onionspreadpI discovered this wonderful spread in an overpriced, but otherwise average restaurant I’d certainly try to forget if it hadn’t been for quark with caramelised red onion, the highlight of their welcome snacks (and of the whole evening really). Visually unappealing, it proved surprisingly complex in taste and absolutely delicious. It has quickly become my staple light snack and favourite winter breakfast. I prepare a batch and, as soon as it’s finished, I prepare a new one. It’s been going on like this for several weeks and I don’t get tired of all these fantastic flavours.

TIPS: The restaurant I’ve mentioned used quark (aka fresh cheese or fromage frais), which is not available everywhere. Greek yogurt has a similar consistency and is also perfect here (I’ve tested both and even made it with normal natural yogurt and all these three options work perfectly). (Though if you have choice, do try it with quark first). You can also try it with thick sour cream; it will no longer be light, but the slight tanginess will be there.

US cream cheese is not an option here:  it doesn’t have the tanginess and freshness yogurts or quark have, so I don’t advise it; moreover the spread would no longer be healthy or light….

The condiments’ amount given below should be treated as a vague proposition. Taste the onion (when cooled) and adjust according to your taste.

If you skip soy sauce, the onions will retain their purple colour. (Soy sauce is my recent improvement idea).

SERVING IDEAS: My absolute number one is a canapé with thin Finnish wholemeal crisp bread, but it goes as spread/dip on any bread, chips, nachos, etc.. You can serve it as a side dish with grilled chicken or as heat taming sauce with Mexican or even Indian dishes. I’m sure it tastes fantastic with baked potatoes.

Preparation: about 30 minutes + at least 2 hours in the fridge.


200 ml (about 6 oz) Greek yogurt or Quark (see the TIPS above)

1 big red onion (which has a size of a medium white onion)

1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoons vinegar (the best would be balsamic; if you use a stronger one, put only 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

ground black pepper

(salt, if needed)

Cut the peeled onion in half and slice more or less finely.

Heat the oil in a pan and constantly stirring, fry the onion at medium heat until it loses about half of its volume.

Add the vinegar, the soy sauce and the sugar and continue stir-frying.

After about 5 minutes, put aside, let it chill and taste. Adjust the flavours, adding more salt, sugar or vinegar and fry for a minute to heat once more. (Don’t taste the onion when it’s warm because the taste changes a lot). At the end add ground pepper and give the onions the last stir.

Combine with the yogurt or quark, add more freshly ground black pepper,  and refrigerate for at least two hours. It improves greatly overnight.


20 thoughts on “Greek Yogurt (or Quark) Spread with Caramelised Red Onion

  1. I know I would love this dip and it’s so easy to put together! I always have caramelized onion in my freezer because I make big batches and freeze them in muffin tins; caramelized onion makes a delicious base for flatbread or pizza. I am perfecting a cracker recipe (maybe to sell in retail) that would be wonderful with your clever dip.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. Maybe the texture doesn’t make it really a dip (the threads of onions are not easy to dip into) but rather spread, though it depends on the yogurt’s consistency if you use one. I had no idea caramelised onion freezes well (I know fresh one becomes mushy…). Thank you for the tip.

  2. Looks tasty. What do you use to dip into it? Veggies, bread?

    I have a tub of greek yogurt in my fridge and was going to drain some of it and make The Barefoot Contessa’s lemon yogurt cake. 🙂

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. As I mentioned in serving ideas above, possibilities are endless. It might be tricky to treat it as a dip even if it has a texture of one (because of onion threads).

  3. Love this! The idea of the caramelized onion in tandem with the tangy yogurt has got me licking me lips from afar :o). So delicious – I have no trouble imagining how good this would taste. Perhaps I will surprise my man with this delectable spread on Sunday – we don’t often park it in front of the TV but we do enjoy watching the super bowl (it’s all about the food and maybe the ads too :)) – this is so simple, I can squeak it in. Thank you for this idea Sissi, I will let you know how I make out! (I’m leaning towards lemon instead of balsamic… am I crazy?)

    1. my apologies Sissi – I was thinking lemon in the yogurt but yes, balsamic along with other flavorings for the onions for sure 🙂 can’t stop thinking about this delicious recipe… looking forward to making it!

      1. Hi, Kelly! But lemon sounds as a great idea! (By the way, I have something similar to post and it contains both lemon and yogurt!). Thank you once more for kind words.

    2. Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s so addictive… I now make huge batches and snacks on them throughout the week, take them as 5 o’clock snacks to work, take for breakfast…

  4. Oh how I love this! I can see serving it with so many things in so many ways. The caramelized onions and the other flavors sound like they turn a a simple yogurt into a complex and amazing condiment. I can see why you’ve made several batches. Bobby just brought home a really nice looking cucumber and I can see spreading some of this on some cucumber slices. thanks for sharing this Sissi!

    1. Dear MJ, thank you so much for the compliments. This is so good… I wish I could send you some through super quick one-hour postal service (or even better: invite you for a snack!). I had it today with crisp Finnish bread as my office snack and I am so sad I no longer have any left at home 🙁

  5. Hi Sissi, I did not get a chance to leave you a comment on this delicious dip before leaving on holidays, so I am circling back to let you know that I did indeed make it for Super Bowl Sunday :o). My husband and I were so taken with the flavours in this home spun onion/yogurt spread. What we found particularly remarkable was how the flavour developed and intensified over time (I let it sit for about 8 hours in the fridge) — rich, delicious and so satisfying. We enjoyed it with raw veggies and blue corn chips. This is one that I will definitely be making again. Thank you Sissi!

    1. Hi Kelly, thank you sooo much for your kind comment and the feedback! You know how it always makes me happy to share my enthusiasm for a dish and then discover a friend likes it as much as I did! I totally agree about the flavours developing in the fridge. It gets better every day, but it disappears so quickly… I didn’t insist on it, but I find quark here much better than Greek yogurt (I know quark is not as easily available in certain countries as Greek yogurt, but if you can find quark – if I remember well, you could get it in Canada, but now in the US, maybe not?-, give it a try). Have a lovely end of the week and thank you so much again for this heartwarming message 🙂

        1. Great idea! and you are so lucky to have lots of food on US Amazon…. in Europe the offer of food is really ridiculous (especially on French Amazon, from which I order most often).

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