Licurdia – Tropea onion soup

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This Tropea onion soup recipe is one of the best ways to appreciate the flavour of Calabria's prized red onions, which are famed for their delicate sweetness. Not much else goes into the soup apart from grated potatoes to thicken it and a little chilli – another Calabrian staple. Leave out the pecorino to keep this dish vegan, and make sure the cheese you're using is made with vegetable rennet to make it vegetarian.

First published in 2019

Licurdia is a wonderful example of southern Italy's cucina povera or 'food for the poor'. Comprising of just a few simple vegetables and some stale bread, this humble broth is elevated with Calabria's prized Tropea onions. These fragrant pink onions are famed for their delicate and sweet flavour and really made this soup something special, so it's definitely worth seeking them out.




Licurdia – Tropea onion soup

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 500g of Tropea onions, sliced
  • 1 pinch of chilli flakes
  • 200g of floury potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 600ml of water
  • salt
  • pepper

To serve

  • 8 slices of bread, toasted (ciabatta works well)
  • pecorino, grated (optional)


To begin, place a large pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the oil, followed by the onions, chilli flakes and a pinch of salt. Sweat down on a medium-low heat until very soft, for about 15 minutes
Add the grated potato, stir for a couple of minutes, then pour in the water. Simmer for 30 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper
Divide between bowls and place a slice of toasted bread in the soup. Grate over plenty of pecorino, if using, and serve

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