A creamy broccoli and pearl onion mixture topped with toasted soft Parmesan bread crumbs and baked until golden brown. This Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole is a unique and comforting side dish choice.
Planning a holiday meal? More of our favorite holiday side dishes include my Creamy Cauliflower Gratin and Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes.
I’ve wanted to include a pearl onion recipe on this blog for such a long time, and friends, I’ve got one for you today that is pretty spectacular. If you’re looking for a new veggie side dish for your holiday menu, this Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole is an awesome choice.
Tender pearl onions and a lightened up cream cheese white sauce set this recipe apart from your run of the mill broccoli casserole. And, instead of being topped with dry bread crumbs, this delicious dish has a soft Parmesan bread crumb topping that is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It also happens to be made from simple sliced bread that you may very well have sitting in your pantry right now.
Family friendly and truly special. My family devoured this on one recent weeknight and there were rave reviews all around. I would absolutely include this on any holiday menu all through the year from Easter to Thanksgiving to Christmas.
- I highly recommend using fresh broccoli florets for the best result. You can purchase the convenient bags of florets that are already cut and weighed for you to make it easy. I sliced 4 small broccoli crowns and used my kitchen scale to be sure I had the 1¼ pounds florets required for the recipe.
- Look for bagged pearl onions in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store. You want to thaw them in the refrigerator before starting the recipe. Frozen pearl onions come pre-peeled which saves you a bunch of time. Try them!
- A little cream cheese goes a long way in making the creamy white sauce even more delicious. I use Neufchatel ⅓ less fat cream cheese to lighten the dish up.
- You’ll need three slices of bread for the soft bread crumbs. For delicious crumbs with a wonderful texture go with a soft white bread like Oroweat Buttermilk or Potato Bread.
How to Make Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole
This is a quick overview of how to make this recipe. You’ll find detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Partially cook the broccoli florets in a pot of boiling water until they are just barely tender when pierced with the tip of sharp knife. Drain them well and transfer them to a baking dish that you’ve coated with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the thawed pearl onions to the same water and cook until slightly tender. Drain well and transfer them to the baking dish with the broccoli.
Cream Cheese White Sauce
- Melt butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Gradually whisk in the milk. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring, until thickened.
- Reduce the heat and stir in the cream cheese.
- Cook, stirring, until smooth.
Soft Parmesan Bread Crumbs
- Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor.
- Process until it is the consistency of soft bread crumbs.
- Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and toss them with the Parmesan cheese.
- Add the melted butter and toss again to combine.
Assemble the Casserole
- Transfer the broccoli and pearl onions to a baking dish that you’ve coated with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the cream cheese white sauce over the top and stir gently to coat.
- Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
- Top with the soft Parmesan bread crumbs.
- Bake until cooked through and golden brown.
This Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole smells amazing as it bakes and the browned topping is as pretty as it is delicious.
Make Ahead Instructions
Assemble the casserole as directed but don’t top with the bread crumbs. Cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or foil and transfer it to the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove the dish from the fridge and allow it to sit on your kitchen counter for 30 minutes to an hour. Top with the bread crumbs and bake as directed.
It may take a little longer to cook through if the dish is cold when it goes in the oven. If the bread crumbs are getting too brown before the dish is cooked through, lay a sheet of foil lightly over the top towards the end of the baking time.
This is a delicious vegetable side dish choice for ham, beef, turkey, or chicken. It’s a super versatile choice that fits well on a holiday menu or any special menu all year long. Here are some of my main dish favorites that would be a perfect choice to serve with this Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole.
- Slow Cooker Ham with Peach Thyme Glaze
- Roasted Beef Tenderloin
- Dry Brine Turkey with Garlic Butter Rub
- Air Fryer Fried Chicken
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Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole
- 1 ¼ pounds fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces
- 14.4 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed (like Bird's Eye)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 4 ounces Neufcahtel cream cheese, ⅓ less fat, cubed
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For the Soft Parmesan Bread Crumbs
- 3 slices sandwich bread, like Oroweat Buttermilk or as many slices as needed to yield 2 cups crumbs
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the broccoli. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until barely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to a colander to drain and then transfer it to the prepared baking dish.
- Return the same pot to the heat (no need to change water) and return the water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and transfer to the baking dish with the broccoli.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over MEDIUM-LOW heat. Whisk in the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk. Increase heat as needed to bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to MEDIUM-LOW and stir in the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture over the broccoli and onions in the baking dish and stir gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Tear the slices of bread into pieces and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Process until they are the consistency of bread crumbs. You should have 2 cups of crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl and toss with the Parmesan. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle the soft bread crumbs evenly over the casserole.
- Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Adapted from Taste of Home