Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

BY : PUBLISHED : November 15th, 2022 UPDATED: November 27th, 2022

A super creamy & flavorful 9-ingredient dairy-free green bean casserole without mushroom soup or dairy! This vegan green bean casserole is healthier, adaptable, baked or air fried, and perfect for your holiday table!

completed Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole in a white baking dish

Super Creamy Vegan Green Bean Casserole without Mushroom Soup

Traditional green bean casserole was actually the creation of Campbell’s soup in the 1950s as a recipe to use their canned mushroom soup with canned green beans and fried onions. While the resulting dish was undoubtedly flavorful, it was also loaded with unnecessary sodium, fat, processed ingredients, and dairy.

Luckily, you can follow this easy dairy-free green bean casserole recipe (from our cookbook The Friendly Vegan Cookbook) for a dish that’s easy to prepare, made primarily with fresh ingredients, and has plenty of flavor to enjoy on your Thanksgiving table and at other holidays, potlucks, and special events!

This vegan green bean casserole recipe ditches the canned soup and beans, replacing them with fresh or frozen green beans and a creamy mushroom cashew sauce (nut-free option available) for superior consistency, flavor, and nutritional value.  

Even without the ‘ease’ of all pre-prepared ingredients, this non-dairy green bean casserole is still super simple to throw together with minimal effort and just 9 ingredients (plus salt and pepper), with the option of using a homemade or store-bought onion topping. There are also several ways to adapt this recipe to various dietary and flavor preferences (including gluten-free, spicier, 'cheesy', etc.).

The resulting vegan green bean casserole recipe is super creamy yet healthier than the traditional version and perfect for serving during the holidays as a crowd-pleasing side dish alongside vegan stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, and homemade cranberry sauce!

The Ingredients

Prepare this easy vegan green bean casserole recipe with under a dozen simple, inexpensive, and pantry-friendly ingredients.

ingredients for Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole measured out against a white surface
  • Green beans: Use fresh or frozen green beans (thawed first is best) for the best texture. While you can make green bean casserole with canned beans, the result will be mushier.
  • Vegetable broth: Either prepared or a combination of vegetable bouillon/ stock cubes and water.
  • Cashews: Raw unsalted cashews are our secret to a wonderfully rich, creamy, dairy-free green bean casserole. For a nut-free version, use sunflower seeds.
  • Vegan butter: To create the roux to thicken the sauce. I love Miyoko’s or Earth balance.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need onion and garlic. We prefer fresh garlic, but garlic powder will work in a pinch.
  • Mushrooms: Regular button mushrooms work, but use brown mushrooms, like Chestnut button mushrooms, for the most flavor. Baby Bella (cremini mushrooms) also work great for robust flavor.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works great. To make vegan gluten-free green bean casserole, use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, like Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Salt & black pepper: Season to taste. For more depth and umami, use soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free) instead of salt.
  • Crispy onions: We use store-bought crispy onions (ensure they’re GF if necessary). However, you could make a homemade onion topping (either crispy or caramelized). Method in recipe notes.

Add-ins & Recipe Variations

Add to this simple and delicious Thanksgiving green bean recipe in several ways, including:

  • Herbs: Add more flavor to the filling with fresh or dried herbs added to taste, like oregano, thyme, or basil.
  • Nutmeg: Add a small pinch to the mushroom sauce for a subtle yet noticeable depth.
  • Nutritional yeast: Add a small amount to the mushroom cashew sauce for added umami and a subtle 'cheesy' flavor.
  • For spice: Add chili/cayenne powder to the mushroom sauce or sprinkle some red pepper flakes into or over the vegan green bean casserole.
  • Vegan bacon: Finely chopped and fried for added smoky flavor.
  • Breadcrumbs/crushed nuts: To sprinkle over the top of the vegan bean casserole for even more crunch.
  • Corn: Add a cup of frozen corn for delicious corn and green bean casserole.
  • Water chestnuts: Add a can for bites of crisp texture.
  • Cranberries: To sprinkle over the top for some sweetness.
  • ‘Cheese’: To make vegan green bean casserole with vegan cheese, use some shredded melty plant-based cheese either into or over the non-dairy green bean casserole. Optionally, garnish the vegan casserole with dairy-free parmesan/nutritional yeast.

How to Make Vegan Green Bean Casserole?

  • 1) First, rinse and trim the ends of the green beans by lining up the ends of a small bundle of beans, chopping off the end, turning them over, and repeating. Repeat this with the remaining beans.
  • 2) Then, transfer the beans to a streamer basket and steam for 7 minutes before rinsing them with ice-cold water to halt the cooking process. Set them aside.

If you’re making green bean casserole with frozen green beans, they’re already par-cooked, so there’s no need to complete this step. Instead, stir them (thawed first is best) into the sauce at the end of step 7.

  • 3) Meanwhile, in a high-powered blender, combine 1 cup of vegetable broth with the cashews and blend on high until smooth and creamy.

It may help to give the machine a break now and then, stopping to scrape down the sides.

  • 4) Then, blend in the remaining vegetable broth and salt and pepper and set aside.
  • 5) Preheat the oven to 375F/190C, melt the vegan butter over a large pot and then clean (with a damp cloth) and slice the mushrooms, dice the onion, and roughly chop the garlic.
  • 6) Melt the vegan butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 7) Sprinkle in the flour and whisk well for 2-3 minutes to create a thickened roux. Then, bit by bit, pour in the cashew mixture, whisking continuously. Turn the heat off once you’ve added all the liquid and it’s thickened to your desired level.

