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Recipes happen as any other event in life, some are even the result of unexpected situations, like these Caramelized Onion Paste & Arugula Rolls, that have quickly become a favorite. Bare with me as we explore this incredibly delicious combo in form of dinner rolls.

For weeks I have been thinking about making cinnamon rolls as a gift for a lovely couple. I bought all of my ingredients and when I was ready to make them, I just changed my mind. Why make it sweet when savory rolls can be as delicious? As usual, I opened the fridge and quickly scanned what I had. Onion and arugula seemed like the perfect savory combo at the time, even when I haven’t tried it before, but I went with it and I’ll show you the results!

Making the Dough for the Onion & Arugula Rolls

To make these delicious Onions & Arugula Rolls you’ll start by making the dough. Very simple. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Add half of the fat (for this recipe you’ll need vegetable shortening, but you can also use butter), mix well and then, knead in a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, until you get a smooth and homogeneous dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.

Once you get to this point, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel and let it rest for about an hour at room , or until double in size.

If you love this recipe, you may be interested in Coconut Milk Brioche with Chocolate Chunks & Vegan Challah

Make the Caramelized Onions Paste

While the yeast is working its magic on the dough, go ahead and prepare the caramelized onions.

Traditionally, caramelized onions require a lot of time to cook, plus fat and sugar, but for this recipe I followed Cook’s Illustrated method. That recipe calls for 5 ingredients and no sugar at all. I used half of the (see below the original recipe amounts) and I got 225 gr onion paste:


3 pounds yellow onions, in juliennes
3/4 cups water
2 Tbsps Oil 
3/4 tsp salt 
1 Tbsp water + 1/8 tsp baking soda. 

And, consists of 3 steps:

1) Cook the onions with water, oil and salt over high heat until the water is evaporated and onions sizzle.

2) Cook on medium-high while pressing & stirring the onions consistently for about 15-20 minutes or until the onions are well browned and sticky.

3) Combine a tablespoon of water with baking soda, add the solution to the onions and cook for another minute until the solution has completely evaporated.

When the caramelized onions are ready, simply pulse in a food processor for a few seconds to make a paste and reserve.

Proofing… a Second time.

By the time you finish the caramelized onion paste, the dough should be almost in doubled in size. When it is, take it out of the bowl, flatten it out a bit and knead the remaining shortening in.

It will get a bit sticky at first, but don’t panic. Knead for 3-5 minutes and it will get back to normal. The dough should be a little tacky but not too sticky.

Once again, place your dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let it double in size again.

By the time the dough is double in size you would notice a rich aroma. That’s what you are looking for when you proof your dough for longer than usual! it is heavenly!

Punch the dough down again, and let rest for 10 minutes on the counter for the gluten to relax (this way is easier to roll out into a rectangular shape)

Shaping &… yeah, you guess it! Proofing one last time for a few minutes!

Roll it out into a rectangular shape, about 17 by 15 inches and evenly spread the onion paste.

I was a little timid with the arugula, because I was making the rolls as a present and didn’t know if our friends will like arugula, but if you are making for someone that loves arugula, don’t sweat it and add more!

Roll out tightly and cut into 10 rolls. Place into a baking tray, baking dish or pyrex covered with baking paper and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

The only step left is to bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 20 -25 minutes, or until the rolls are lightly golden on the top edges and the bottom.

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So, now there is a gazillion possibilities on how you can take these rolls and make a million more combinations. Which one would you make next?

Until next time! 😉

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