When I was a kiddo, I couldn’t care less about eating traditional condensed mushroom soup with MSG, soy protein, and vegetable oil as the third ingredient.
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! I may eat allllll the calories (and then some) on Thanksgiving, but at least I’m eating real food. That’s what matters.
I may not have cared about the crap hiding in my food back then, but I sure as hell do now. The truth is that I’ve never really tackled Thanksgiving recipes here on the blog. I left it to the experts in years past. 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.
So let’s talk casserole. The secret is the cashews! Soaking them and then blending them with unsweetened almond milk creates this insanely thick and creamy addition that transforms the mushroom mixture into decadent heaven.
For the onion topping, I was inspired by Alton Brown’s Best Ever Green Bean Casserole. The onions are tossed with whole grain breadcrumbs and flour and baked in the oven until nice and crispy. Not only are you using fresh onions as opposed to ones that have been in a can for God only knows how long, but there’s also no oil involved!
- Heaping ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes or overnight
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or water)
- 3 medium onions, divided
- 3 tbsp whole grain bread crumbs (sub gluten-free bread crumbs for gluten-free)
- 3 tbsp flour (I used gluten-free oat flour)
- 2¼ tsp salt (divided)
- 2 lbs frozen cut green beans
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-8oz packages sliced mushrooms, chopped
- Pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (sub tamari for gluten-free)
- ¼ cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place cashews in a bowl and cover with hot water.
- Set aside to soak for 30 minutes or overnight. (If you have a nutribullet or high speed blender, 10 minutes of soaking is fine.)
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475F.
- Thinly slice two of the onions, setting aside the other onion for later.
- Combined sliced onions with bread crumbs, flour and ¾ tsp salt in a large bowl, tossing to combine.
- Be sure to separate each individual onion piece. Spread onions in an even layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with a Silipat.
- Spray once again with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn towards the end of cooking.
- Once onions are done, remove from oven and lower oven heat to 350F for casserole.
- 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 olive oil over medium heat. Chop remaining onion. Once hot, ad to pan and cook for about five minutes before adding garlic and mushrooms. Cook for another ten minutes, stirring often.
- Add nutmeg, soy sauce, white wine, 1½ tsp salt, and pepper. (It will taste salty, that’s ok!). Simmer for about five minutes.
- Blend soaked cashews with almond milk in a blender or food processor (I used my nutribullet) until completely smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Stir in cashew cream and ¼ of the baked onions. Stir in cooked green beans.
- Spread mixture into a large casserole 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!
You can find complete recipes of this HEALTHY GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (VEGAN) in hummusapien.com