Composting Tips in SF + My Fave Grilled Onion Recipe

August 12, 2016

Grilled Dinner

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and since moving to San Francisco I’ve taken this love to a new level. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing my kitchen is, especially when you compare it to what I was dealing with in NYC. My New York kitchen was the lowest of the low, but I made it work. Now I’ve got a shiny new set up, about five times bigger than what I had in New York. Since I’m working from home and trying to make healthy choices, I have been cooking most meals, savoring this opportunity to experiment with new recipes.

Along with the joy of setting up and putting my new kitchen to use, I’ve also been learning how to properly compost. Composting is a huge focus in SF and it makes me happy to know that as I prep my food, I’m doing the right thing with the scraps and leftovers. I’m actually a super messy cook so when I do cook, I don’t know how, but food scraps tend to scatter the counter. Don’t judge, the food usually tastes good!

Easy Composting

At least with composting my food scraps aren’t going to waste. Composting is super easy here, everyone has bins in their kitchen (I have this one from Amazon) and all buildings have a green bin for composting. While living in NYC, composting was never something I thought of doing, plus I didn’t have an inch of counterspace to spare for a compost bin, but here it’s part of the routine. Once the bin in my apartment fills up, I bring it to our building’s trash room that has a green bin for all compostable items. Done & done, doing my part!

There was a bit of a learning curve, but knowing what to compost while I cook has become second nature.

Here are the quickie dos and don’ts of composting


  • All food scraps and spoiled leftovers
  • Meat bones and seafood shells
  • Paper takeout containers
  • Coffee ground
  • Used napkins and paper towels


  • Aluminum foil
  • Clean cardboard or paper (recycle instead)
  • Cooking oil
  • Glass
  • Plastic bags (not labeled compostable)
  • Metal cans and lids

San Francisco set a goal to be waste-free by 2020 and composting is an easy way that we can all do our part. SF Environment launched the Real Foodies Compost campaign to help spread awareness and I’m happy to spread the good word. As I continue to experiment in the kitchen, I’ll be composting and hope you do too.

Simple Cry-Free Onion Recipe

And without further ado, let me show you my absolute favorite grilled onion recipe. You will likely be surprised at how simple and delicious this one is. Our apartment complex has a shared grill so these have been on heavy rotation; we’ve been grilling onions nearly every week.

So here’s the deal, I love caramelized onions but I’m a huge wimp and can’t chop an onion without running from the kitchen in tears…multiple times. I’ve actually worn swim goggles to cut onions; it’s quite a sight! However, I’ve found this hack that will give you tasty onions, no tears required.

grilled onion recipe

Peel your onions and place your peels in your handy compost bin.

Grilled Onion Recipe

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Composting Bin

Cut the onions into quarters. This is the only onion chopping required and is so minimal that even I can do it. Place the quarters on a small piece of tinfoil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then turn the onion over a few times to ensure all sides of the onion have olive oil to avoid sticking to the tinfoil.

Grilled Onion Recipe

Wrap up the onion in the foil making a little pouch.

Grilled Onion How To

Place this pouch on the grill for about 15-25 minutes depending on the heat level.

When it comes off the grill, beware it will be hot! Once it takes a minute or two to cool down, open up the pouch and find your perfectly caramelized onions. Recycle the foil, because remember–you cannot compost tinfoil!

grilled onion recipe

When we grill these, I do at least 3 onions so I can have them as a side dish to my dinner and then have extras to toss in eggs the next morning, or even as a part of my salad for lunch.

grilled onion recipe

So tasty, so easy. I’m always looking for easy grilling hacks so if you’ve got a recipe or tip to share, please comment below!

A big thank you to SF Environment for teaching me the how-tos of composting and for partnering on this post. To learn more, check out this video on composting and visit to learn more.

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