This week American families are preparing for their Thanksgiving dinner with much ado about the turkey, gravy, pies, etc. The vegetable side dishes are usually a mere afterthought, but they don’t have to be! Take the humble green bean casserole for example, a popular American Thanksgiving side dish and potluck favorite. Love it or hate it, the Campbell Soup Company created this comfort food dish in 1955 using pantry items most Americans had on hand-canned green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. While there is still some valuable nutrition in canned green beans, many of the protective phytochemicals and B vitamins are deactivated in the canning process. That is why I found a fantastic recipe by Bon Appétit featuring fresh green beans. Of course I took out the animal products and made it entirely plant-based!
Bon Appetite’s Best (Vegan) Green Bean Casserole
This recipe hack is totally vegan and almost all gluten-free except for the French’s fried onions. French’s fried onions are not wheat-free but you can add sautéed or fried shallots, onions, slivered almonds, or hash brown crisps instead. Be prepared for a thicker sauce with this version.
- 2 pounds green beans
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced, divided
- 6 tablespoons earth balance, divided
- 4 large sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup cashew cream
- 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
- ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- Dash of cayenne powder
- ¾ cup French’s fried onions
- Preheat oven to 375°. Working in batches, cook green beans a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and halfway to tenderness, about 3 minutes per batch. Drain and let cool; trim stem ends. Place in 2 quart casserole dish.
- Make cashew cream. Place one cup of raw cashews in blender with 1 ½ cups steaming hot water add a little salt and cover with lid to keep heat in. Let cashews rest for about 15 minutes while you are working on cooking the mushrooms and then come back to blender and blend for about one minute until smooth and creamy.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook half of mushrooms, without stirring, until golden brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes more. Add 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 thyme sprigs to pan. Cook, tossing occasionally, until butter browns and mushrooms are dark brown and very tender, about 4 minutes longer. Season with salt and transfer to casserole dish. Repeat with 2 Tbsp. butter, salt, and remaining oil, mushrooms, and thyme and add to the casserole dish.
- Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until roux is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in milk and cashew cream. Increase heat and bring to a simmer, whisking often, and cook until béchamel sauce is thick and bubbling, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in garlic and nutritional yeast; season with salt and pepper.
- Pour sauce over the green beans and mushrooms. Cover tightly with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, 25–30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until casserole is lightly browned on top and around the edges, 15–20 minutes longer. Top with fried onions and continue to bake just until onions are slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes to set before serving.
Original Recipe  by Chris Morocco at Bon Appétit