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I learned something new after I made this recipe. Green bean casserole is a love it or hate it dish. I was under the impression that it was one of the most loved comfort foods like grilled cheese with tomato soup or macaroni and cheese or maybe just anything involving cheese? Apparently only a select few are lucky enough to have tastebuds that allow us so much enjoyment from one of the greatest Thanksgiving sides of all time. Yay us!
Now, do I love green bean casserole enough to eat two of these giant casserole dishes to myself? Yes. Will I eat them before they get too old to eat after being cooked within days of each other? No. That's six cans of green beans and that's my reality right now. Thankfully my dad likes it too so I after I gave him several portions I'm probably only responsible for 60% of the ridiculous amount of green bean casserole I made.
I ended up making it twice because the first time I photographed it, it turned out awful. You eat with your eyes first and everyone who is on the fence about how much they like green beans casserole would have made up their minds based on the photos alone. Seriously, they looked like I copied photos out of an ancient cookbook. You know the type: monotone food, shadows in all the wrong places, weird colors,...
These new photos are about the best I could do. It truly was the most difficult thing I've ever photographed. That dark pink casserole dish just added to how difficult it was. It really wasn't the right color for this food and it was throwing pink reflections everywhere. I'm not 100% happy with the new photos but I'd happily take these over the originals!
Green bean casserole is a tricky one if you can't have gluten or dairy. I somehow survived seven Thanksgivings without it and I finally have it back on the menu. Back when I could kind of eat dairy, I had a gluten free cream of mushroom soup that I tried but it wasn't condensed so it was too watery. And no french fried onions so it was kind of like watery soup with green beans mixed in. I should have at least fried some onions. It's actually really easy!
Yes, frying your own crunchy onion topping really isn't too bad. As long as you have enough oil and a candy thermometer, you shouldn't run into any issues! There are probably only two things to mention. Well, it's not terribly safe messing around with a pot of 360ºF oil so I'll just add a "be careful" too.
The first thing is to make sure your oil is hot enough. Not CLOSE enough, HOT enough. Any time you fry something and the oil is too cold, it will soak into the breading and make it soggy or at minimum too oily.
The other tip to avoid gunking up your oil with the starch. Make sure your oil is deep enough and shake off the excess starch from the onions before cooking them. Yeah, I like an extra crunchy onion too but believe me, a light coating actually turns out crunchy and any extra starch will gunk up your oil. Especially if there's not enough oil. Too much starch will also make the onions taste floury so just give them a little shake!
Put green bean casserole back on your Thanksgiving menu with this gluten free, dairy free version. Just as good as the original and includes a vegan option!
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 C chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegan option)
- 1/2 C mushrooms, diced small
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp pepper, divided
- 3 cans cut green beans
- 4 oz Daiya cream cheeze style spread, cubed
- 1/2 C + 1 Tbsp tapioca starch, divided
- 1 Tbsp cold tap water
- Spectrum vegetable shortening for frying (quantity varies depending on the size of your saucepan, you only need about 1 1/2 inches.)
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, chicken stock, mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the cans of green beans and dump them into a medium casserole dish (see notes).
- Once the contents in the saucepan have finished simmering, whisk in the cream cheese cubes until melted. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp of tapioca starch into the water until it is dissolved. Increase the heat until you reach a boil again then whisk in the starch slurry. The mixture will thicken instantly then you can remove it from the heat. Note that allowing the starch to continue to heat will cause the mixture to become "gummy".
- Pour the cream of mushroom soup you just made over the green beans and mix. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a pot (preferably a large diameter and deep enough to attach a candy thermometer to the side), add 1 1/2 inches of vegetable shortening. Alternatively, you can use a deep fryer and add fat according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Heat the pot of oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360ºF.
- While the oil heats up, combine the remaining 1/2 C tapioca starch with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and the paprika. Make sure the bowl you combine it in is large enough to fit the entire onion (a Tupperware with a lid is what I always use!) Set aside.
- Cut the onion in half and slice into half rings as thinly as possible. A mandolin will make quick work of this. Use your fingers to separate the onion pieces from each other then add to your starch mixture. Toss to coat (or if you have a lid for your bowl, just give it a good shake).
- Use kitchen tongs to shake off the excess starch from the onion slices and add them to the hot oil. I was able to fry half an onion at a time but some pieces may stick together. Just try to keep them spread apart. Fry for 2 minutes then use the tongs to flip them to their other side (they will most likely be stuck together in a few pieces so flipping them isn't a tedious task by any means). Fry another 2 minutes on this other side or until they are golden brown. Move the cooked onions to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- Once the casserole comes out of the oven and the onions are cooled, break the onions apart from each other (or into smaller chunks) and sprinkle them over the green beans. Serve while fresh.
- Potential allergens in this recipe may vary due to brands of ingredients used, product reformulations, etc. Please verify that all your ingredients are safe for you to consume and always be mindful of allergen cross contamination while cooking.
- My "medium" casserole dish that I used for this recipe was a 2.25 quart oval dish which measures 13.25"x8.375"x2.625". It is a glazed stoneware.
- I've tried frying the onions in coconut oil but I don't recommend it. Although you can safely heat coconut oil to that temperature, it gives it a strange aftertaste. A refined coconut oil may work but I recommend Spectrum vegetable shortening. Don't worry, it's not like traditional shortening. It's not hydrogenated and is made from 100% palm oil which is rainforest alliance certified, certified sustainable palm oil, and fair trade certified. This has a truly neutral taste and no strange aftertaste after it's been heated.