Roast onion and spelt salad

Frank Camorra
Roast red onion salad (top left) makes a great side for roast poultry dishes, such as spatchcock.
Roast red onion salad (top left) makes a great side for roast poultry dishes, such as spatchcock. Photo: Marcel Aucar

This salad makes a great side to roast chicken, quail or spatchcock. The spelt can be replaced with freekah or cracked wheat if you prefer.


6 red onions

50g butter

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for roasting

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 celery stick, finely diced

200g spelt grain

600ml water

sea salt

6 sprigs thyme 

3 bay leaves

2 lemons, juiced

100ml extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup parsley, chopped

80g almonds, toasted and chopped 

3 green onions, finely sliced



Finely dice two red onions. Add the butter and two tablespoons of oil to a medium saucepan and cook the diced onion, garlic and celery on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

When the vegetables are soft, add the spelt and continue cooking to toast the grain a little. Add the water, bring to a simmer then cover and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes.

Heat the oven to 170C. Leaving the skin on, cut the four remaining onions in half, place in a baking tray and coat well with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, thyme and bay leaves and roast for about 40 minutes or until quite soft.

When the spelt is cooked, spread it out on a large plate and chill to stop it cooking.

For the dressing, put the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a jar and shake well. Let the onions cool slightly then remove the skins and chop roughly.

In a large bowl, mix the onions with the spelt and remaining ingredients, keeping a little of the almonds and green onion aside.

Dress salad, toss and garnish with almonds and green onions.