Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole Recipe

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Updated on May 21, 2024

Green bean casserole holds a special place in many hearts, especially during the holiday season. It’s one of those dishes that instantly brings back memories of family gatherings, festive dinners, and the comforting smell of home-cooked meals wafting through the house. However, traditional recipes often rely heavily on dairy products like creamy soups and milk, which can be a hurdle for those with dietary restrictions. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, embracing a vegan lifestyle, or simply aiming to reduce dairy intake, you shouldn’t have to miss out on this beloved dish. Thankfully, with a bit of creativity, a dairy-free green bean casserole can be just as rich, creamy, and satisfying as the original.

Ingredients for the Perfect Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

The magic of this dairy-free green bean casserole lies in the thoughtful combination of ingredients that ensure it remains rich, creamy, and flavourful, even without the use of dairy. Each ingredient has been carefully selected not only for its taste and texture but also for its health benefits and compatibility with a dairy-free diet. Let’s delve into why each component is essential and how it contributes to making this dish a standout choice.

Fresh Green Beans

Green beans are the star of the dish, providing a fresh, crisp texture and a vibrant green colour. They are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fibre and antioxidants. Using fresh green beans ensures the casserole has a delightful crunch, but frozen green beans can also be a convenient alternative. Use 1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that helps sauté the vegetables, bringing out their natural flavours. It’s a great alternative to butter, adding richness without any dairy. Olive oil is also rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, contributing to overall health. Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Onions

Onions add a sweet and savoury depth to the casserole. When sautéed, they release natural sugars that enhance the flavour profile of the dish. Onions are also known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Use 1 medium onion, finely chopped.

Garlic

Garlic adds a robust, earthy flavour that complements the other ingredients. It’s a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including boosting the immune system and reducing blood pressure. Use two minced cloves of garlic.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms add a meaty texture and umami richness, making the casserole hearty and satisfying. They are also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Mushrooms bring a depth of flavour that mimics the savoury notes often provided by dairy products in traditional recipes. Use 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms.

Flour

Flour is used to thicken the sauce, giving the casserole its creamy consistency. For those with gluten sensitivities, a gluten-free flour blend works just as well. This ingredient is key to achieving the luscious texture that makes green bean casserole so comforting. Use two tablespoons of all-purpose flour or a gluten-free alternative.

Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth serves as the base for the sauce, adding depth and richness. It’s a flavourful alternative to dairy-based broths or cream soups. Opt for a low-sodium broth to control the salt content of your dish while still packing in the flavour. Use 1 cup of the vegetable broth.

Unsweetened Almond Milk

Almond milk provides the creamy texture needed for the casserole without the dairy. It’s a versatile, low-calorie milk alternative that’s rich in vitamin E and other nutrients. You can also use other dairy-free milk like oat milk, soy milk, or cashew milk, depending on your preference. Each type of dairy-free milk offers a slightly different flavour and texture, allowing you to customise the dish to your liking. Use one cup of any unsweetened dairy-free milk you like.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce adds umami and enhances the overall flavour of the dish. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative that provides the same depth of flavour, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. This ingredient is essential for adding that savoury, umami kick that complements the other flavours perfectly. Use one teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari for a gluten-free option.

Salt and Pepper

Seasoning with salt and pepper ensures that the flavours of the dish are balanced and enhanced. Adjusting the seasoning to taste allows you to control the flavour intensity, making the dish perfectly tailored to your palate.

Step-by-Step Instructions for the Perfect Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Creating a dairy-free green bean casserole involves several steps, each designed to build layers of flavour and achieve the perfect texture. Follow these detailed instructions to ensure your casserole turns out beautifully every time.

Preheat the Oven

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This allows the oven to reach the ideal temperature by the time you’re ready to bake the casserole, ensuring even cooking and a crispy topping.

Prepare the Green Beans

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, as the added salt helps season the green beans during cooking. Add the trimmed and cut green beans to the boiling water and cook them for about 5 minutes or until they are tender-crisp. The beans should be slightly tender but still retain a bit of crunch as they will continue to cook in the oven.

Immediately drain the green beans and transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water. This stops the cooking process and helps the beans retain their vibrant green colour. After a few minutes in the ice bath, drain the green beans again and set them aside. This step ensures the beans don’t become overcooked and mushy.

Cook the Aromatics and Mushrooms

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, as olive oil not only adds flavour but also helps cook the onions evenly. Add the finely chopped onion to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes soft and translucent. This process helps release the onion’s natural sweetness and builds the base flavour for the casserole.

Add the minced garlic to the skillet. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Garlic adds a rich, aromatic flavour to the dish.

Make the Sauce

Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their juices and begin to brown. This step intensifies the mushrooms’ flavour and contributes to the umami richness of the casserole. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour (or a gluten-free alternative) over the mushroom mixture, stirring to coat the mushrooms evenly with the flour, which acts as a thickening agent for the sauce.

