This quick and easy vegan green bean casserole (without mushrooms) is everything you want in an elegant side dish. Fresh green beans, cooked till just tender and mixed with a creamy mustardy cashew cream sauce and a crispy onion topping. Losing the mushrooms makes for a quicker and lighter alternative to the classic American Thanksgiving side-dish and being dairy-free makes it lighter still. With its impressive looks, your guests will have no idea you threw the whole thing together in under 15 minutes and you may find yourself making it again and again throughout the year not just for Thanksgiving!
I feel a bit of a fraud here as, obviously, I’m not American and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. Hopefully I can be forgiven for my inauthenticity once you taste how delicious this is!
One of the wonderful benefits of expat life is having friends from all over the world. Here in Qatar, we have had the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving with our American friends each year. When my friend asked me to bring green bean casserole one year, I wondered what on earth she was talking about! This American classic is virtually unheard of in the UK but I have no idea why as it’s delicious!
In order to make this vegan, I based the creamy sauce on my basic cashew cream sauce recipe and then added mushroom and stock to enhance the flavours in this dish. This is such a tasty riff on that sauce, it would also be perfect in a pie!
Why no mushrooms?
I have nothing against mushrooms but I left them out of this green bean casserole for two reasons. First, I feel it is lighter and more enjoyable with an already rich meal if it is without the mushrooms. Secondly, I wanted it to be as quick and easy as possible and the mushrooms added an extra layer of complexity!
When I’m making a big meal for guests, I need the sides to either be completely prepared ahead and then re-heated on the day (this dish qualifies for this!) or just really simple to make on the day (this dish also satisfies this criteria!). So, I hope you don’t mind that I ditched the mushrooms and added mustard instead to make a really tasty but super quick and easy vegan side dish?
- Fresh green beans (also called French beans) – I know the American version often uses canned beans but I find the texture too soggy with canned beans so I prefer to use fresh (or frozen). I like to have a bit of bite to my beans so they need only the slightest bit of cooking – 5 minutes at the most!
- Cashews – these give the sauce its wonderful creaminess. Swap with macadamias if you can’t eat cashews but you would need to soak the macadamias for a few hours in water first.
- Vegetable stock – normal stock cube/powder type stock is fine but just watch the salt content and adjust the extra salt you add if it’s particularly high or low.
- Nutritional yeast – the great favourite for most vegans! This adds a slight cheesiness and a load of vitamin B12.
- Fried onions – to be honest, I don’t bother making these myself. My husband absolutely loves the ready-made jarred ones so, although I normally would go for homemade options, for these, I think they’re so delicious and so so much easier than making them yourself, that I do tend to use the bought ones instead. It’s totally up to you though and feel free to make your own if you prefer!
- Wholegrain mustard & English mustard powder – I love this combination of mustards because I like the wholegrain seeds but with the kick of mustard heat from the English mustard powder. However, feel free to swap with just plain Dijon mustard for a similar effect. Also, adjust the heat of the mustard you use depending on whether young children will be eating this dish or not.
- Seasonings - garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper – for depth of flavour.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full list of ingredients and their quantities.
- Top and tail the green beans, then blanch and refresh (this is basically just boiling for 4-5 minutes until bright green and just losing their firmness, then quickly draining and plunging into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking).
- Make the mustardy cashew cream sauce by whizzing all the ingredients in a blender.
- Mix the beans and sauce in a casserole dish and top generously with fried onions.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full instructions.
- Go easy on the salt at first then taste and decide whether you need the full amount. All salt has a different saltiness. I use a Himalayan Pink Salt which is not very salty but yours may taste more salty. So start with half the suggested amount and then add more as needed. You can always add more salt but you can't take it away!
- You might not need all the sauce as it will depend on the shape of your dish. This recipe makes a generous amount of sauce so you could save some for another day if you like your green bean casserole less saucey!
This is classically served with a roast. For a dairy-free, vegan Thanksgiving meal, this green bean casserole without mushrooms would go really well with a classic nut roast or stuffed pumpkin or my creamy vegan pot pie, some roast potatoes (or, if you want to go all out fancy but still very easy, some vegan boulangère potatoes), and some additional vegetables to go with it, like buttered carrot & swede or roasted beetroot. Serve it all with a rich onion gravy and some classic cranberry sauce, and you have yourself the most delicious full vegan roast dinner!
See this Vegan & Plant-Based Thanksgiving Menu page for more ideas.
- If you want to use frozen green beans instead, just make sure to blanch them for a couple of minutes less (3-4 minutes instead) as they will cook slightly quicker.
- For those that can’t take cashews, you can use macadamias instead but you will need to soak them for a few hours first, as they’re a little harder to blend to a smooth sauce.
- If your blender is not a high-speed blender, just soak the cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes first, or you can soak in cold water for 6-8 hours instead.
- If you really miss the mushrooms, just fry some sliced mushrooms as well and add them to the green beans and sauce!
To make this dairy-free green bean casserole ahead, blanch and refresh the green beans and keep them in a container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also make the cashew sauce ahead of time and keep that in a separate sealed container in the fridge as well. Then mix them on the day, leave out at room temperature for half an hour or so, add the fried onions on top and roast for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to check the green beans are hot in the centre before serving – they might need a little longer if still a little cold from the fridge.
Storage & Leftovers
Any leftovers can be transferred to a tupperware and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Re-heat in the microwave or in the air fryer or oven with some foil or a lid on top so that it doesn’t dry out too much. You may need to add a touch of water to loosen up the sauce as well.
Make sure to re-heat in a dish that is the right size for the amount you have leftover. If it is too big, the sauce will all run out and dry up.
📖 Recipe 📖
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- 500 g green beans (topped and tailed)
- ½ cup fried onions
- fresh herbs (for garnish – optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 375°F.
- Top and tail the green beans by chopping off the ends. Then cook them in a pan of salted boiling water for 4-5 mins until just cooked and bright green. Then immediately drain and plunge into a bowl of iced water to immediately stop the cooking (this is called blanching and refreshing).500 g green beans
- Meanwhile, make the cashew sauce by putting all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blending until very smooth and creamy. (If your blender is not high-speed, then soak the cashews first – see notes below).135 g cashews, 360 ml vegetable stock, 15 g nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard, 1 teaspoon dry English mustard powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, nutmeg
- Put the green beans into a casserole dish then pour the sauce over the top and mix together.
- Sprinkle fried onions all over the top (either homemade or shop-bought) and season with salt and pepper.½ cup fried onions
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve garnished with some fresh thyme or parsley sprinkled on top.fresh herbs
- If you use frozen green beans instead of fresh, they will cook more quickly so just boil for 3-4 minutes instead.
- If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you will need to soak the cashews first, either in boiling water for 15 minutes or in cold water for 6-8 hours, then drain and add with the rest of the ingredients.
- Go easy on the salt at first then taste and decide whether you need the full amount. All salt has a different saltiness. I use a Himalayan Pink Salt which is not very salty but yours may taste more salty. So start with half the suggested amount and then add more as needed. You can add more salt but you can't take it away!
- You may not need the full amount of sauce. It depends on the shape of your dish. So just add as much as you like and save the rest for using with something else another day.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
If you like this dairy-free vegan green bean casserole recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes for a full roast dinner: