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The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions

So I think I can top that time I peed on a wasp nest.

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

Not even kidding. I’m so embarrassed. But still kind of laughing at myself. And that’s how life should be  right? Better they laugh with me than at me. Or something. Either way – as long as we’re smiling. I guess.

Here’s what happened…

Last Sunday I got to see one of my favourite singers for a second time. He blows my friggin’ mind. That’s what I’m blaming my “collision” on, anyhow. Goose bumps, people. Goose bumps.

So I’d just had my mind blown, my soul touched, my glass emptied. And I had to pee. Don’t worry – this isn’t another hoo-haa experience. I figure one lady parts story per year is admissible. Any more than that and we’re gettin’ way too friendly. 

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

So yeah, we’re between sets and I had to pee. Thanks gin. So up I go and I b-line it for the ladies room. You know how it is when an artist breaks for a few minutes, it’s like a mass-exodus for the bathroom. Myself included. Unfortunately the architectural structure of the building had other ideas.

Half way through the room I’m suddenly stopped short. By my face. Hitting a glass wall.

Did I mention this is in the middle of a very dark, very crowded bar with no patio, smoking section or any other reason for a glass divider – a very clean glass divider – to be present at this precise location?


Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver BC & A Recipe for Pickled Red Onions- She Eats

So yeah – face plant, in front of hundreds of people and then I look down. And my glasses – my fairly new, fairly expensive, fairly awesome glasses – are in pieces. So I bend down, pick them up and look around rather sheepishly stunned by what just happened. And then I see it: The horrified, amused and otherwise shocked looks on all the faces around me.

Unlike the peeing on a wasp nest fiasco, this one was in front of everyone.

So there I am, unable to properly focus on anyone (because of the glasses – not the gin… Okay, maybe a bit because of the gin), embarrassed, still needing to pee and unsure of what to do next. Do I go to the bathroom like nothing happened? Do I run out of the bar and miss the rest of the show? Do I get angry and sue the shit out of the establishment? Nay. None. Neither.

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

I laughed.

I belly laughed. I roared with laughter. I almost doubled over with laughter. I down right cackled. Because what else is there to do in that moment than see it for what it is: Some chick just face planted into a vertical surface in front of hundreds of people and lived to tell about it.

That’s pretty fucking funny.

Even now, I’m still giggling. With a slightly bruised left eye, a now-very-large concert bill, a YouTube search history of people walking into windows and a new shiny pair of glasses, I’m still giggling.

There’s something seriously wrong with me.

So, what does this have to do with the most stunning quick pickled red onions? Truthfully, not much. But ya know – when something that classically comedic happens, ya gotta share. And when Fall starts creeping into corners of Kitsilano, ya gotta share (hence the photographs in this post). And when something so delicious as quick pickled red onions gets discovered, ya gotta share.

Arbutus Corridor Train Tracks - She Eats

These little guys are hardly a recipe – kind of like avocado toasts – but well worth the mention. I think the inspiration for these pickles came from my friend Jayme’s “Quickle” recipe that was featured in the latest issue of Nourish Magazine. And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a quick pickle? No friend of mine, that’s for sure.

Let’s break it down, Run DMC style.

The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red Onions - She Eats

All About the Base, ‘Bout the Base (Onions)

Any onion will do – white, sweet, Spanish, Vidalia, or even shallots. I like red though because they shine like jewels on the plate and we all know how much I like to flash my bling around town. Brittany Spears style, yo.

Red onions simply pop it like it’s hot, both in terms of flavour and colour.

You Little Tart (Vinegar)

Generally I recommend a more mild vinegar for a quick pickle like white wine vinegar. Not only is it less strong in flavour than most other vinegars, it’s also clear so the bright pinkness of the pickles won’t be compromised.

However apple cider vinegar or even rice vinegar would work here too. If you use either one of these you may want to reduce the sugar though because they tend to be sweeter in flavour.