Gradually pour in 1 cup of vegetable broth, stirring constantly to avoid lumps, as the broth helps create a smooth, creamy base for the sauce. Pour in 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or your preferred dairy-free milk) and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari, continuing to stir until the mixture thickens, taking about 5 minutes. The almond milk adds creaminess, while the soy sauce enhances the savoury flavour. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine Green Beans and Sauce

Add the cooked green beans to the skillet, tossing them to combine with the sauce. Make sure all the beans are evenly coated with the creamy mushroom mixture. Pour the green bean and sauce mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish, spreading it out evenly. This ensures that every bite will have a balance of green beans and sauce.

Prepare the Topping

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of crispy fried onions, 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder. Mix until well combined. This topping adds a delightful crunch and extra flavour to the casserole.

Bake

Sprinkle the prepared topping evenly over the green bean mixture in the baking dish. This ensures a crispy, golden crust.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the casserole is bubbling around the edges. The bubbling indicates that the casserole is heated through and the flavours are well melded.

Serve

Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. This helps to set the sauce slightly and makes it easier to serve.

This dairy-free green bean casserole pairs wonderfully with a variety of holiday dishes or can be enjoyed as a comforting side for any meal.

Why This Is a Good Dairy-Free Recipe

Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Choosing a dairy-free version of green bean casserole has several benefits:

Inclusive for Dietary Restrictions

This recipe is ideal for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or have dairy allergies. It allows everyone to enjoy a classic holiday dish without compromising their health or dietary choices.

Health Benefits

Dairy-free ingredients often come with additional health benefits. For instance, almond milk is low in calories and high in vitamin E, while olive oil is rich in heart-healthy fats. This version of the casserole is lower in saturated fats compared to the traditional recipe, making it a healthier option overall.

Rich and Flavourful

Despite being dairy-free, this casserole does not sacrifice flavour. The combination of mushrooms, garlic, onions, and a well-seasoned sauce ensures that the dish remains savoury and satisfying. The umami from the soy sauce and the richness of the vegetable broth and almond milk create a creamy, flavourful sauce that rivals any dairy-based version.

Sustainability

Using plant-based ingredients can be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Reducing dairy consumption can lower your carbon footprint and support more sustainable food systems.

Customisable

The recipe is highly adaptable to different dietary needs and preferences. You can easily swap out ingredients or adjust the seasoning to make it your own. Whether you prefer cashew milk over almond milk or want to add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour, this recipe is flexible enough to accommodate your tastes.

This dairy-free green bean casserole is a delicious, health-conscious alternative to the traditional dish. It’s inclusive, nutritious, and full of savoury, creamy flavours that make green bean casserole a beloved staple on holiday tables and beyond. Enjoy this recipe, knowing that it’s good for your health, your taste buds, and the planet.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips for Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole

Preparing a dairy-free green bean casserole ahead of time can make your holiday meal preparation smoother and less stressful.

Make-Ahead Tips

To make your life easier, try out these tips:

1. Prepare Components Separately

Blanch the green beans as per the recipe instructions, then drain and pat them dry. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

For the mushroom sauce, cook the aromatics and make the sauce as directed. Let it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 days.

2. Assemble Before Baking

On the day you plan to serve the casserole, combine the green beans and mushroom sauce in a baking dish. Prepare the crispy topping separately and store it in an airtight container at room temperature.

3. Complete Assembly

When you’re ready to bake, sprinkle the crispy topping over the assembled casserole and bake as directed. This approach ensures that the topping remains crispy and the casserole tastes fresh.

4. Freezing Option

If you want to prepare the casserole well in advance, you can assemble it fully (except for the topping) and freeze it. Use a freezer-safe dish and cover the casserole tightly with plastic wrap and aluminium foil. It can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking. Add the topping just before baking.

Storage Tips

To ensure your casserole stays in the best shape and taste for a few days, follow these storage tips:

1. Refrigeration

Store the leftover casserole in an airtight container or cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminium foil. It can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

2. Reheating

To reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the casserole in an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil to prevent the topping from burning. Heat for about 20-25 minutes or until warmed through. For a crispier topping, remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of reheating.

3. Freezing Leftovers

The leftover casserole can also be frozen. Place individual portions in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the reheating instructions above.

4. Microwaving

For quick reheating, you can microwave individual portions. Place a portion in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap with a small vent. Heat on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through, until heated evenly. Keep in mind that microwaving may not retain the crispy texture of the topping.

By following these make-ahead and storage tips, you can ensure that your dairy-free green bean casserole remains a delicious and convenient dish, ready to delight your guests with minimal effort on your part. Enjoy the ease and flexibility of preparing this comforting classic without the last-minute rush.

Crafting the perfect dairy-free green bean casserole is more than just a culinary challenge; it’s an opportunity to bring everyone together at the table, regardless of dietary restrictions. This version, with its vibrant green beans, savoury mushroom sauce, and crispy topping, proves that a beloved classic can be reinvented to accommodate all guests without sacrificing flavour or texture. By planning ahead with thoughtful make-ahead and storage tips, you can focus on what truly matters: sharing a delicious, heartwarming meal with loved ones. Enjoy more dairy-free recipes on our website!

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