I love green bean casserole. The canned-mushroom-soup-and-canned-fried-onions is so easy and so good! I’m sure that’s why it’s on so many holiday tables.

But I need gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives.

And I’ve come up with two. One is for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or even a Sunday supper when you’re having company over. It’s essentially a scratch version of the canned-soup standby. Replace the canned soup with sauteed mushrooms and a white sauce. Add some onions to boost the flavor. And for a gluten-free topping? Bacon.

The other one is a totally over-the-top recipe for Pascha.

Easy Green Bean Casserole

This recipe is easy enough that you don’t have to save it for holidays. And it’s suitable for an anti-inflammatory diet.

Ingredients

1 pound bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
3 cans of green beans
1 cup non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp bacon fat
2 Tbsp gluten-free flour substitute, such as the 1-for-1 baking flour from Bob’s Red Mill
Salt and black pepper

If you don’t need the casserole to be gluten-free, you can use regular all-purpose flour when you make the white sauce.

To you don’t need to make your green bean casserole dairy-free, feel free to use a dairy milk, and substitute butter for the bacon fat.

To make it Lenten, top with canned crispy fried onions or crushed corn chips instead of bacon.

Instructions

  1. Cut the bacon into bits, then fry until crisp. Drain and set aside.
  2. Pour most of the bacon grease into a Pyrex cup or other heat-proof container. Leave some in the skillet.
  3. Fry the chopped onions in the bacon grease over medium heat until they are soft and beginning to turn golden. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  4. Fry the mushrooms in bacon grease (add more to the skillet if you need to) until they are soft and completely cooked. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  5. Wipe out the skillet. Then make the white sauce: Add two tablespoons of bacon fat to the skillet. Add the flour along with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the roux turns a light golden color. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Let the milk mixture cook over medium low heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Combine the beans, mushrooms, and onions with the white sauce. Pour into a baking dish. Top with the bacon.
  7. Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Green Bean and Bacon Casserole for Pascha

This green bean casserole is rich and festive. It’s totally worth the extra effort it takes to make.

Ingredients:

About quart of chopped onions
Half a head of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 pounds bacon, chopped
Salt and black pepper
About a half cup of coconut oil, bacon fat, or olive oil
2 pounds fresh green beans, snapped into bite-sized pieces
1 sweet red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
A cup and a half or so of full-fat coconut milk or cashew sour cream (omit the lemon juice and zest and add an extra quarter cup of water when making the cashew cream)

If you don’t need the casserole to be dairy-free you can use butter and heavy cream.

Instructions:

You can do the first four steps up to several days in advance, so you don’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen on Holy Saturday.

  1. Cook the onions, celery, and green bell pepper in a large, heavy skillet with a bit of oil until they’re soft and the onions are starting to caramelize.
  2. Add water and simmer them until the onions and peppers are falling apart and you’ve got onion mush. Add more water as necessary so they don’t dry out and stick and burn. Scoop the mush into a blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain and set aside.
  4. Sautee the mushrooms in several tablespoons of butter. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
  5. Warm a few tablespoons of oil or bacon fat in the bottom of a large pot. Add the beans and red bell pepper, toss to coat with the oil, then add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover tightly and cook until the beans and peppers are crisp-tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. Add the onion mixture, bacon, and mushrooms to the pot. Add about a cup and a half of coconut milk or cashew cream — enough so the onion mixture forms a nice thick sauce.
  7. Stir in the beans and bell peppers and heat through. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. (If you add salt and pepper at each stage, you probably won’t need to add any at the end, but you might.)
  8. Transfer the beans to a serving dish, and serve.

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Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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