Try to avoid regular white vinegar and pickling vinegar. Their astringency is much too strong for this delicate pickle and you’ll wash out the onion’s brilliance.

Gimme Some Suga’, Suga’ (Sugar)

You probably don’t need to add any sugar to your pickles because you’re sweet enough as is, but let’s do it anyway just in case you’re having a bad week 😉

You can use your sweetener of choice here – white sugar, brown or Demerara sugar, honey, even maple syrup. Just keep in mind that the pickles will absorb the flavours of whichever sugar you use.

I like organic cane sugar because it falls somewhere between white and brown sugar for sweetness and Earthiness and I love the grainy texture.

Accessorize (Flavourings)

As with any other pickle, you can season the quick red onion pickles with any array of herbs, spices or extra flavourings to match what you’re going to serve these babies with.

Making an Indian dish? Add a few cloves or a stick of cinnamon or even some sliced ginger. Going to pile them on pasta or seafood? A few peppercorns, a bay leaf, some peeled garlic or some soft, fresh herbs like tarragon, basil or oregano might be nice.

Or keep it super simple like I did and just let the onions cure all on their own. I wanted versatility in the finished product so I just kept it basic and have since slathered them all over veggie invasion Quiche, black bean veggie burgers, Thai coconut steamed mussels and even saucy slow braised beef stew! The only dish they haven’t made it into this week has been my morning smoothie. But ya know, that could change.

The most stunning quick pickled red onions - She Eats

Quick Pickled Red Onions




Yield 1 500ml jar


  • 1 Medium red onion
  • 1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1 Tsp coarse sea salt
  • Flavorings (optional)


  1. Using a sharp chef's knife, remove the bums (top and bottom ends) from the onion and carefully slice into the first layer of the skin down the length of the onion from top to bottom so you can "skin it" without slicing the onion in half. This keeps the onion whole so you get nice rounds when you slice 'er up. Discard the skin into the compost.
  2. Very thinly slice the onion across the top so you get nice rounds. You can do this with the knife if your skills are honed and you have a steady hand. I use a mandoline because mine aren't and it ensures consistency - you want each slice to be the same width so they pickle at the same rate.
  3. Chuck the sliced onions in a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and any flavourings you're using. Mix well with your hands to ensure all the slices are well coated.
  4. Let sit at least 30 minutes, though they do get better the longer you allow them to pickle. I generally give them an hour or so.
  5. After they marinate, chuck em in a clean, dry mason jar (or any other non-reactive salable container), cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Use on everything.
  6. Eat.

Have you ever made quick pickles? Do you make regular pickles? Care to share an embarrassing story of your own? How are things with you, lately?

  • Jacqueline Gum
    October 5, 2015 at 5:00 AM

    Yikes woman! Just happy you didn’t break your nose! Yeah I had one too, snorted a flame up my nose in a fit of snort like laughter just as a waiter was leaning over my shoulder to light my cigarette (back in the day when I smoked) and it created a lovely perfume of burning nose hair and flesh. Five-star french restaurant. I can only imagine my dates’s horror having to finish that gourmet meal while trying to avoid staring at the red ring around my nostril. Charming first date. Uh… make that first and last date
    Jacqueline Gum recently published…BACK FAT… WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 5, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      BAHAHAHA, I don’t mean to laugh Jacqueline! But the date – can you imagine what he thought? Dude. I totally would have gone out with you again – it’s like he’d have his very own dragon 😉

      I’m sorry that happened to you but thank you for sharing. It helps. And I’m glad you weren’t wearing an acrylic body suit – you would have went up in flames. Yikes!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red OnionsMy Profile

