I’ve never been a fan of green bean casserole. Every year, I messed with it a teensy bit before serving to my family. I kept the key players the same – blanched green beans, a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, and French’s fried onions. How much cayenne or sauteed onion or poultry seasoning would go into each attempt would vary by year, but I never tried making it outside of Thanksgiving as it was just an uninspiring dish. The green beans were weepy, the cream of mushroom soup was bland and starchy. I did like the crunchy onions, (perhaps the best part!) but wasn’t a fan of these processed onions with so many unseen ingredients that were hard to pronounce.
This year, I’ve had enough. I through the whole damn recipe out the window and started from scratch (as all wonderful things are made). This time, I battered and pan-fried my own fresh onions in a little flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and cayenne before adding them atop my par-cooked green beans that I mixed with my Country-Style Mushroom Gravy that I make from scratch. I stuck the casserole in a 400F oven for a few minutes until the edges bubbled and the onions caramelized further. Slice and serve.
One bite, and I knew I had done it right. So this was why people loved green bean casserole! The green beans were still crispy and slightly sweet. The mushroom gravy lent an umami depth that I didn’t find in the Campbell’s soup version. The onions were still my favorite part – crispy, caramelized, with a slight bitterness of the burnt edges and that hint of cayenne. Oooh it was perfect! Aly commented that it didn’t even taste vegan, but quite rich and creamy as though it had a ton of butter in it – which of course it didn’t.
Remember, this week we’re sharing TWO recipes each day for your Thanksgiving pleasure. I hope that you’ll incorporate just one completely plant-based dish in your Thanksgiving menu this year.
In Dallas, there’s this wonderful place called Mercy Wine Bar. My cousins and I would drop in on Mondays, as they had this incredible Flamenco band play, and we’d munch on their phenomenal food. My sister loves their sundried tomato tortellini, but I fell in love with their Summer Bean Salad (one of their vegan options). Green beans, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and quartered purple potatoes make up this refreshing dish tossed in a mint, parsley, lemon, and EVOO dressing. The result is fresh, light, and oddly hydrating – I promise it’ll be a breath of fresh air on your otherwise heavy Thanksgiving table!
If you’re worried about this somehow being too much of a Spring/Summer dish, rather than a Fall/Winter dish, fear not. The green beans, purple potatoes, and lemon tie wonderfully in with other Fall-inspired dishes. Really this a year-round recipe, and one of our favorites.
Give them both a try and let us know what you think!
- 1 lb green beans, washed, ends removed, and halved
- 2x recipe Country-Style Mushroom Gravy*
- 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs or panko
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place green beans on a plate in a circle, keeping the center free of beans. Wet a paper towel and lay it over the plate. Microwave beans on high for 1 min. Remove paper towel, place beans in a oven-safe casserole dish and set aside.
- Place flour with salt and cayenne in a bowl and mix. Place almond milk in another bowl. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Toss all the onions in the flour mixture until evenly coated, then place in along milk bowl.
- Add the panko or breadcrumbs to the remaining flour mixture. Return onions to this bowl tossing to coat in the crumb mixture.
- Place coated onions in the skillet, and toss pan a couple times to distribute the oil.**
- Cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are browned with some blackened bits.
- Pour mushroom gravy over green beans in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the onions on top, along with any fallen breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through and gravy is bubbling.
- Serve hot.
- *For more texture, blend only half the mixture, keeping some mushroom slices whole. See post for recipe link.
- **Avoid using a utensil to mix the onions as this will disturb the breadcrumbs from sticking to the onions. Toss the pan instead, using a backwards flipping motion.
- 1 lb green beans or haricot verts, fresh or frozen (ends removed)
- 10-12 purple potatoes, boiled and quartered
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- If using frozen green beans, follow package instructions to microwave steam them, then place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. If using fresh green beans, either microwave them with a wet paper towel on high 1 min, or blanch in simmering water for 1-2 minutes, then place in an icewater bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, remove from water and place in a large mixing bowl. You are aiming for bright green coloring, with a crisp bite. Do not overcook.
- Add the remaining ingredients to bowl, toss to coat evenly.
- Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.