Are you ready for the most delicious Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole you’ve ever tasted?! Picture it: you’re sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and digging into some crunchy green beans in a creamy mushroom sauce and topped with flavorful onion straws – comforting and slightly indulgent. Guess what! This recipe doesn’t use any of that creamed-of-gross mystery canned stuff – no cans were harmed in the making of this green bean casserole! That’s right friends we are making everything from scratch including the sauce and the onion straws! Did I mention that this casserole is also dairy free?! Trust me, that sauce is ridiculously creamy and no one will be the wiser.
I meeeaan did you even know that soaked raw cashews + some liquid + some blending = the BEST sauce ever?! End of story! Weather you are dairy free or not, this sauce is for you. In the past I have used soaked and blended cashews to make vegan ice cream, which was sweet, sweet bliss. BUT this is the first time I have used soaked cashews to make a savory cream sauce and OMG it’s amazing! I could live off the stuff! Seriously, I even tested two different sauces for this recipe. The first one was sauce made with almond milk and a flour roux to thicken, it was alright, nothing to write home about. BUT the cashew sauce won by a million miles. Yup a million, it’s that good!
To make this Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole we start with the topping – the straw onions which are pretty easy to make especially because I oven bake them instead of frying. Guys, I’m seriously afraid of deep frying things! Hot oil spattering everywhere, not sure I can handle it. Plus baking the onion straws cuts down on a lot of calories. All you do is thinly slice some onions using a mandolin or a sharp knife and dunk them in the gluten free batter, spray with a tiny bit of cooking spray and bake away while you make the remainder of the casserole. Then you saute some onions, mushrooms, and garlic in some butter (dairy free of course) until everything is tender. Then to make the sauce you blend the previously soaked cashews with some chicken stock and spices until super smooth and creamy! If your blender doesn’t get the cashews super smooth I have listed a tip in the notes below! Add the sauce to the pan with the mushrooms and let it thicken. Just wait until you see how rich and luscious it gets!
Can’t forget the green beans! I used a little shortcut – I used frozen green beans rather than having to trim and blanch fresh green beans. But fresh green beans are the way to go if you want to make this casserole extra special. Whatever you do do not, I repeat, DO NOT use canned green beans! They are slimy and mushy and they make me want to gag!!! Before you hate me, just give the frozen green beans a try, they are almost as easy as dumping those evil things from a can. The frozen green beans add a nice crunchy texture with a nice bright flavor. With all that said I know that there are a lot of really cool people out there who really, really love the canned green beans, so if you must – even though it hurts my heart – you can sub in the canned green beans for the fresh/frozen ones! I’ll just avert my eyes. Really, it’s okay, I will still be your friend, promise. 🙂
The best part is once you stir in the green beans in the sauce and let it heat up and throw the gluten free onion straws on top you are DONE! I highly recommend taking the hot pan you cooked the casserole in to the table and serving it as is. In my opinion this adds a nice rustic, homey feel to the dish and your table. Plus it keeps other fancy serving dishes free for your other recipes.
If you are stressing out about how to make this casserole when you’ve got a turkey to cook and mashed potatoes and gravy to make and everything else – don’t you worry. I have given tips on ways to get some prep work done a day or two in advance to make Thanksgiving day a little easier. We’ve got this!
Be ready, my friends to dig into the most comforting, and flavorful Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole you ever had in your life! The end!
- ONION STRAWS:
- ½ cup rice flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch/arrow root starch
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced, about ⅛th of an inch (use a mandolin or a sharp knife)
- 2 tablespoons butter (vegan, if want to keep it dairy free)
- ½ onion, chopped
- 12 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 6 to 8 hours (or do quick soak method, cover cashews with boiling water for 1 hour, allow to sit for 1 hour)
- 1½ cups low sodium chicken stock (sub vegetable stock to keep vegan, but the chicken stock will make the sauce taste closest to the traditional)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch/arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1½ pounds frozen green beans, thawed*
- ONION STRAWS:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat, or lightly grease it, set aside.
- Whisk the rice flour, cornstarch/arrow root starch, cornmeal, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper (optional) in a large bowl until well combined.
- Working in batches mix the thinly sliced onions in the flour until well coated. Tap the excess flour off the onions and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all of the onions are coated in the flour.
- Spread the onions in an even layer. Lightly spray with cooking spray. this helps the onions to get a nice brown color.
- Bake the onions for 30 to 35 minutes, make sure to gently toss them 2 to 3 times. they should be tender and golden brown. If they get done before you are ready to serve the casserole you can keep them warm in the oven with the heat turned off. OR they are still good cold.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat (I suggest a cast iron skillet if you are going to serve the casserole in the skillet it's cooked in), Melt the butter then add the onions and a pinch of salt. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add half of the mushrooms to the pan stirring until they are mostly browned and have shrunk down in size. Then add the remainder of the mushrooms and saute until browned - about 8 minutes total.
- While the mushrooms are cooking make the cashew sauce: Drain the cashews from their soaking liquid. To a high speed blender add the cashews, chicken stock, corn starch, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper. Blend on high for one minute. Rub a little of the sauce between your fingers, it should be completely smooth, if it's not blend longer. (Note: I have left suggestions below on how to ensure your sauce is smooth if you don't have a high speed blender)
- Returning to the skillet add the garlic, saute for 1 minute. Then pour in the cashew sauce, increase the heat to medium high and allow the sauce to come to a simmer and thicken, about 3 minutes.
- At this point taste the sauce and adjust seasoning adding more salt and/or pepper as needed.
- Drain any excess water from the frozen green beans. Stir them into the sauce. Allow them to heat for a few minutes.
- Top the casserole with the onion straws. Serve immediately.
To blanch fresh green beans: Trim the beans and cut into 1 inch pieces. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil add the green beans, allow them to boil for 30 seconds to a minute, they will turn bright green in color. Drain them from the water and immediately add them to an ice bath (a bowl of water filled with ice cubes) this will stop the beans from cooking further. Allow them to sit in the ice bath for 1 minute. Drain and follow the recipe as instructed above.
For the cashew sauce: It is best to use a high speed blender to ensure that the sauce is ultra smooth. However, if you do not have a high speed blender then try straining the cashew sauce trough a fine mesh siv to separate any tiny pieces of cashew left behind. If you do this you will want to add the spices in after straining.
TIME SAVING TIPS:
-make the cashew sauce up to 2 days in advance. Store in fridge, covered until ready to use.
-If using fresh green beans you can trim them up to 2 days in advance, store in an air tight container in the fridge.
- Blanch green beans the morning of, or up to 6 hours before using. Store in fridge.
-chop the ½ onion used for the sauce (not the onions straws) up to 1 day in advance. store in an airtight container or bag in the fridge.
-slice the mushrooms up to 1 day in advance. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
Although the leftover casserole does reheat nicely, I recommend serving it to guests immediately, the sauce is best when it's freshly heated.
Cook time does not include time required to soak the cashews.
Onion straw method adapted from Alton Brown
Sauce recipe adapted from Hot For Food
BTW I made a different version of green bean casserole back in the dark ages. The sauce is made out of cauliflower and the topping is made from crispy shallots. It is probably a heather, lower calorie version – and also very tasty. But I personally think this Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole is the way to go for Thanksgiving day!
More tasty Thanksgiving side dishes:
Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Healthier Stuffing (not Gluten Free)
Green Bean Casserole with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce and Crispy Shallots
Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate
Pumpkin Scalloped Potatoes