Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole

It is absolutely that time of year again.

I can’t say I’ve ever really been a huge fan of green bean casseroles. I think canned beans has a lot to do with that, along with the whole, you know, not vegan thing. I got some beautiful organic green beans in my veggie box yesterday, and I figured I’d do an updated, fresh, vegan green bean casserole.

But it’s been done. And done right. By the ever-brilliant Susan of FatFree Vegan Kitchen. Check it out! Fresh beans and a homemade gravy; there’s nothing canned about it.

So Susan had scooped me by about two years. What was I going to make? Well, I realized that since I didn’t really like green bean casseroles all that much to begin with, why make a casserole at all? And why not make the fried onions from scratch? And leave the gorgeous beans whole and beautiful?

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole

If you like green bean casseroles, by all means, go over to Susan’s blog and make that one! It’s the one I would make, and it’d probably be the first green bean casserole I’d like. If you’re up for it, use the homemade fried onions from here to top it off. I know people love French’s, but homemade ones don’t have hydrogenated oil, TBHQ, or propylene glycol in them. And you can make them ahead of time, too!

If you don’t like casseroles all that much, but do like fresh beans, fried onions, and mushroom gravy, then give this a shot. It makes a beautiful starter or side dish.

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8

Fried Onions
2 Medium Onions, sliced thinly
2+ Cups Soymik (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
All-Purpose Flour (or your fav. gluten-free blend!)
Oil for frying

Mushroom Celery Gravy
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
2 Ribs Celery, diced
1 pinch Salt
4 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
4 Tbs Flour
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Soymilk*
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Thyme
Black Pepper

1lb Fresh Green Beans
Scallions, for tying
Pepper, for garnish

*I thought it would be really smart to use the soymilk I soaked the onions in to make the gravy. It wasn’t. It gave the gravy an overwhelmingly raw-onion taste, and ruined it for me. Unless you really, really like onions, I suggest using fresh soymilk for the gravy.

Fried Onions
Begin by making the fried onions. Cut the ends off the onions, peel them, and slice them in half lengthwise. Slice them thinly into half-moons. Try to keep your slices all the same width so that the onions cook evenly.

Sliced Onions

Soak the onions in 2+ cups soymilk for at least 10 minutes. Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or other pot to a depth of 1-2 inches. I’ve found that I can use less oil to fry in a wok; since the sides are curved the oil pools in the middle.

Grab a handful of onions from the soymilk, shake them off a little, and place them in a bowl. Coat with flour completely, tossing with two forks to keep your hands clean. Use enough flour so that they’re not soggy.

Onions and Flour

Test the oil by putting one onion in, if it bubbles up, it’s ready. Guard against the oil being too hot – it should take 7-9 minutes before the onions start to turn golden brown!

Fry for 7-9 minutes a batch, turning occasionally, until the onions are very crispy and caramelized. The onions themselves should be a very rich golden brown, beautifully caramelized, and the breading a light golden brown. Drain on a paper towel or cloth, and sprinkle with salt to season.

Fried Onions

If making ahead, store in an airtight container until ready for use.

Green Beans
Next, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the green beans for 1-2 minutes, or until tender crisp but still bright green. Shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking, drain and set aside.

In a skillet, saute sliced mushrooms and celery in 1 Tbs of oilve oil until tender and fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove to a bowl and add earth balance margarine to the same pan over low heat (don’t bother to clean it out!). Once melted, add flour and whisk well to create a roux. Slowly add in the soymilk while whisking, turn the heat up, and whisk while it thickens to form a smooth sauce. Add thyme and salt to taste, adjusting the thickness by adding more soymilk if needed. Stir the mushrooms and celery in.

Slice the chives in half, lengthwise, and use them to tie up little bundles of green beans. You can reheat the green beans before serving by placing in a low oven or quickly steaming.

Tying Up Green Beans

To serve, place a few spoonfuls of gravy on a dish, and place the bean bundle on top. Sprinkle with fried onions and grind fresh pepper over everything. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole


  1. Halyma

    I am thinking just the gravy recipe looks wonderful!

    I don’t deep fry foods myself – too messy and we have caloric battles here, so we avoid fried foods as much as possible!

    But, the beans and the gravy – those look beautiful!

  2. yasmin

    yum, fried onions. i thought they were just regular sauteed onions at first (despite the picture, sad), but fried onions are delicious. they might even be able to help green beans. i’ll have to consult this the next time i get green beans in the CSA box.

  3. veggiebelly

    I dont enjoy canned beans either..or canned anything for that matter (except corn and olives). This is beautifully deconstructed! Love those little bundles and the onions look divine!

