A Symphony of Sweet and Savory: Sweet Onion Salad with Dates

Fried Fish with Onion Salad with Dates

There’s something truly magical about a salad that transcends mere greens and vegetables. This Sweet Onion Salad with Dates is one such dish, a delightful harmony of contrasting flavors and textures that will tantalize your taste buds. The starring role belongs to the humble Vidalia onion, its naturally sweet character mellowed by a touch of cinnamon and perfectly complemented by the rich, chewy sweetness of dates.

This recipe is not just delicious, it’s also incredibly simple to prepare. With minimal ingredients and a quick chill time, it’s the perfect addition to your busy weeknight routine or a potluck crowd-pleaser.

What is Vidalia Onion?

A Vidalia onion is a special type of sweet onion known for its mild, almost fruity flavor and low sulfur content. This unique combination makes them much less pungent than your average yellow onion, and perfect for enjoying raw or lightly cooked. Here’s a deeper dive into their characteristics:

Fried Fish with Onion Salad with Dates
Vidalia onion

Origin and Cultivation:

  • Grown in specific regions of Georgia, primarily defined by the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986.
  • Their unique sweetness comes from the low sulfur content in the soil where they’re grown.
  • Named after the town of Vidalia, Georgia, where they were first discovered in the 1930s.

Flavor and Uses:

  • Milder and sweeter than regular yellow onions, lacking the sharp “bite”.
  • Often enjoyed raw in salads, sandwiches, or dips due to their delicate flavor.
  • Also delicious caramelized or grilled, adding sweetness to dishes without overpowering them.
  • Official state vegetable of Georgia.

Identifying Vidalia Onions:

  • Look for the Vidalia Onion Appellation label on the packaging.
  • They have a flatter shape compared to regular yellow onions.
  • Their skin is typically golden brown with a papery texture.

Tips and Substitutes:

  • If you can’t find Vidalia onions, try Walla Walla sweet onions as a substitute.
  • Store Vidalia onions in a cool, dark place and use them within a week or two for the best flavor.

Sweet Meets Savory in Perfect Harmony

The magic of this salad lies in the interplay of its components. The thinly sliced Vidalia onion, known for its mild, almost fruity sweetness, offers a beautiful balance to the earthy warmth of ground cinnamon. The rich, chewy dates, sliced for textural contrast, add a decadent sweetness that enhances the overall flavor profile.

A Versatile Sidekick for Any Main Course

This salad shines as a versatile side dish. Its sweet and savory notes pair beautifully with roasted chicken, grilled steak, or even pan-seared fish. The marinated onions and dates add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any meal.

Make it Ahead, Savor it Later

Another beauty of this recipe is its make-ahead potential. Simply whip it up the night before, let the flavors meld in the refrigerator, and you’re good to go! This makes it ideal for busy weeknights or potlucks where you want to impress without spending last-minute time in the kitchen.

Ready to Experience the Sweet Onion Symphony?

Fried Fish with Onion Salad with Dates

Here’s what you’ll need for the Sweet Onion Salad with Dates:


  • 2 medium or 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced julienne: Julienne means cutting the onion into thin matchstick-sized strips. Vidalia onions are known for their mild, sweet flavor, making them perfect for this salad.
  • 12-16 dates, sliced: Choose pitted dates for convenience. Medjool dates work well due to their rich, caramel-like sweetness.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon: This warm spice adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: A healthy base for the dressing.
  • 1 tablespoon macadamia nut-infused oil (or substitute with another flavorful oil): This oil adds a subtle nutty flavor. If you don’t have it, substitute with avocado oil, walnut oil, or another oil of your choice.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice: Adds a touch of acidity and brightness to balance the sweetness.
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar: If you prefer, you can use honey or maple syrup instead.
  • Pinch of ground black pepper (optional): Adds a touch of heat, if desired.
  • Salt to taste: Adjust according to your preference.


  1. Slice the onion thinly and place it in a large bowl. Add the sliced dates.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, black pepper (if using), and salt.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the onion and dates, toss to combine, and cover the bowl.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator, adjust seasonings if needed, and enjoy!
Fried Fish with Onion Salad with Dates


  • For an extra pop of flavor, add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans to the salad.
  • If you don’t have macadamia nut-infused oil, substitute with another flavorful oil like avocado oil or walnut oil.
  • Drizzle the salad with a touch of balsamic vinegar for a slightly tangy twist.

So go ahead, give this Sweet Onion Salad with Dates a try. It’s a true symphony of sweet and savory flavors that will leave you wanting more. And remember, with its make-ahead convenience, it’s the perfect way to elevate any meal without breaking a sweat.

Not only this salad is easy to prepare, but it also goes perfectly with roasted or grilled meat and even fried or baked fish. You can make this at home the next time you want a fancy dinner.

Sweet Onion Salad with Dates

Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 medium or 1 large Vidalia Onion slices julienne
  • 12 – 16 Dates sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Macadamia Nut Infused Oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • Pinch of ground black pepper optional
  • Salt to taste


  • Remove the outer layer of the onion(s).
  • With a sharp knife, slice the onion(s).
  • Place in a large bowl and set aside. Remove the seed in the dates if any. Slice the dates and add them to the sliced onion.
  • Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk both oils, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, black pepper if using and salt.
  • Drizzle the dressing on the onion and dates slices and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let the ingredients marinate for about 1 hour.
  • Remove from the refrigerator, sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon if preferred. Serve as a side dish for roasted, grilled or fried meat, poultry and seafood.


Can be prepared in advance


Serving: 1grams

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

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Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

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Corn Allergy:

Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.

Originally published on September 3, 2017. Revised and updated.

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    1. At first, it is, but the lemon juice binds all the ingredients together. The lemon helps both the Vidalia Onion and Dates release their juices. Thanks for your comments.

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