This vegan green bean casserole is rich, creamy, delectably dairy-free, and topped with a tempting layer of crispy onions. It’s easy to prep in advance, so make it a part of your holiday table!
The secret to creamy vegan green bean casserole
This vegan green bean casserole turned out pretty much perfect on the first try when I had the initial idea. Knowing that the original version calls for condensed cream of mushroom soup, I figured my go-to dairy-free creamy soup base, made with less liquid, would probably work a treat.
The base is made from cooked potato, white beans, and raw cashews. Be sure to use raw cashews and not roasted. (P.S. raw cashews are not truly *raw*, they are actually steamed. They have a starchier texture and milder flavor than roasted cashews do.)
The cooked potato, when blended, creates a gooey texture, while the beans add some heft to this dish and the cashews add richness. Together this trio makes a delectable dairy-free cream base.
In my humble opinion, while it requires an extra step in the blender, my cream base is well worth using! It’s naturally gluten-free since it’s not thickened with a roux; and there’s no weird flavor introduced from coconut milk that some recipes use.
It was never my main goal, but these ingredients make for a fairly nutritious dish as well! I’ve been eating the leftovers as a main dish whilst testing out the recipe.
Green bean casserole flavor hacks
I cannot stand mushrooms, so I’ve barely ever tried the original green bean casserole and refused to use ‘shrooms here, instead relying on other flavors. Feel free to add them if that’s your thing, though… throw them in before the shallot to brown them off and draw out the liquid.
I use shallot instead of onion in many of my holiday recipes. It has a more delicate, sweet, restaurant-quality flavor and is worth the splurge in these traditional comfort food dishes! As another way to add flavor I deglaze the pan with a ladle of white wine. Finally, to bring the umami that we lost from the mushrooms, I rely on miso paste in this recipe as well as a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast. I tried out the recipe once without the nutritional yeast, and that was fine as well, if you’d like to avoid picking up that specialty ingredient!
This vegan green bean casserole was sampled by my roommate and my better half, who are both not vegan. The former liked it enough to post pictures on social media, and the latter said the following verbatim: “this tastes really good considering you have no idea what you’re trying to make”.
This recipe is made with fresh green beans. I figured we’re already messing with the original a whole lot, so we might as well cook the vegetables properly instead of serving up a plate of mush. You’ll lightly stir-fry the green beans in a skillet with some shallot and garlic until they’re bright green, then throw them in a casserole dish with the blended cream base.
(If you for some reason require that your green beans be absolutely hammered, just cook them in the skillet longer until you get what you want).
Tips to make your vegan green bean casserole a success
- You can use your broiler to get a little bit more color on the crispy onions, but be careful: they can burn VERY quickly! Broil the casserole for just 60 seconds at first, and then check on it every 30 seconds. Risky business!
- Don’t skimp on your oil in the saute pan. The Maillard reaction between the oil, shallot, garlic, and celery (should you use it) will make your dish much more flavorful. Don’t be shy, it’s the holidays!
- Season, season, season! Taste the cashew cream mixture for salt before adding it to the green beans. Once you stir all of that together, taste it again. This is a rich dish, it requires generous salting!
I’ve seen some people make their own crispy onions, but why would you mess with perfection? Store-bought crispy onions are accidentally-vegan and they’re a delight. It’s the holidays, live a little! (Said by a person who was testing this recipe in August while it was 95 degrees out).
This vegan green bean casserole is super easy to prep in advance. You can make the green bean mixture and the cream base, stir them together, and store it in the fridge. When it’s almost time to eat, give the mix another stir, stick it in a casserole dish to heat, and then sprinkle on the onions to get them golden brown. Your Thanksgiving-day prep and cleanup for this side dish can be about 5 minutes and 1 dish.
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
For the cashew cream base
For the cashew cream base
- Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 1-2 hours before starting. Also, cook and peel the potato. I microwave mine, but if you plan to cook it some other way, do that now.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and the white beans. Add all of the cashew cream ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.
For the vegan green bean casserole
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly grease a 9x9-inch square baking dish, or another baking dish of a similar size.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, and the celery if using, and stir. Stir occasionally and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the shallot is softened and starting to lightly brown.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for another 60 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the green beans, and then add the white wine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the green beans turn bright green, and are cooked to your liking. (They won't soften much further in the oven.)
- Stir in the blended cashew cream mixture and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture from the pan to your prepared baking dish, and sprinkle the top evenly with crispy onions.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until hot throughout and the crispy onions are beginning to brown. For more browning, you can briefly broil the casserole for about a minute - keep an eye on it to prevent burning. Serve hot.
Here are a few of my other favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the blog:
By the way, I’m blessed by your supportive comments and messages about my last post. I hope that I’ve made it easier for someone else out there to share, too.