Settling the Debate: Scallions vs. Green Onions and 7 Health Benefits

Have you had the scallions vs. green onions debate with your family or friends? If you believe they are the same species—you are correct! Scallions and green onions are members of the botanical allium family and they go by many names including Welsh onions and bunching onions.

Don’t overlook these brightly flavored gems in the grocery store. Scallions, or green onions, are packed with nutrients. Research shows that they also offer quite extraordinary health and medicinal benefits as a result. In fact, clinical studies show they may fight cancer, support weight loss, and so much more.

What Are Scallions?

Scallions are a member of the amaryllis family and are known botanically to be a part of the allium family. If they aren’t picked before they bloom, they produce stunningly beautiful flowers and pungent leaves that have a hint of onion or a garlicky aroma.

Scallions can be safely labeled as a superfood. They contain powerful flavonoids that stimulate the liver’s most potent antioxidant—glutathione. They are also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.

Green onions, or scallions, are available year round and can be enjoyed raw, pickled, or cooked. They have a small white bulb, about the size of a fingernail, and long green hollow leaves. When choosing green onions from the grocery store, look for brightly colored green leaves and fresh, pliable roots coming from the white bulb.

Scallions vs. Green Onions

We’ve already answered the question are scallions green onions and know that they are merely different names for the same nutritious veggie.

Scallions are also commonly referred to as:

  • Green onions
  • Welsh onions
  • Bunching onions
  • Salad onions
  • Spring onions
  • Table onions
  • Syboes

Now, if you are debating scallions vs. chives, there is a difference. Yes, they both belong to the same botanical family, but they are completely different species. The green leaves of a chive are the size of a string rather than a pencil.

Both chives and scallions have hollow green leaves and a gentle oniony flavor, but chives are much more delicate and are very rarely cooked. They are most often used as a garnish on baked potatoes, deviled eggs, or snipped and scattered over Eggs Benedict.

Scallion Nutrition

Scallions and green onions are very low in calories. One cup of chopped raw scallions provides over 250% of the DV for vitamin K. These green dreams are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese.

  • Calories: 32
  • Protein: 1.8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 7.3 grams
  • Vitamin K: 259% DV
  • Vitamin C: 31%
  • Vitamin A: 20%
  • Folate: 16% DV
  • Iron: 8% DV
  • Manganese: 8% DV
  • Potassium: 8% DV

Scallion Facts

Scallion Health Benefits

Scallions and their extracts are the subject of many clinical trials. In research, they are often referred to as Welsh onions or Allium fistulosum L.

1. Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer

A case-control study in China evaluated allium vegetable intake and the risk of prostate cancer. The study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that men with the highest intake of allium vegetables have significantly lower risk of prostate cancer. The study included the range of allium vegetables, including scallions, garlic, leeks, chives, and onions, and shows that these vegetables should be at the top of the list of cancer-fighting foods.

2. Supports Weight Loss

A clinical study published in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports identifies scallion’s (Allium fistulosum L.) ability to reduce body weight, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol in obese mice. Researchers used a 70% ethanol extract from green onions and gave the mice one 400 milligram per kilogram dose each day for six and a half weeks.

3. Strengthens the Immune System

Research from the National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science indicates that the mucus inside the green leaves of scallions strengthens the immune system in animal trials. The study, published in the Journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, notes that the leaves and the bulbs of the scallion did not cause the same biological response.

4. Fights the Flu

Researchers from the University of Toyama in Japan have identified that the fructan in scallions demonstrates antiviral activity against influenza viruses. The study published in the journal Food Chemistry notes that the antiviral activity comes specifically from the leafy green part of the scallion.

5. Supports Vascular Health

A study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology indicates that both raw and cooked scallions spur vascular relaxation associated with cardiovascular health. The researchers do note that the effects were most pronounced using the extract from raw green leaves of the scallion.

6. Controls Hyperglycemia in Diabetics

Researchers at the Institute for Food Sciences at the Inje University in Korea have identified that fibrous root extract of a scallion effectively controls hyperglycemia in mice with diabetes mellitus. The study, published in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice, shows that the oral administration of this extract significantly decreased glucose levels within 30 minutes to 120 minutes after ingestion.

7. Prevents and Treats Osteoporosis

A study published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy suggests that vitamin K prevents and treats osteoporosis and supports bone health. Scallions are an excellent source of vitamin K, with just 1 cup providing over 250% of the recommended daily value.

Recipes that Highlight the Scallion

Have we convinced you to eat more scallions? Here are a few great recipes that highlight their delicate flavor and give you a vehicle to enjoy the health benefits of scallions.

Pickled Scallions

If you love pickles and you love scallions, this recipe from Bon Appetit is a dream come true. The spices lend a touch of earthiness and this “quickle” is ready in just one day.

Scallion Pancakes

This Chinese restaurant favorite uses beautiful fresh scallions, flour, water, salt, and oil for frying. Consider this recipe a splurge on your diet—at least when you make them at home you know all the ingredients going into them.

Spaghetti with Scallion Sauce

From Epicurious comes this delicious, scallion-rich sauce for pasta. Olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and 4 cups of chopped scallions give this quick and easy recipe a slightly pungent and bright flavor.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallions

Yes, bacon-wrapped scallions are a thing, and they are amazing. This traditional Sicilian dish takes fresh scallions, wraps them in bacon or pancetta and them sears them in a skillet.

Scallion and Garlic Compound Butter

What is compound butter? It is butter that has been softened and then combined with fresh herbs and other flavors. Compound butter is great on toast or sliced and placed on a piece of fresh grilled fish or a steak.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of grass-fed butter, room temperature
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon zested
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Mix the softened butter, scallions, garlic, lemon zest, and salt together until well combined.
  2. Heap onto a large square of plastic wrap, forming a 1-inch diameter log.
  3. Roll tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  4. Serve as you would normal butter or slice and place on a hot piece of grilled fish or steak.

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