Want to know what was ‘pon Rocky Top? Tennessee Onions – that’s what! Back in 1985 + when I was between the ages of 18 and 26, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian. (Not a very popular diet option in those days). Never a problem for me – but it did seem to perplex people who I visited at meal time. My diet particularly disturbed a friend of mine’s mother and so she would make this dish every time I visited. I loved that woman! YUM! Tennessee Onions!
I can distinctly remember this friends mother saying, “I have wracked my brain trying to think what dish I could fix that would be vegetarian and I can’t think of a thing other than these Tennessee onions that my grandmother used to fix”.
What is funny about this whole conversation is that she was having a cookout and I was standing right in front of the food table about to fill my plate. I ate a hamburger bun with all of the fixings (tomato, onion, lettuce, cheese, pickle) as well as a salad, green beans, potato chips, potato salad, watermelon and the now famous, Tennessee onions. I guess she was so disturbed that I wouldn’t be eating a hamburger patty – she couldn’t see that there were plenty of vegetarian options on her table.
Back then, I discovered that some people can only see through meat glasses. It’s ok – we all are what we are. Let’s just go with it.
The best part is that the Tennessee Onions were terrific – grandma must have been a superstar in the kitchen and my friend’s mom shared the recipe with me.
Of note concerning Tennessee Onions – I have no idea why this onion dish is called Tennessee Onions considering that it is made with Vidalia onions that come from Georgia? Who knows – let’s just roll with it – OK?
This couldn’t be easier to do and oh so tasty!
Serving Suggestions for Tennessee Onions
Serve Tennessee Onions over hamburgers, over steak, as a side dish at your cookout or even as a “burger option” for your vegetarian friends.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. ~ Job 19:25
- 2-3 Vidalia onions (or any sweet onion will do)
- ½ stick unsalted butter
- Garlic salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese (the better quality, the better taste)
- 1 Cup mozzarella Cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Fresh oregano for garnish
- Using non-stick cooking spray, prepare a 9x13 baking dish. Heat oven to 350. Cut onions into ¼- ½ inch thick slices and separate the rings. Lay rings into the baking dish. Add garlic salt to taste (usually about 1 tsp). Add pepper to taste – about ½ tsp is usually good.
- Cut the butter into pats and place around the dish on top of the onions. Spread the cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top of the onions. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown.
- Remove from oven, garnish with oregano and serve warm.