You'll never believe how rich and incredibly delicious this dairy free Green Bean Casserole is. Made with fresh green beans, homemade cashew cream of mushroom soup, and crunchy sourdough croutons, it's sure to be a star amongst your holiday spread. (And no one will ever guess it's vegan!)
Why You'll Love this Healthy Green Bean Casserole
No Thanksgiving spread is complete with an epic green bean casserole. This one boasts all the rich, creamy character of the classic with a few discretely healthy swaps. Also, there is not ONE canned item in sight, however it's still easy enough to prepare the day of.
This vegan green bean casserole uses a dairy free cream of mushroom soup (made of cashews!), which is MILES ahead of anything bought off the store shelves. It's incredibly savory with quintessential herby character and a hint of nutmeg for spice.
The casserole is crowned with golden, crunchy sourdough croutons, which meld into the green bean mixture like a dream. Truly, no one will be able to tell this a healthier, vegan version of the classic. In fact, everyone will applaud your homemade efforts as they go in for seconds.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Green Beans: There are no mushy canned green beans in sight for this recipe! Using fresh beans ensures a crisp, snappy texture that will keep you coming back for more. It's best if the green beans are halved, which you can easily do by just snapping them in half with your hands. No extra knife work needed!
- Mushrooms: One full pound of cremini (baby bella) mushrooms creates the base of the dairy free cream of mushroom soup. They also add meaty heft and umami goodness to the casserole. If you prefer more savory flavor, use half cremini and half shiitake mushrooms.
- Aromatics: Yellow onion and fresh garlic form the aromatic foundation of this casserole. You can also shallots for a sharper, sweeter flavor.
- Herbs: Fresh thyme and bay leaves give the casserole a fresh lift and earthy backbone. Adding bay leaves to the broth mixture infuses it with subtle hints of black pepper and pine, lending more complexity to the dish.
- Broth: If making the casserole vegan, use vegetable broth. Though if your only concern is making it dairy free, feel free to use chicken or turkey broth instead.
- Cashews: Raw cashews create a knockout cream of mushroom sauce without the heft and saturated fat of heavy cream. The key is to let the cashews soak in the hot broth mixture for at least 20 minutes to help soften them. This creates a luxuriously creamy, milk-like consistency when you blend them.
- Sourdough Bread: In lieu of a classic French onion topping, this casserole gets a major upgrade with sourdough croutons. It's best to use a loaf of day-old sourdough, which will create crunchier cubes when the casserole is baked. If making the casserole gluten free, feel free to use your favorite gluten free bread instead.
Step 1: Boil Broth and Soak Cashews
In a small saucepan, add vegetable broth and bay leaves; bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the cashews and remove pan from heat. Let mixture sit while you move on to the next steps of the recipe.
Step 2: Sauté Mushrooms and Aromatics
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and onions; cook mixture for 10 to 12 minutes, until vegetables soften.
Next, stir in the sherry vinegar, garlic, fresh thyme, salt, and black pepper; cook 3 to 5 more minutes, until the harsh vinegar smell dissipates. Turn off heat.
Step 3: Blend Cashew Mixture
Remove bay leaves and transfer broth and cashew mixture to a HIGH POWER blender. (Note: Nutribullets and other similar models typically aren't quite powerful enough.) Add ¼ teaspoon salt, and blend mixture on HIGH for about 60 seconds, until it reaches a creamy milk consistency.
Step 4: Create Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup Mixture
Pour creamy cashew mixture into the pan with mushrooms and stir to combine. Stir in nutmeg, and taste/adjust seasonings as needed. (If you prefer more salt, pepper, or fresh herbs, this is the time to add it.)
Step 5: Add Green Beans and Cream of Mushroom Soup to Baking Dish
Grease a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add green beans and cream of mushroom soup mixture to baking dish, and gently toss to coat green beans.
Step 6: Prepare Sourdough Croutons
In a large bowl, combine torn sourdough bread, 2 tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Use your hands to toss bread with oil, making sure every piece is well-coated. Scatter sourdough over green bean casserole.
Step 7: Bake Green Bean Casserole
Transfer baking dish to a 425ºF oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the croutons are golden and casserole is bubbly. Remove from oven and wait 5 to 10 minutes to serve.
If desired, garnish the vegan green bean casserole with extra fresh thyme and/or cracked black pepper.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips:
- MAKE AHEAD: The casserole can be assembled up to 1 day ahead. Assemble the casserole without the sourdough croutons and refrigerate tightly wrapped in foil or cling wrap. When ready to bake, remove from fridge at least 1 hour ahead. Add sourdough croutons right before baking, and bake as instructed.
- STORE: Transfer vegan green bean casserole to an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- REHEAT: To reheat individual portions, the microwave is the quickest, easiest option. If reheating multiple portions, transfer to an 8x8 inch baking dish and reheat in a 350ºF oven until warm. If needed, add an extra couple splashes of broth to rehydrate the sauce.
Recommended Tools to Make Green Bean Casserole:
- High Power Blender: I use the KitchenAid K400, which has been compared to the Vitamix in quality, but it's FAR more affordable.
- 11x7-inch Baking Dish: For a quality, AFFORDABLE ceramic baking dish that will last ages, I can't recommend this one enough. It's also so aesthetic and will make your side dish spread shine.
- Large Skillet: A cast-iron skillet will help you achieve uniform golden goodness on the mushrooms. This one is inexpensive and pre-seasoned.
More Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes:
If you give this dairy free green bean casserole a try, I’d love for you to come back and give it a rating and review. Also, be sure snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations.
Green Bean Casserole with Cashew Cream (Vegan/Dairy Free)
- 11x7-inch or 13x9-inch Baking Dish
- High Power Blender
- Large skillet
- Small saucepan
- 2 cups vegetable broth (sub chicken or turkey broth/stock if not making vegan)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (sub shallots)
- 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 lb. fresh green beans, snapped in half
- 5 oz. sourdough bread (preferably 1 day old), torn into small pieces
- Combine broth and bay leaves in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add cashews and then remove pan from heat. Let the cashews soak in the hot broth while you prepare remainder of recipe.
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add mushrooms and onion; cook 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add vinegar, garlic, thyme, ½ tsp. salt, and black pepper. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until the harsh vinegar scent dissipates and garlic turns aromatic. Turn off heat.
- Remove bay leaves and transfer cashew and broth mixture to a HIGH power blender. Add remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and blend mixture for about 60 seconds, or until the consistency is smooth and creamy (it should resemble milk). Carefully pour mixture into pan with mushrooms. Add nutmeg and stir well to combine.
- Grease an 11x7- or 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add green beans to pan, and pour cashew cream of mushroom mixture overtop. Use a set of tongs to toss.
- Place torn sourdough in a large bowl and drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Use your hands to toss bread with oil, gently massaging the oil into the crevices of the bread. Scatter bread over green bean casserole and transfer pan to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sourdough is golden and casserole is bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.