Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegan Green Bean Casserole / Brittany Lassiter Can Cook!

My friend Brittany 'doesn't' cook. She claims she can't. I don't believe her for a second, and besides, we all have to start somewhere. For her 24th birthday party, she made a traditional green bean casserole, and it became my mission to veganize it.

I wanted to make a vegan version of her mom's recipe.  Why should I be denied Green Bean Casserole because of my ethics?! I will not be denied any longer - neither will you!

Brittany cooking soy beef crumbles at the last vegan potluck. 

You will need:
     *1 medium red onion
     *olive oil
     *6 - 8 cloves of garlic
     *10 oz mushrooms (a little over half a pound)
     *1 1/2 cup soaked cashews + 4 cups of water
     *2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed and washed.
     *1 - 2 Tbs Italian herbs
     *2 tsp pepper
     *1 1/2 Tbs salt
     *3 - 4 green onions 
     *1 large can (6 oz) French's Fried Onions 
First and foremost, I chop up my mushrooms into very small pieces and saute them in olive oil on medium heat. I wasn't the biggest fan of the movie 'Julia and Julia', but one thing I learned is that mushrooms won't brown if you crowd them in the pan.  So I cook them first and put them aside in a bowl. 
Next, I add a little more oil to my pan, dice my red onion and saute it until caramelized, but you can go until they are just transparent.  Add chopped or minced garlic, being careful not to burn it.  I like to add the Italian herbs at this point, so they can cook into the onions and garlic.  Add mushrooms and let cook together for about a minute or so.
Mushrooms, onions, garlic, Italian herbs.

While the onions are doing their thing, blend your soaked cashews and water together until smooth. Once your onion/mushroom/garlic/ Italian herb concoction is cooked through and through, add your cashew cream.  Whisk everything together and add salt and peeper, plus thinly sliced green onions.  Cook on medium/medium high for a few minutes.  Whisk constantly as to not let it burn.

Cream of Mushroom Soup - Vegan Style!  Taste and add more salt/pepper/Italian Herbs to taste.

As this recipe tends to be time intensive, I usually make my cream of mushroom soup the night before I make the casserole.  It's also one of those dishes that tastes better when it sits in the fridge overnight.

Next, I steam my green beans for about 10 - 15 minutes.  The goal is to get them tender, but since they will be baked as well, try not to take them too far.  

Now is the fun part!  It's all coming together! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix your green beans and cream of mushroom soup together with about 3/4 of the can of french fried onions. 

Spread out the mixture in a casserole/baking dish.  Bake for 20 - 30 minutes.  It probably won't be ready at 20 minutes, but every oven bakes differently, so it's a good idea to check on the casserole every few minutes after the 20 minute mark.  I'm guessing at about 25 minutes, you'll want to pull it out and sprinkle the remaining french fried onions on top.  Bake for another 5 minutes.
 Before the oven
Done and done!
To make this recipe a little simpler, you can make the cream of mushroom soup with soy creamer, about 3 1/2 - 4 cups.  Before whisking it into the mushrooms and onions, coat everything in about 2 Tbs flour and whisk soy creamer in.  Whisk vigorously to get all flour clumps out and cook until desired thickness.

Next time I might add some Sherry to the cream of mushroom soup.  For tips on soaking cashews, check out this post.

 I know there has to be a better alternative than these!  So delicious, though.  Any suggestions??

1 comment:

  1. Looks delicious. Need to do a test run before Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing. Made a vegetarian version last year that had a great healthy onion topping...homemade with red onions crusted with whole grain bread crumbs. Can't quite remember everything involved, but will post if I can find it again!