Onions?

Are onions so common in your kitchen that, like me, you rarely think to make them the star of the show instead of hard-working stagehands? The whole question has me wondering what 'else' we take for granted. What do you think?

Out-of-the-Ordinary Side Dishes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Julia Child's Soubise (Onion & Rice Casserole) Cheese Gnocchi Pie Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

More Moroccan Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Lamb with Sweet Tomato Jam Moroccan Chicken Moroccan Onions (recipe above)

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© Copyright 2010 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I'm definitely making those Moroccan Onions!! Those were GREAT!

  2. I made the onion with cinnamon and turmeric last night. I'm on a MAJOR diet so only used 1 T. of olive oil and it turned out great.

  3. I'm curious - do you serve it as a side dish? Could you/would you eat with crackers or something if an appetizer?

  4. Randy ~ They are memorable, aren't they?!

    Sally ~ I've had great luck with just 1 tablespoon olive oil too. So glad you liked these!

    Cathy ~ I've served them two ways, mostly as a side dish but then later, on open-face sandwiches. They're a little big for an appetizer, though I suppose if you fussed with smaller onions, they'd be a good appetizer size. Hope this helps, you've got me thinking!!

  5. We love onions, so much in fact that a 25lb bag disappeared in about 2 months (for 2 people!). This sounds like a terrific side dish for steak.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna