We never had green bean casserole at Thanksgiving when I was growing up, so it wasn’t until a Friendsgiving a couple years ago that I was introduced to this delicious mess of cream and veggies. Although the taste of green bean casserole is delicious, the thought of that gelatinous goo that comes out of a can of Cream of Mushroom soup, is enough to keep me off the dish for life.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, my mom and I are solidifying the menu, and trying to cut it down (my mom cooks for an army no matter what the occasion) and although she wasn’t a fan when I first mentioned Green Bean Casserole, after tasting this, she is sold! Just give me a plate filled halfway with this, and load the other with stuffing and I’ll be good-to-go. (The turkey was always my least favorite part of the dinner anyway, only eating it because I felt like I “had” to).
So, how have I remade this classic holiday dish to be vegan, healthy and also taste good? Well, I start by using as much whole food as possible. By making the mushroom soup from scratch, I’m able to use real mushrooms and onions, adding more fiber and nutrition to the dish. Additionally, instead of the cream coming from milk, I’ve made the base from raw cashews, the nuts that cream-like-a-dream! I was also somewhat *shocked* to learn that canned crispy fried onions were vegan….and although I wouldn’t exactly classify them as “healthy”, I figure once a year can’t hurt to indulge in them, especially when they’re now surrounded by all pure ingredients. (However, feel free to make your own fried onions from scratch- this time of year, I just simply don’t have time for that!)
I hope you enjoy this dish with your family and friends this holiday season, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below, or by tagging me on Instagram using the hashtags #HealthTastesGood and #EllenWhitney.
For the mushroom soup:
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-24 hours
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
12-16 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup olive oil, separated
2 small yellow onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and pepper, to tastes
¼ cup +2T all-purpose flour
1) Soak cashews in water until very soft, at least 4 hours but up to a day in advance. Drain the water then place in a high speed blender with the veggie broth. Puree until thick and smooth.
2) Heat a skillet over medium-low heat with half the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and onions and sauté until tender and turning golden, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, remaining olive oil, and flour, cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Quickly stir in the cashew cream. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minutes. Remove from heat, adjust seasoning as needed (it should be salty). Refrigerate if not making the rest of the casserole immediately.
For the casserole:
1 batch mushroom soup (above)
2 pounds (~8 cups) fresh green beans, trimmed, and cooked
1 1/4 cup unsweetened cashew or soy milk
2 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 dashes black pepper
1- 8 ounce can Fried Onion Pieces (I use Trader Joe’s brand– feel free to add extra onions to the casserole as you choose 😉 )
Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 3 minutes until just tender. Drain the beans and allow to drip dry as long as possible so no extra liquid is transferred to the casserole. Combine the soup, milk, aminos, pepper, beans and 2/3 of the onions in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly. Top with remaining crispy onions and bake another 5 minutes.