  • Becky
    October 5, 2015 at 5:10 AM

    There is a corner downtown between my office and my gym that I SWEAR the gravity is different. How else to explain how I fall off it standing still on a regular basis? The last time I did that, I managed to turn it into a twirl, to the amusement of passing motorists.
    What is pickling vinegar? Just white vinegar? I pickle everything. Yesterday it was green tomatoes.
    Becky recently published…Tuesday JamMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 5, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      Oh Becky. It’s totally possible. I just asked John (the bf who has a Phd in physics) and he says gravity can in fact differ across the planet because it isn’t a perfect sphere so the radius and is variable. And since the radius effects the pull of gravitational force, the way you experience it can in fact vary. I’d explain more but that’s all I understand 😉 Point being: Your twirls are totally justified 😉

      PS. Pickling vinegar (5-6%) is like regular vinegar (3%) but with higher Ph balance. The higher the Ph, the “safer” it is to have your pickles marinate over time. Plus the flavour is a bit stronger with pickling vinegar than regular white distilled vinegar. You can get a higher Ph than 5% with pickling vinegar (sometimes you’ll see 7%) but that’s way too high. 5% is generally regarded as the go to.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red OnionsMy Profile

      • Becky
        October 15, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        I’ve never seen or heard of it here – and as much as I pickle and read about pickling and talk about pickling, you’d think I’d have stumbled upon it! I’ll have to see if I can find it! I mostly use white vinegar – which is always 5% here.
        Becky recently published…Celebrating MollieMy Profile

  • Sharon Dammann
    October 5, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    I wouldn’t have you any other way – hope your face is okay and all else in life!

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 5, 2015 at 4:55 PM

      Sharon! I was so happy to see your name on the blog 🙂 How are you doing??

      My face is alright. And life is pretty darn good thanks. I’m going to send you an email.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red OnionsMy Profile

  • Kristen @ The Endless Meal
    October 5, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    OMG I just laughed so hard. Thank you for that, lady!

    Btw you’re right about these onions … they really are stunning.
    Kristen @ The Endless Meal recently published…September Blog Income ReportMy Profile

  • Megan @ Straight From The Jar
    October 5, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    Can we be best friends?

  • April J Harris
    October 6, 2015 at 4:15 AM

    It must be going around. I recently used my hand, part of my face and shoulder to break a couple panels in a seriously old fashioned door in a listed building in a tiny British village – where just about everyone knows me. I fell UP the stairs going out. I seriously can’t believe it myself. I damaged my glasses too – and my ring finger on my right hand as well as cutting my shoulder up pretty badly – but thankfully my face was utterly unscathed. My dignity on the other hand was seriously dented. The guys in the butcher shop have almost stopped teasing me about it – and this happened in the salon up the street. Sigh! Anyway, I love your quick pickles. They remind me of pickles my late Mom used to make but with a lot more zing and style! I’ll definitely be giving these a try. And thank you, I’m really glad I’m not the only one – and most importantly, that you are alright!
    April J Harris recently published…Banana Streusel Muffins with FlaxseedMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 6, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      Oh NO April! That’s terrible – at least I spilled no blood. How did you fall UP the stairs? For some reason that always seems more unbelievable to me than down. It’s like “Why feet?! WHYYYYYYY?” I’m glad you’re okay though and that your face is in one piece. Ouch!

      PS. Thank you for the compliments. Food that reminds us of family is always the best food, isn’t it? xoxo
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Most Stunning Quick Pickled Red OnionsMy Profile

  • lindsey
    October 6, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    Say…have I ever told you about the time I stepped off a curb, sprained my ankle and had to be helped to the sidewalk by a cute little old lady using a walker? No? What if I added that I had a coffee in one hand, a sub sandwich in the other, and a 2 month old baby strapped to my front in an Ergo carrier. Also, that I stopped traffic, literally, with my body. Better?
    Stepped off a curb, for heavens sake.
    But, if I had had those pickled lovelies on my sub sandwich at the time, I wouldn’t have cared one bit. I’d have scarfed them mothers DOWN.
    Bummer about the glasses, though! And your poor noggin. But I, like you, laughed my fool head off. Because what the hell else can we do??
    lindsey recently published…Another Successful Market SeasonMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 21, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      OMG. That is so cute of the lady and so adorable of you Lindsey. Were you on your phone?? Looking up at the beautiful blue sky?? How did that even happen? At least you had an old-lady-superhero to save you 🙂
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Breaking News: I’m Writing A Cookbook!My Profile