The mixture will thicken quickly as you pour in the liquid. To avoid lumps, whisk throughout this entire step (2-3 minutes).

  • 8) Spoon the green beans into a 9x13-inch baking dish, mix with the creamy dairy-free mushroom sauce, and mix well to combine. Top that off with an even layer of fried onions, and bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Air Fryer Green Bean Casserole

Follow the above recipe until step 8, then transfer the ingredients (minus the crispy onions) to a baking dish that fits your air fryer basket (like an 8-inch square) and cook at 350F/175C for 11-12 minutes, stirring halfway. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Enjoy!

FAQs

Should I soak the nuts before blending them?

It depends. If you have a high-speed blender, you don’t technically ‘need’ to. However, soaking the cashews overnight in cold water makes them easier to blend, further neutralizes their flavor, AND makes them easier to digest, so you may still prefer to do so. Drain and rinse the soaked nuts before blending.

Can I use cornstarch to thicken the sauce?

You can use cornstarch instead of flour to make a vegan, gluten-free green bean casserole.

To do so, rather than creating a roux and adding the liquid bit by bit, you add the cornstarch (in a slurry, by combining it with a small amount of broth/water and mixing until lump-free) in at the end, increasing the heat and mixing well until it thickens. I recommend 2 tablespoon starch (with 2-3 tablespoon liquid) to begin and increase if needed.

Can I make a green bean casserole without mushrooms?

We don’t recommend it, as they’re one of the main flavor elements in the sauce. However, you technically can.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Time-saving hack: Use pre-sliced mushrooms and diced onions. You can even purchase pre-trimmed and chopped green beans.
  • For the most flavor: Use brown mushrooms rather than white ones.
  • For a homemade onion topping: For crispy onions, sauté them until lightly browned and crisp in plenty of oil. For caramelized onions, cook them over low for 40-60 minutes until well caramelized.
  • Adjust the green bean texture: Steam them for less or more time, depending on whether you prefer tender-crisp or more tender beans.  
completed Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole in a white baking dish

Storage Recommendations

To make the dairy-free green bean casserole ahead, prepare the filling 1-2 days in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator. Leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking, adding the fried onions just before it goes in the oven.

Once baked, store the leftovers either covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Reheat it in the microwave (in 30-second increments until hot) or oven at 350F/175C until heated through and the onion becomes crispy again.

Can You Freeze Green Bean Casserole?

We prefer to freeze the green bean casserole pre-baking, without the onions, ready to thaw and bake as needed. However, you can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Just note that the beans and onions will be mushier after thawing (leave in fridge overnight to thaw).

completed Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole in a white baking dish

More Vegan Side Dishes

You may also enjoy browsing these 45 vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole in a white baking dish
completed Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole in a white baking dish

Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Toni Okamoto
A super creamy & flavorful 9-ingredient dairy-free green bean casserole without mushroom soup or dairy! This vegan green bean casserole is healthier, adaptable, baked or air fried, and perfect for your holiday table!
5 from 54 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 294 kcal
METHOD Oven
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds of fresh green beans
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth (or equivalent amount of vegetable bouillon and water), divided
  • ½ cup of raw cashews
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cups of button mushrooms sliced or dicced
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic roughly chopped
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of crispy fried onions (we use store-bought)

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the green beans, wash them, trim the stem ends, cut them in half, place them in a steamer basket, and steam for 7 minutes. Remove the green beans from the steamer, rinse them with ice ­cold water to preserve the green color, and set aside.
  • In a high­powered blender, combine 1 cup of the vegetable broth and the cashews and blend on high until smooth. Blend in the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth, salt, and pepper and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • In a large pot over medium ­high heat, melt the vegan butter. Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and whisk to create a roux. Continue to whisk the thickened roux constantly for 3 minutes. Add the broth and cashew mixture and whisk continuously for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened (thickening will happen fast and suddenly, so be sure to turn off the heat just as the mixture gets thick enough).
  • Spoon the green beans and the creamy mixture into a 9 × 13 ­inch baking dish and mix until well combined. Top with an even layer of fried onions and bake for 20 minutes.

Video

Notes

  • Time-saving hack: Use pre-sliced mushrooms and diced onions. You can even purchase pre-trimmed and chopped green beans.
  • For the most flavor: Use brown mushrooms rather than white ones.
  • For a homemade onion topping: For crispy onions, sauté them until lightly browned and crisp in plenty of oil. For caramelized onions, cook them over low for 40-60 minutes until well caramelized.
  • Adjust the green bean texture: Steam them for less or more time, depending on whether you prefer tender-crisp or more tender beans.  

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 5gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 643mgPotassium: 402mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1511IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Toni Okamoto

"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez

View all posts by Toni Okamoto

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Gina H. says

    5 stars
    A delicious take on a classic dish for Thanksgiving! I'll definitely be making it again this year. Delish!

  2. Beatriz says

    5 stars
    This recipe is gold! So creamy and delicious 🙂

  3. Rachel says

    5 stars
    Love how creamy this casserole is, can't believe it's dairy-free!

  4. Mary says

    5 stars
    You don't even have to be a plant-based eater to appreciate a good healthier version of the classic green bean casserole. Thanks!

  5. Andrea White says

    5 stars
    Made this last year and will definitely be making it again! It was delicious!

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