This easy green bean casserole is made from scratch with mushrooms and our favorite Magic Cauliflower Cream Sauce for a simple, lightened-up vegan dish. No cream of mushroom soup necessary!
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Let’s talk about GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE.
More specifically, let’s talk about how to lighten up (and veganize!) green bean casserole.
Because with all the rich, heavy sides on our Thanksgiving table, this is one recipe we definitely prefer to keep on the healthy side. Plus, why mess with a rich, heavy cream (or cream-of-whatever) sauce when you can pack it full of veggies with no one the wiser?
We use our favorite Magic Cauliflower Cream Sauce here to mimic a traditional cream-of-mushroom soup.
What’s Magic Cauliflower Cream? In a nutshell, it’s a cauliflower and veggie stock purée that takes the place of dairy-based sauces in our favorite recipes (think alfredo, mashed potatoes, or creamed corn!)
You can find the full recipe here – but basically, all you need to do is simmer 1 pound of chopped cauliflower with 1 and 1/2 cups of veggie stock and a pinch of salt for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is ultra-soft, then blend well to make a smooth “cream”.
Also, a note: This vegan green bean casserole is VERY forgiving, so don’t be afraid to riff on the recipe! For example:
- Leave the mushrooms out or chop them up finely if you or your guests aren’t a big fan.
- Add a thinly sliced shallot to the sauce for extra flavor.
- Double the sauce if you want more than a light layer.
- Leave the green beans whole (our favorite!) or chop them into bite-sized pieces.
- Use fresh green beans, blanched green beans, or canned green beans.
…You get the idea. Use this recipe as a baseline, and make it your own!
How to prepare this vegan green bean casserole in advance:
This casserole keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days if you’d like to make it in advance or even just the day before! For best results, follow these make-ahead tips:
- Make the sauce as directed, add the green beans, and then let everything cool completely.
- Store cooled casserole in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days until you’re ready to bake.
- When you’re ready to bake, top the casserole with fried onions and pop it in the oven until heated through. In this particular recipe, we recommend adding 5-10 minutes to the cook time if you’re baking straight from the fridge.
- Choose your baking dish carefully! Cold glass or ceramic dishes can break when placed in a hot oven: if you’re transferring your casserole straight from the fridge to the oven, make sure you’re using a sturdy metal or cast iron pan. You could also transfer the cold green bean mixture to a room-temperature casserole dish just before baking if you like!
This easy vegan green bean casserole uses a simple cauliflower purée for a creamy casserole that’s naturally vegan and dairy-free.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups Magic Cauliflower Cream
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
- 1 1/2 cup french fried onions
PREP THE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE:
- Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet (ours is about 12“) over medium-high heat.
- Add minced garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have softened and garlic is fragrant, about 4 minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper to mushroom mixture and stir to combine.
- Add Magic Cauliflower Cream and vegetable stock to pan and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes until liquid reaches a low simmer.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
- Add green beans to skillet and toss to combine (we like to use a pair of tongs here!) Turn off the heat.
- If you’re baking your green bean casserole immediately, proceed to the next section. If you’re making the casserole in advance, let green beans cool completely, then cover with a tight-fitting lid or cling wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days before baking.
TOP WITH FRIED ONIONS AND BAKE:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Top green beans with an even layer of french fried onions.
- Bake casserole at 350 degrees F for 15-25 minutes until green beans are hot and onions have begun to brown. (Note: If you made the green beans ahead of time, add 5-10 minutes to your cooking time to ensure casserole is warmed through)
- Serve immediately.
What is Magic Cauliflower Cream? Cauliflower Cream is our favorite lightened-up (and meal prep friendly!) substitution for thick, dairy-based sauces. Find the full recipe here (basically, just simmer 1 pound of chopped cauliflower with 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock and a pinch of salt for 20-30 minutes until cauliflower is ultra-soft, then blend well to make a smooth “cream”).
Prepping ingredients for this recipe: Cut the mushrooms and green beans in this recipe down to whatever size you like! If you love mushrooms, leave them sliced. If you have guests who don’t love mushrooms, chop half or all of the mushrooms into smaller pieces. If your pan is big enough, leave the trimmed green beans whole to save prep time! If you’re using a smaller pan or want bite-sized pieces, cut the beans into 2- or 3-inch pieces.
Additions and Substitutions. This recipe is very forgiving – feel free to doctor it up! Dial up the heat with a dash of cayenne pepper, paprika, or red pepper flakes. This recipe leaves a light layer of sauce across the green beans – add an extra cup of cauliflower cream or even double the sauce ingredients if you like more sauce! If you aren’t vegan, feel free to use chicken stock in place of veggie stock or to add a bit of cream, butter, or cream cheese to the sauce.
Which green beans to use for green bean casserole: Use any green beans you like here! We love our green beans to be crisp and fresh, which is why they have a relatively short cook time in this recipe. If you like your green beans more well-done, simmer the green beans when you first add them to the sauce for 15-20 minutes or until they’re just shy of your preferred texture (they’ll finish cooking in the oven!) You could also blanch your green beans before adding them to the sauce if you prefer. Canned green beans will also work just fine here – we recommend using 3 (14.5 oz) cans of green beans if you go this route.
French-Fried Onions. We tested this recipe with French’s Fried Onions and generic Supermarket Fried Onions (both were vegan – but as always, double-check the ingredients at your store if you stick to a strict vegan diet!) If you’d prefer to stay away from pre-made French Fried Onions, try a quick homemade version like this one in place of store-bought.
To make this green bean casserole in advance, follow steps 1-7 in the instructions above, then let green beans cool completely before covering with an airtight lid and storing in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to bake, remove casserole from the fridge, top with fried onions, and bake as directed. You will likely need to add at least 5-10 minutes of bake time to the recipe if you’re baking straight from the fridge to ensure the casserole is heated through – just keep an eye on it as it cooks and add more time as necessary! Please note: If you choose to bake straight from the refrigerator, make sure you’re using a metal or cast-iron skillet. Cold glass or ceramic dishes can break when placed in a hot oven.
Equipment. We love using a deep, oven-safe sauté pan for this recipe so we can go from stovetop to oven with just one pot. You could also use a Dutch Oven or a large cast iron skillet. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet or sauté pan available, prepare the sauce and green beans on the stovetop as directed and transfer to a casserole dish or a sheet pan for baking. As always, please check the care instructions on your equipment.
Keywords: vegan, thanksgiving, holiday