  • Crystal @HelloCreativeFamily
    October 9, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    First off, horrible that you did a face plant into a glass wall. Seriously, that sucks. But right on to the second of all… You are SO FUNNY! I just found your site through Food Bloggers of Canada… how do I know know about you already??? We live in the same city! Your writing is so fun. I’ll definitely be following you on EVERY social media channel and subscribing to your page. Oh… and the onions look amazing as well. 😉
    Crystal @HelloCreativeFamily recently published…Back To Basics- How To Make Homemade Coconut Milk RecipeMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 21, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      hahaha I’m glad to entertain you Crystal! I LOVE that you live in Vancouver – it’s kind of the best city in the world. Or at least in Canada. Welcome to the blog – I’m happy to meet you!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Breaking News: I’m Writing A Cookbook!My Profile

  • ceecee
    October 9, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    Thanks for the laugh! These onions are amazing. I’m a fan of anything pickled.

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 21, 2015 at 10:39 AM

      hahahaha thanks CeeCee! You’re most welcome. And yes, onions are the best. Especially when pickled. Actually, I’m going to go pick up a pickle right now 🙂
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Breaking News: I’m Writing A Cookbook!My Profile

  • Isabelle @ Crumb
    October 9, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    Oh Kristy… I can SO relate to this one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve face planted into stationary objects. Though, in my case, most of them weren’t see-through… I’m just a massive klutz is all. (I also have the magical ability to trip over non-existent objects. I’m talented like that.)
    Bummer about those pretty red glasses, but at least good dose of belly laughs goes a long way to curing one’s wounded pride, and an ice pack will take care of the face.
    Also, pickled onions are the ish. I like to throw a little hot pepper flakes and a bay leaf in mine, because a little spice makes everything nice.
    Isabelle @ Crumb recently published…Guest Post: Rye, Prune and Pancetta StuffingMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      October 21, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      hahahaha I’m so glad I’m not alone Isabelle! I regularly walk into walls and stub my toe on objects that are always there yet somehow my feet forget. High fives to the klutz club!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Breaking News: I’m Writing A Cookbook!My Profile

  • Sondi
    October 9, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Oh, lady. Hats off to you for your great attitude and having a good laugh at an embarrassing situation. I was dancing on a bar in Cancun years ago and fell off (while sober I should say, and some dude accidentally caused it to happen). On the way down I hit the garbage can on my left side and the stairs up to the bar with my right side. I ended up with huge bruises from it! I remember those horrified looks – but they weren’t judging, everyone seemed genuinely concerned that I was seriously injured! I’m sure everyone at your concert was looking at you in sympathy and concern, too.
    Sondi recently published…Choose Your Own Adventure Gluten-Free GranolaMy Profile

  • suki
    October 9, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    Onions are my favorite! total favorite! 🙂 lovely it looks 🙂 can have the whole jar
    suki recently published…Healthy Mexican Corn quinoa Casserole + Corning Ware GiveawayMy Profile

  • swathi
    October 12, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Your post made me laugh, yes used to fell down near university building in Ice during winter, even my boss recommend getting a old lady shoes with nail on it. By the way pickled onion looks delicious and color, I will try thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning and tweeting.
    swathi recently published…Chocolate truffle hemp cookies #choctoberfestMy Profile

  • Jamie @ Medium Sized Family
    October 12, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    The onions look delicious, and the bonus story is hilarious! I like a girl who can laugh at herself a bit. 🙂
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently published…Work the Plan: Goals for the Week 10/12My Profile