Every home chef has dealt with this problem at least once in their life: you see a recipe, and it calls for an ingredient you don't seem to have. You can go out and get it, but there has to be something at home you can use as a substitute. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that you sometimes just don't know what certain ingredients are. For example, what are scallions? Are they the same as green onions? Can they be switched out if need be? Don't worry -- we've got you covered. This article will tell you everything you need to know.

What Are Scallions?

green onions on a cutting board

Scallions are vegetables that belong to the allium family, which also includes veggies like onions, shallots, chives, leeks, and garlic. They aren't nearly as potent as regular red or yellow onions are. They're much closer to shallots or garlic in their milder, but distinct, taste.

There is some debate about whether or not scallions are the same thing as green onions. Some people say yes, while others argue the answer is no. Those who classify these vegetables differently point out that scallions are harvested a bit earlier than green onions. When it comes right down to it, though, they're essentially the same.

Scallions And Their Family Members

Scallions Versus Onions

different onions on a cutting board

As we mentioned, scallions differ significantly from their classic onion cousins.

  • Scallions have a much gentler flavor than red or yellow onions.
  • Scallions are noticeably different in size. Yellow and red onions maintain a bulbous shape, but scallions have long, hollow stalks. Scallions also don't have any layers.

However, scallions and red and yellow onions have the same crunchy texture.

Scallions Versus Chives

These two might have the same stalky bodies, but they differ in other ways.

  • Chives aren't used as a whole ingredient the way that scallions are. Chives are typically used more as a garnish.
  • Chives are used sparingly in recipes, but scallions can be used in greater quantities.

Scallions Versus Shallots And Garlic

Scallions differ from shallots and garlic mainly in taste and shape.

  • Garlic and shallots have a more bulbous shape, whereas scallions are on the slender side.
  • Shallots are thought of as a cross between onions and garlic, but scallions taste milder than onions and don't have garlic in them.

How Do I Prepare Scallions?

a person cutting green onions on a cutting board

Scallions can be eaten raw or cooked. If you want to eat them raw, all you need to do is wash them and cut away the white parts at the bottom. Depending on how long they've been sitting on the shelf, you may need to cut away those wilting darker parts at the top as well. From there, though, raw scallions can be chopped and used in a variety of ways.

If you're looking to cook them, then you'll be happy to know they're pretty versatile. After you cut away the parts you don't need, you can grill, roast, or pickle them.

Swapping Scallions And Green Onions

Swapping these two isn't an issue. If you see scallions in the store, know that they're essentially the same thing as green onions. You can use the two interchangeably whenever you need to.

How Can I Use Scallions?

The mild flavor of a scallion can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Some people even like to wash scallions and eat them raw. You probably wouldn't have thought of biting into an onion before, but this particular kind is much nicer on your palate.

overhead shot of mushrooms and green onions in a glass bowl

If you're not looking to munch on onions of any kind by themselves, then you can toss scallions into lots of different recipes. Add them into sauces or add finely chopped pieces into mashed potatoes to make the dish less bland. And, just like shallots, scallions can be added to salads if you need a quick side dish that packs flavor.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallions

For a lot of us, bacon can make things much better -- especially when combined with equally tasty foods. You only need four ingredients to make this dish, and you'll be left with grilled scallions wrapped in bacon. Who wouldn't want to indulge in that?

Mushroom And Scallion Frittata

Okay, so bacon doesn't make anything better for the vegetarians out there. That's totally fine! If you want a quick and light meal, then you can whip up a great frittata simply using mushrooms, scallions, and eggs. Toss some salt, pepper, and cheese in there, and it only gets better.

green onions on a cutting board

Scallions are the little onions that don't really get the credit they deserve. Given how versatile they are and how they're much less potent than normal onions, you'd think they would be used much more often. To be fair, though, people were probably wondering what the heck the difference was between them and green onions. But now that you know, consider incorporating them into your meals more often. They won't disappoint!

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