For the past few Thanksgivings, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own green bean casserole from scratch. It’s one of those dishes that BL isn’t a big fan of, but I can’t get enough of it. My mom made it every year growing up with the usual suspects– cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans and French’s crispy onions.
Yum! I’d eat a giant serving of these along with enough stuffing to keep me satisfied for an entire year. Even back then I couldn’t care less about the turkey- give me all the sides and Thanksgiving was considered a success.
This version is an elevated take, with fresh green beans, homemade mushroom gravy and crispy faux-fried onions. While purest (and my family) may scoff at the lack of anything canned, this version not only tastes better- it’s healthier too.
How to Make Homemade Mushroom Soup
For starters, this homemade mushroom soup is so, so good. Save it for just about any place you would typically use the canned stuff. Then saute shallots, thyme and mushrooms until browned, and add in flour until cooked through. Lastly, stir in soy milk and you’ve got a creamy, thick mushroom soup that’s packed with flavor.
I prefer soy milk over other non-dairy milks in these kind of dishes as it has more body and less defined flavor.
How to Make Homemade Crispy Onions
To take this casserole over the top, I added in homemade crispy onions on top. Of course, if you can’t imagine parting ways with the French’s stuff, I won’t stop you from swapping those in instead.But if you’re like me and love the idea of a fresh casserole, try these.
For ease, I recommend using a non-stick baking mat (like a silpat) for the onions. This way they will crisp up in the oven without sticking to the baking sheet. You can also use parchment paper if you don’t have a silpat. The other trick is making sure your onions are very thin so they crisp up and brown instead of steaming.
Our Thanksgivings have been in BL’s hometown for the last few years, a welcome retreat from life in St. Louis. I love packing up the car and road-tripping to Northern Wisconsin, settling into B’s tiny town, one without a single stoplight or grocery store. We don’t get cell service up there and it always feels like the perfect place to spend the holidays; away from social media, emails and the constant day-to-day.
This year though, we’ve decided to head south as a family of three. Trading a traditional Thanksgiving feast with days in the Mexican sun. Since we won’t be eating a usual Thanksgiving dinner, we hosted friends last weekend for the best kind of holiday- a friendsgiving.
2 tablespoons butter (dairy-free for vegan version. I like Earth Balance brand best)
1/4cup sliced shallots
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2cups finely chopped mushrooms
1/4cup all-purpose flour
1cup vegetable broth
1cup soy milk
Make the crispy onions. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Combine the sliced onions, flour, breadcrumbs and salt in a bowl until well coated. Place in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and cook until crispy, about 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Steam the green beans until just tender on the stove or in the microwave, set aside.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for another 2-3 minutes until soft. Add in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for ~10 minutes until mushrooms are browned and liquid has evaporated.
Sprinkle flour over and cook for 1 minutes, then whisk in vegetable broth. Stir together and cook until thickened. Add in the milk and whisk again, then reduce heat to low and cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and add in green beans.
Reduce heat to 400 degrees F. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish (or, keep in the skillet if it’s oven-safe). Top with onions and cook another 15 minutes until browned.
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.