  4. Heather

    What a delicate spin on something typically so…well, pile-esq. I love the way you bundled up the beans using the chives. Beautiful work.

  5. Georgia

    Wow those photos look awesome. I really like your idea – it feels fresher and more alive than a green bean casserole. I have never had canned green beans – if I need some and they are not available in fresh I keep a bag of frozen ones in my freezer – but only fresh would do here.

  6. RobinO

    It looks wonderful and since I am traveling home this holiday I needed to help my mother make some things my children and I can eat. I new to veganism but my 4 yr old is allergic to eggs, milk, and peanuts. So hence, I need to cook for his needs as well. Thanks for all of the great ideas! Please keep them coming.


  7. Tori

    That is the most beautiful looking green bean “casserole” I have ever seen. I don’t think I have ever even tried regular green bean casserole before. I was always severely grossed out by cream of anything soups. Blech. This looks like it would be worth trying though.

  8. jacqueline

    this is brilliant! this way the beans are crunchy and delicious but you still get the creamy mushroom sauce and crunchy onion topping.

    great job, and really beautiful pictures!

  9. Zephyr

    Beautiful! I noticed that in the ingredients list you use scallions for tying the beans, while in the instructions you say to use chives. I know they’re pretty similar, but do you have a preference between the two?

    Ooh, good catch. I didn’t realize that I had called for both! Ha. Either will work, and if you have a choice at the market, choose whatever is fresher and longer (easier to tie if they’re longer). If that doesn’t help, then pick the chives, they’re thinner and more flexible.

  10. Jessica

    Looks lovely! I hate being picky. I can’t stand mushrooms in any form and onions unless they’re powdered. When someone invents a green bean casserole that uses powdered onions and no mushrooms, my life will be complete …

  11. Melissa

    I am allergic to soy and was wondering if their is an alternative to soy I notice that a lot of vegan receipes ask for some form of soy. Do you have some good non soy receipes?

  12. Laurel from Simple Spoonful

    Wow! There’s a person or two in this household that LOVES green bean casserole but won’t eat it anymore due to the gross-out factor of the traditional ingredients. This recipe is beautiful and looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it!

    Great presentation!

  13. leelee

    I couldn’t find a “comment” section for your new iPhone app so I thought I’d post it here. It ROCKS! Thank you, Thank you. Now when I’m at the grocery store and am standing there thinking, “What in the world am I going to cook tonight?” I can just pop out my phone and have an instant shopping list! How fab is THAT?!

  14. Hänni

    I am taking this and some vegan whipped sweet potatoes to our company potluck thursday. i’m sure this will blow away the canned cranberries and bob evans rolls!

  15. jen

    I just stumbled onto your blog via an iphone app I just downloaded. Wonderful site! Such talent in so few years! I can’t wait for your cook book – I LOVE your pics. Your site is relaxing and refreshing – Thank you for sharing your talents with us!!

  16. Lindsey

    That is SO weird! I was just thinking about making a green bean casserole, and then I take a look at your post. Freaky. Thanks for the instructions on frying onions, so I don’t have to buy those cans of weird oniony fried things.

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  18. Joanna

    i love your take on the hum drum green bean casserole. it’s one of those dishes that i could care less if it’s at thanksgiving or not. but this one, i would definitely be excited about.

  19. John

    Hi, I’m John and I’m omnivourous. I’m totally stuffed after trying out your recipe. I did make a couple of changes though due to circumstances. I infused the soy milk with a sprig of thyme instead of adding it to the sauce. It worked very well as you could taste it but it wasn’t overpowering. I also added half a leek to the mire poix and that worked out fine too. Very tasty sauce. Nice delicate balance of flavours. Keep up the good work. I’ll be trying some more of your recipes. Actually that Shepherd’s Pie looks rather tasty ;-D

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  21. Kate Horowitz

    Well, I made {a non-vegan version of} this for my family for Thanksgiving, and needless to say they were impressed. I had some trouble timing all the different elements of the dish to come out at the same time–the onions took FOREVER to fry! I think it was probably the pan I was using.

    Terrific recipe, though, and while I may not ever have the energy to attempt it again it sure made me look fancy in front of my grandparents. Thumbs up!

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  24. Lauren, 11

    Over here in Kentucky we make our onions by splitting them with a tool to where each piece of onion kinda looks like fries but they’re still stuck together at the base of the onion. Then we batter and fry, the serve hot with a dip. Idk what kind of dip, but we call this a Bloomin’ Onion!

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