Much like mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole has always been a staple on my Thanksgiving dinner plate. Like pretty much everyone else in America, I grew up eating salty, heavy green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and pre-packaged fried onion bits. Not exactly clean and green! These days I’m all about more veggie, less other stuff, which led me to develop this lighter, dairy-free green bean casserole topped with crispy shallots and (surprise!) coconut bacon.
Full disclosure, calling this dish a “casserole” is kind of a stretch. If you’re looking for a thick, soupy green bean casserole with a few flecks of green, this isn’t it! A light sauce made with sautéed garlic, mushrooms, vegetable broth, and almond milk really gives the starring vegetable the attention it deserves.
If you’re never made coconut bacon, you’re in for a treat. First, it’s critical that you use large, unsweetened coconut flakes, not shredded coconut. The pieces are about the size of a square-shaped quarter, if that makes any sense. I got my coconut flakes at Whole Foods but I’ve also seen them at Trader Joe’s. At any rate, you’ll find them in the baking aisle. Toss them in a bowl with liquid smoke (use more than I suggest below depending on how smoky you like your “bacon”) and a touch of paprika. Combined with salty, crispy shallots, the topping on this green bean casserole offers so much yummy flavor and texture.
Friends, this is not your mother’s green bean casserole. Light, colorful, and just the tiniest bit saucy; this vegan version will satisfy your cravings for traditional Thanksgiving chow.
Green Bean Casserole with Coconut Bacon
This is not your mother’s green bean casserole. Light, colorful, and just the tiniest bit saucy; this vegan version will satisfy all of your cravings for traditional Thanksgiving chow.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
For the topping:
- Olive oil cooking spray
- ½ lb shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- ¼ tsp. paprika
For the casserole:
- 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 Tbsp. vegan butter
- 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ Tbsp. all purpose flour
- ¾ cup vegetable broth, warmed
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat your oven to 450F. Lightly spray the shallots with olive oil cooking spray and combine them with the flour and salt in a small bowl. Toss to coat. Transfer the shallots to a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan every so often. The shallots should be golden brown and crispy when they’re done. Set shallots aside to cool in a medium bowl and reduce oven temperature to 350F.
- Bring a gallon of water to a boil in a large stockpot and prepare a bowl of ice water. Blanch the green beans for 5 minutes, drain, and transfer them to the ice bath.
- Meanwhile, make the coconut bacon by combining the coconut flakes, liquid smoke, and paprika in a small bowl. Give it a good stir so all of the coconut pieces are coated. Spill the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Keep a close eye on the coconut bacon in the last minute of baking to prevent burning. When golden brown, remove the coconut bacon from the oven and combine with the crispy shallots. Keep the oven on!
- Place a deep skillet over medium heat and melt the vegan butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Continue to sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and the moisture has mostly cooked off. Stir in the garlic and sauté for a minute more.
- Warm up the vegetable broth in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and continue to cook over medium heat for a minute or so, until the flour is golden brown. Slowly pour in half of the vegetable broth (emphasis on slowly!) and use a wooden spatula to scrape up any crispy bits from the bottom of the skillet. When the mixture has thickened a bit, stir in the rest of the vegetable broth.
- Add the almond milk to the skillet and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the green beans.
- Transfer the green bean mixture to a casserole dish and pop it in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are bubbly. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle with the crispy shallots and coconut bacon. Serve warm.