This creamy Healthy Green Bean Casserole is the absolute best! It tastes just like the classic and is the star of the table. You'd never never guess it's dairy free!
I love Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving loves meeeee!
The food, the chaos, the smells filling up the entire house, the fam time...everything about it is so yummy and nostalgic.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was about eating three servings of Aunt Dee's chocolate pecan pie, endless plates of Grandma's sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows, and heaps on heaps of classic green bean casserole---french fried onions and all, baby!
And guess what? It still is! Be sure to peruse all of my Thanksgiving Recipes inspired by childhood classics.
My parents always did most of the Thanksgiving cooking since I was always so busy with school and work. But now that I'm a big girl who'll be hosting my own turkey day before I know it, I decided it was time to buckle down and conquer the casserole.
Cream, crunchy, savory goodness. Hey, it's a vegetable! And it's vegan, if you can believe it. This recipe may sound like an uphill climb, but consider this dairy-free challenge conquered!
How to make healthy green bean casserole
This gem comes together fairly quickly, especially if you use pre-sliced mushrooms and trimmed green beans!
- Make the onion topping: No canned onions here! We're tossing sliced onions with a simple flour, breadcrumbs, and salt mixture then baking to crispy perfection.
- Boil the green beans: Fresh or frozen works!
- Make the cream sauce: Cashew cream makes the best healthy stand in for the soupy stuff. Combine it with sautéed mushrooms, white white, soy sauce, and nutmeg for the perfect healthy dairy-free cream sauce.
- Assemble the casserole: Combine boiled green beans with the cream sauce and some onions. Top it with the rest of the onions and bake!
Key ingredients and tips
- Green beans: Fresh, pre-trimmed for ease or frozen green beans are great. Pre-cut are nice too! Avoid canned because mush is no fun.
- Cashews: The key to a silky smooth cream sauce. Raw unsalted is best for flavor, but roasted will work in a pinch (but it'll have a more distinct cashew taste.
- Onions: For the crispy topping and for flavor in the casserole mixture.
- Mushrooms: A full pound of shrooms to add epic flavor to the green bean mixture. Baby bella, white, cremini, or a mix all work. Use your favorite!
- White wine: We're building flavor here, people. I like Chardonay (def pour yo'self a glass to enjoy while cooking). If you're alcohol-free, you can sub vegetable broth.
- Breadcrumbs + flour: Texture! Any flour works except almond or coconut. You can try an all purpose gluten free blend if needed.
- Soy sauce: A great pop of umami. Use tamari for gluten free.
- Garlic: Essential! Use frozen for ease if you fancy.
Is this recipe healthy?
Yes, very healthy! This recipe serves 8-10 people and is packed with plant power. While the traditional version is more on the heavy side, this veggie side is actually packed with vitamins and fiber versus a bunch of fat. One serving boats almost six grams of fiber and plant protein!
If sodium is a concern. you could always use reduced sodium soy sauce and season to taste with salt.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Indeed. Assemble it the day before and cook it the next day so you can focus on other dishes!
- Make the green beans and the sauce up to one day in advance and store separately in the refrigerator. We won't make the onion topping until the day of so it's not soggy.
- The next day, prepare the onion topping. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce in a large skillet. Combine sauce and beans, per the step 6 of the recipe instructions.
- Proceed with the rest of the recipe and bake!
To store: Refrigerate covered casserole for up to four days.
To reheat: Warm in the oven at 350F for crisp topping, or microwave a single portion until hot in a pinch. This doesn't freeze well because the green beans get mushy.
More healthy Thanksgiving recipes
- Spinach Mushroom Herb Stuffing
- Vegan Gravy
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Favorite Cranberry Orange Sauce
This creamy Healthy Green Bean Casserole is the absolute best! It tastes just like the classic and is the star of the table. You'd never never guess it's vegan!
- Heaping ½ cup raw cashews
- 3 medium onions, divided
- 3 tbsp bread crumbs
- 3 tbsp flour (all purpose, whole wheat, etc)
- 2 ¼ tsp fine sea salt (divided) + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 lbs frozen green beans
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 16oz sliced mushrooms, chopped
- Pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ cup dry white wine (can sub broth)
- Grease a 9x13 inch or 3qt baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes or up to overnight. (If you have a Nutribullet or high speed blender, 10 minutes is fine.)
- Preheat oven to 425F and spray a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Thinly slice two of the onions and dice one onion, setting aside the diced for later. In a large bowl, add sliced onions, bread crumbs, flour and ¾ tsp salt. Toss to combine, separating each onion piece.
- Spread onions in an even layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Watch carefully to make sure they don't burn towards the end. Once done, remove from oven and lower heat to 350F.
- Bring a large pot with two inches of water to a boil. Once boiling, add green beans. Bring back to a boil (this may take a while) and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and run cold water over green beans to stop cooking. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add nutmeg, soy sauce, white wine, 1 ½ tsp salt, and pepper. (It will taste salty, that's ok!). Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Drain and rinse cashews. Place in blender with ½ cup water and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Add cashew cream and a fourth of the baked onions to mushroom mixture along with cooked green beans, stirring to combine.
- Transfer mixture into prepared dish. Top with remaining baked onions. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes (if onions are on the crispier side, you can cover with foil for first half of cooking.) Serve hot!
MAKE AHEAD: Make the green beans and the sauce up to one day in advance and store separately in the refrigerator. We won't make the onion topping until the day of so it's not soggy. The next day, prepare the onion topping. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce in a large skillet. Combine sauce and beans, per the step 6 of the recipe instructions. Proceed with the rest of the recipe and bake!
GLUTEN FREE: Use certified gluten free flour, bread crumbs, and tamari instead of soy sauce.
Keywords: healthy green bean. casserole, vegan green bean casserole
Photos by The Nutritious Kitchen.