We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Onions in Spanish Cuisine

Which Seville hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
23,795 posts
77 reviews
Save Topic
Onions in Spanish Cuisine

I am allergic to onions and need to avoid them in food. I don't drop dead if an onion has been on the plate luckily but they do make me sick if I eat them. I will of course learn the names of onions, shallots, leaks etc

Is onion integral to most dishes in Spain e.g. tapas, tortillas etc? Is there a phrase appropriate to discover this or alert the waiter to allergies so I can steer around dishes with onions?

It is a real pain as onions are tasty and in so many prepared dishes. In France it has been easy since they tend to actually list ingredients on the menu but I haven't tried eating in Spain yet. I'd like to be able to order gracefully and not make a kerfuffle about it.

Olvera, Spain
Level Contributor
2,854 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

I think you will find that there are onions in many dishes particularly those with a tomato sauce, probably also in things like meatballs (albondigas). However the Spanish eat a lot of fresh fish and I think it unlikely that there will be onions in many of these dishes. The Spanish for onion is cebolla.

Saludos. Lindsay

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
23,795 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

Thanks. I use my husband who will eat anything as a taste tester but I'd like to know how to steer around dishes that are onion laden.

Olvera, Spain
Level Contributor
2,854 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

This might sound a bit silly but I did a google search "onions in Spanish cookery" and came up with an article written by the American journalist and cookbook author Janet Mendel who apparently lives in southern Spain. Here is the link to the article …blogspot.co.uk/2011/…onions-to-cry-for.html you will see in the second paragraph that she says "Spanish cuisine would be bereft without it, for its flavor is essential to many dishes".

I think onion free could be a bit of a problem.

Saludos. Lindsay

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
23,795 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

I was afraid of that -- I guess my husband will be trying a lot of new and different dishes and I will be eating fried fish a lot.

Olvera, Spain
Level Contributor
2,854 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

Had a check of my dictionary and leak (the vegetable) is not there, only leak as in "I have a leak in my bucket/pipe, etc". Shallots are referred to as cebollita or chalote.

Look on the bright side, the Spanish do make beautiful cakes (pastel).

Saludos. Lindsay

Olvera, Spain
Level Contributor
2,854 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

Oh dear, apologies to all Welsh people I can't spell leek (the vegetable).

Lindsay

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
Level Contributor
56,771 posts
3,570 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

Janet:

Besides fish, you can ask for steak that is grilled. The word for steak is solomillo.

Sevilla
Level Contributor
902 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

Janet. Say to the waiter/waitress:

"Necesito comida que no lleve cebolla. Soy alérgica a ellas."

"I need food that does not contain onions. I am alergic to them."

Brussels, Belgium
Destination Expert
for Seville
Level Contributor
3,998 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

onions in spain, as said above, are almost ubiquotous in the kitchen. They are called by some the "queen" of spanish kitchen (being garlic the king). Most sauces/dishes will have garlic, onions, leeks, tomato or a random combination of this list. They will be difficult to spot as they are usually very cooked and difficult to see. Even some things that in your mind would never have onions, in Spain could be prepared with onions, like for example most of the times Spanish Omelette. Best is to ask the waiter, as trotamundos said, specifying that you are allergic.

Notice also that leeks are not considered a type of onion in spain, so you'll need to ask apart for them (word for leeks in spanish is puerros).

In general fish and meat dishes should not have onions, unless they are coming with a sauce. Ask not to bring sauces to be safe.

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
2,326 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Onions in Spanish Cuisine

"The word for steak is solomillo."

Solomillo is fillet. There are other cuts of beef in Spain that can be considered steak: entrecot, chuletón, lomo, cadera, etc.