Looking for a healthy dairy-free green bean casserole that’s made from scratch with nourishing ingredients? Then this recipe is for you! It’s not only easy to prepare, it’s also quite delicious. Overall it is sooooo much better than the worn out canned versions.
I know most people only think about making green bean casserole during the holiday season, but why not enjoy it throughout the year? When you think about it, preparing it in the summer when green beans are in season makes more sense. If you don’t have fresh on hand don’t worry, just use frozen beans. The baby french beans (haricot vert) produced by Woodstock are my favorite store bought frozen beans; they’re picked when young and tender.
This dairy-free green bean casserole is easier
Most homemade green bean casserole recipes involve blanching the beans in water, making a mushroom gravy, assembling the casserole, then baking for about 30 minutes. My skillet version is easier because it skips the blanching (not necessary!) and instead the beans are cooked right in the mushroom gravy. The casserole is prepared in a cast iron skillet and once assembled placed under the broiler for a mere 20 seconds to crisp up the onions. The lengthy baking step is eliminated.
Have you read the ingredients on the typical can of fried onions? They usually contain palm oil, a non-sustainable product responsible for human rights violations and rainforest destruction. Or they contain genetically modified and hexane-extracted canola oil. A recent animal study shows significant weight gain and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease from chronic consumption of canola oil. Others show it depletes vitamin E. Plus canned fried onions usually aren’t organic and typically contain wheat and corn dextrose.
For all of the above, I created a healthier and tastier homemade onion topping for this recipe – it’s easy to make too!
Canned mushroom gravy only contains flecks of mushrooms, whereas this recipe includes half a pound. I prefer to use shiitake mushrooms because they really amp up the nutritional value in addition to being delicious. But feel free to use whatever mushrooms you desire including a combination.
- Sauté onions to be used for the topping
- Sauté mushrooms then prepare a mushroom gravy
- Cook the beans in the gravy
- Arrange the topping over the skillet casserole
- Briefly broil
Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole
- 10.5-inch cast iron skillet, 3 inches deep
- 12-inch non-stick skillet (or stainless steel)
For the Onion Topping
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
For the Skillet Casserole
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms of your choice, sliced or cubed
- 1 pinch cayenne, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, such as Pacific Foods brand
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk from a carton, such as So Delicious brand
- 4 teaspoons arrowroot powder (1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
- 10 to 12 ounces french green beans (haricot vert), fresh or frozen; or use regular green beans
- 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or as another option use cracker crumbs (see FAQs below)
- Sweet paprika
To Make the Onion Topping
- Cut the onion in half lengthwise, from stem to root. Lay the flat sides down and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
- Heat the first Tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick (or stainless steel) skillet over medium heat with a bit of the onion. When it begins to gently sizzle, add the remaining onion slices, separating them as you place them in the pan.
- Turn the heat down to medium and sauté, stirring often, for about a half hour or longer. You want the onions to soften and just start to caramelize (turn a bit walnut brown). You don’t want them to crisp up at this point.
To Make the Skillet Casserole
- Heat the second Tablespoon of oil in a deep cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of mushroom. When it begins to sizzle, add the remaining mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they release their liquid and begin to turn golden brown.
- Stir in the cayenne, black pepper, garlic, salt, thyme and continue to cook for about 30 seconds.
- Reduce the heat and slowly stir in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any bits of mushrooms. Simmer, partially covered, for about 3 minutes; stir occasionally.
- Spoon about 1/4 cup of the gravy into a small bowl and let it cool down for a couple of minutes. Add the arrowroot powder and whisk until smooth, then slowly pour back into the skillet while stirring. Simmer, stirring, until thickened (this will happen almost immediately)
- Cut or snap the beans in half and arrange in the gravy so they are submerged. Simmer partially covered until the beans are just tender. Baby french beans cook in only 4 minutes; larger beans will take longer. Don’t overcook.
- Sprinkle the bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs) on top of the casserole, next sprinkle the paprika, and then arrange the sautéed onions.
- Place under the broiler (not too close) for about 20 seconds until some of the onions are a bit crispy.
You can use almond crackers, such as Simple Mills brand, to make healthy, gluten-free bread crumbs (0r use other gluten-free crackers). Simply pulse them in your food processor until the crackers are evenly chopped into crumbs (don’t overprocess). For reference, one box of Simple Mills almond crackers makes 1 cup of bread crumbs.
Yes, that’s why I don’t suggest blanching them first; just simmer the beans in the mushroom gravy until tender. Cook until they turn bright green and are tender with a slight crunch.