In a recipe on a Spanish cooking website, it calls for:
1 unidad de cebolla blanca
In this context, does 1 unidad mean one onion?
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It is certainly unusual to see "una unidad de cebolla" instead of "una cebolla" since the onion is a whole, so adding "unidad" is redundant.
My guess is that the aim is to use the second entry of unidad
- f. Singularidad en número o calidad.
but since it is obvious that one onion is one unit of onion(s), phrasing it like that makes it look like you were using the seventh entry (maths related)
- f. Mat. Cantidad que se toma por medida o término de comparación de las demás de su especie.
So "1 unidad de cebolla blanca" sounds more like
Una unidad de medida de cebollas / One unit of measure of onion
With the (standard) unit of measure for onions being... onions themselves. It's tricky because it doesn't refer to weight or size of the onion, just one onion is enough for the recipe. Imagine that is was an Spanish omelette, and then the recipe asked for "three units of potato(s)" to refer to 3 potatoes. Weird.
Phrasing like that makes sense if we are talking about a know or conventional unit of measure. It could make more sense for other ingredients, but not for items for which the unit is the default unit of measure.