Awesome Grilled Onions with Pesto

Last updated: May 5, 2021
5 from 2 votes
Smoky, delicious grilled onions that are easy to make and topped with fresh pesto! They're a healthy side dish that's perfect for your summer barbecue. Thread the onion slices onto wooden skewers and they'll never fall through the grates!
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white plate holding grilled onions on skewers with pesto

Caramelized onions are great, but have you tried grilling onions?
WOW. The charred edges and the flavor that develops is out of this world.

Grilling onions removes their sharp bite and turns them tender, lightly sweet, and delicious. Spoon fresh pesto on top and you’ve got a side dish that everyone is going to love!

How to Make Awesome Grilled Onions:

Sliding the onions onto wooden skewers ensures they won’t fall through the grates, and makes it super easy to move them around on the grill.

  • Preheat all burners on gas grill to medium heat and soak wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes.
  • Peel the papery skins off the onions.
  • Put your onion onto a cutting board so that the middle of the onion is on the board. Cut off the root and stem. Then cut 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices of the onion. For a medium sized onion, you’ll get about 2 or 3 thick slices.
  • Lay those slices flat on the cutting board, and drive your skewer through the center of the bottom of the slice, and run it all the way through so it come out the top. Repeat with all slices!
  • Brush both sides of onions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Turn one burner off, and set onions directly on that grate. Close lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, then flip onions and brush top side with more olive oil to keep them moist. Close lid and cook for 10-15 minutes. Then access and if they need to soften a bit more, cook for 5 more minutes.
grilled onions on a white plate with pesto

How Long to Grill Onions:

These onions take about 30 minutes to grill over indirect heat. This ensures they cook from the inside out, so that the center of the onion is tender and flavorful, and the outside chars beautifully but does not burn.

What Kind of Onions are Best for Grilling?

I prefer yellow onions, as their size seems to be ideal for getting thick slices, and they caramelize beautifully.

Sweet onions (maui or vidalia) would also work well.

How to Eat Grilled Onions:

Once the onions come off the grill, you can keep them on the skewers and plate them, which looks beautiful for presentation purposes. Or you can slide them off, too, which keeps guests hands a bit cleaner!

Then spoon generous amounts of pesto (homemade or storebought) over the onions while they are warm so the herbaceous flavor soaks in.

They’re a great topping for a burger!
Or as a side dish to this Rotisserie Chicken on the Grill or Prime Rib.
Or make it a full veggie meal with this Grilled Romaine Salad.

white plate holding grilled onions on skewers with pesto

Awesome Grilled Onions with Pesto

These easy grilled onions are caramelized and tender, have amazing flavor, and are topped with fresh pesto. The perfect summer side dish.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :30 minutes
Yield: 6
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds yellow onions, papery skins removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup pesto, homemade preferably, or store bought

Instructions

  • Preheat all burners on gas grill to medium heat, and soak wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes.
  • Peel the papery skins off the onions.
  • Put your onion onto a cutting board so that the middle of the onion is on the board, with the root and stem facing outwards. Cut off the root and stem. Then cut 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices of the onion.
  • Lay those slices flat on the cutting board, and drive your skewer through the center of the bottom of the slice, and run it all the way through so it come out the top. Repeat with all slices!
  • Brush both sides of onions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Turn one burner off, and set onions directly on that grate. Close lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, then flip onions and brush top side with more olive oil to keep them moist. Close lid and cook for 10-15 minutes. Then assess and if you'd like the onions a bit softer, cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from grill and put on plate. You can keep on the skewer, or slide the onions off once they've cooled a bit. Then spoon pesto over the top and use a spoon to distribute, so that the pesto soaks into the onions.

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May 5, 2021

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