Sunday, December 11, 2016

Green bean casserole

November 26, 2016

We had the pleasure of joining in on our American friend's Thanksgiving tradition again this year. Our contributions to the table were an unconscious echo of the green bean salad and pie we prepared previously. First, I chose Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new veganisation of the traditional green bean casserole.

To this uninitiated Aussie, it's far preferable to the traditional concoction of canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup. Moskowitz has us make our own tasty gravy of blended cashews, vege stock and nooch. It thickens to bind sauteed green beans, mushrooms and onions. For me, the only misfortune is that the mushrooms infuse the casserole with a dull grey-brown colour that's not exactly appetising. With my host's approval, I sprinkled the top with Malaysian fried shallots - their golden hue helped spruce things up.

For dessert, Michael and I teamed up to make our favourite apple pie. For the one vegan guest in the gang, I tried my hand at apple roses. I took my cues from Green Gourmet Giraffe. The construction was a little easier than I'd feared, but as Johanna had hinted they're tough to cook evenly. The apple petals darken and the pastry outer crisps long before the centre is cooked. My tartlets were pretty but too chewy, and in need of more jam.

And so we pulled off flavour without looks in one dish, and looks without flavour in another. Perhaps next Thanksgiving we can refine these recipes and see them reach their full potential.

Green bean casserole
(slightly adapted from a recipe at Isa Chandra)

1 cup raw cashews
3 cups stock
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
500g green beans
2 small onions
4 cups mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 cup fried shallots
salt & pepper

Place the cashews in a plastic container with a lid. Cover them with water and soak them for at least 2 hours, and ideally overnight.

Place the cashews in a blender with the stock, flour and yeast flakes. Blend them until they're completely smooth, adjusting the blend speed or switching it off periodically to scrape the sides, as needed.

Trim the beans and chop them into 4cm lengths. Slice the onions into loops. Slice the mushrooms into bite-sized flats. 

Heat the olive oil in a large frypan. Add the beans and onion, sauteing them until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue sauteing until they just start releasing water. Pour in the stock mixture from the blender, then sprinkle over salt and pepper. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Preheat oven to 190°C. Spray a large high-walled rectangular baking dish with oil. Pour the bean mixture into the dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, until it's browned and bubbly. Sprinkle over the fried shallots.


  1. I was admiring the shallots on the casserole so was surprised to hear they were not in the recipe as I thought there was fried onion on the traditional green bean casserole. But I am not that au fait with thanksgiving recipes.

    Sorry to hear the tarts didn't quite work because they do look wonderful. At least they would have made a pretty addition to the thanksgiving spread :-)

    1. Hi Johanna - this casserole recipe originally used canned onions and other ones seem to use store-bought fried onions or even onion rings...! So the fried shallots are a reasonable approximation.

      Do you have any tips for my next attempt at the apple roses?

    2. Not sure what to suggest about the apple roses other than to roll the pastry a little thinner so it cooks in the same time as the apple and helps the insides cook quicker.

    3. Ah, that's a neat thought! Thanks.

  2. I've always been intrigued with a green bean casseroley dish. I've only ever really had green beans the same few ways and one of my new cookbooks has a casserole dish with beans. I was thinking of making it for Christmas.

    1. Hi Veganopoulous! Is your casserole recipe a mushroomy one like this, or different entirely? I think I'm more accustomed to Mediterranean-style bean casseroles full of tomato. :-)