I recently saw a recipe for Creamed Pearl Onions and Fennel on Epicurious, and I was suddenly reminded of the pearl onions that my mom would make for holidays. There were two dishes that she always made: “My Cornbread Stuffing”, which was a box of Stovetop Stuffing mix with added sausage, and “My Pearl Onions”, which was frozen pearl onions with a powered cream sauce mix. I’m not sure why she added the “my” to the name, because it wasn’t like it was there was recipe she was passing down through the generations. The dishes came from boxes and packages just like everything else I grew up eating.
I was always kind of grossed out by the idea of her pearl onions, so I never tried them. I’m not sure if she was buying a package of frozen pearl onions already in cream sauce and heating them on the stove, or if she was combining frozen pearl onions and one of those packages of powdered just-add-milk sauce. Either way, it wasn’t very appetizing.
The recipe on Epicurious piqued my interested though, and it seemed like a great dish to veganize for the holidays. Rather than use fennel, I added kale to the dish, which I find much tastier. This recipe is sort of a combination of My Creamed Kale and My Green Bean Casserole, but with pearl onions in the place of green beans.
Vegan Creamed Pearl Onions and Kale is a terrific side dish for holiday celebrations, and it’s one that I have no problem adding “my” to!
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
- 1 ½ cups plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 12-ounce bags frozen pearl onions, thawed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch of green curly kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 350° and lightly oil a casserole dish.
- Mix together the cashews, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk, and ½ teaspoon in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the garlic and kale to the pan, and stir until the kale is wilted. Add a little water if the pan is too dry. You may need to add the kale in two bunches, if your pan is on the small side.
- Mix together the panko breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, dry mustard powder, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Remove the vegetables from the heat and mix in the cashew cream.
- Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the casserole is bubbly.
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