Healthy Green Bean Casserole

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Healthy green bean casserole made with a creamy mushroom cashew sauce and homemade crispy baked onions on top. Dairy-free, vegan + gluten-free friendly.

Growing up, green bean casserole was at every single holiday meal and I’m still such a big fan!

Traditional green bean casserole is made with canned cream of mushroom soup and packaged fried onions, but in true EBF fashion, I have upgraded the recipe! No more canned veggies and soup… we’re using fresh green beans and mushrooms, homemade crispy baked onions and a homemade cashew cream sauce to keep this version dairy-free.

Healthy green bean casserole in a baking dish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a healthier version of a classic holiday staple.
  • It’s dairy-free, vegan and can easily be made gluten-free!
  • No canned veggies or soup required… we’re only using fresh, real-food ingredients for this recipe!

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients measured out to make crispy onions for Healthy Green Bean Casserole: cooking spray, onions, panko, oat flour and sea salt.

Crispy Baked Onions

  • yellow onions – instead of using the traditional packaged crispy fried onions we’re coating fresh onions with oat flour and panko bread crumbs and baking to create crispy onions to top the casserole.
  • oat flour and panko bread crumbs – to coat the onions before baking and to achieve that crispy “fried” onion texture that we all love! If you need this recipe to be gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs or almond meal. If you don’t have oat flour on hand, all-purpose or gluten-free all-purpose flour will work as a substitute.
  • sea salt – to season the onions.
Ingredients measured out to make Healthy Green Bean Casserole: cashews, oat flour, green beans, almond milk, sea salt, pepper, vegetable broth, nutmeg, tamari or soy sauce, vegan butter, baby portobello mushrooms and garlic.

Green Beans and Sauce

  • cashews – make sure to use raw, unsalted cashews! Instead of using canned cream of mushroom soup we’re soaking and blending cashews to combine with the mushrooms to create a lovely, creamy sauce.
  • almond milk – my go-to milk is unsweetened almond milk, but feel free to use your favorite dairy-free or regular dairy milk if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan. Just make sure whatever milk you’re using is unsweetened otherwise it could change the flavor of the sauce.
  • fresh green beans – you won’t find canned green beans over here! We’re only using fresh green beans for this recipe and blanching them for a few minutes before baking.
  • vegan butter – to keep this recipe vegan, we’re using vegan butter to sauté the mushrooms. Feel free to use oil, ghee or regular butter instead!
  • mushrooms – a key ingredient for green bean casserole! Baby portobello mushrooms or baby Bella mushrooms work perfectly for this recipe.
  • garlic – a nice flavor enhancer for the sauce.
  • oat flour – to help thicken the sauce. Feel free to use all-purpose flour, cornstarch or arrowroot powder instead if that’s what you have on hand.
  • vegetable broth – this is the base liquid for the sauce. I prefer to use low-sodium veggie broth so I can control the saltiness of the dish better. Feel free to use chicken broth if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan.
  • tamari or soy sauce – just one teaspoon adds nice umami, savory flavor to this sauce! Coconut aminos will also work.
  • salt and black pepper – for seasoning.
  • nutmeg – just a pinch adds a subtle nutty flavor to this casserole. Feel free to skip this if you don’t have any on hand or aren’t a nutmeg fan.
Collage of 12 photos showing the steps to make homemade green bean casserole from crispy onions, mushroom creamy soup and baking with green beans.

How to Make Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Soak cashews: Add cashews to a bowl with water and let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Cook onions: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Combine onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. When they’re done baking, remove and set them aside. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Blanch green beans: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When the beans have cooled, drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Make creamy mushroom sauce: Drain cashews and add to a blender with almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy and set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and tamari, simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the cashew cream. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Bake: Pour sauce into a large bowl with the green beans and ½ cup of the crispy baked onions. Place green bean mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and top with the remaining crispy baked onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly and warm throughout, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Healthy green bean casserole in a baking dish with a serving spoon.

How to Make in Advance

You can definitely make this healthy green bean casserole ahead of time! To prep in advance, prepare the dish as directed, but don’t bake! When your green bean and mushroom mixture is ready, pour it into a prepared baking dish, cover and store in the fridge. Store your cooked onions in a separate container in the fridge. Don’t top the casserole with the onions until you’re ready to bake, otherwise the onions will get soggy.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven, top the casserole with your onions and bake as directed!

Green bean casserole in a baking dish.

What to Serve with Green Bean Casserole

This healthy green bean casserole is a staple in our house for Thanksgiving every year! Here are some ideas for what to serve it with:

A serving of green bean casserole on a plate with a fork.

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat the green bean casserole on the stovetop, in the oven or microwave. 

More Holiday Side Dishes

Be sure to check out the full collection of Thanksgiving recipes as well as all of the green bean recipes on EBF!

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4.42 from 41 votes

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Healthy green bean casserole made with a creamy mushroom cashew sauce and homemade crispy baked onions.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 58 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

Crispy Baked Onions

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs, gluten-free, if needed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Green Beans and Sauce

  • ½ cup cashews, soaked
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 24 oz fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • 12 oz baby portobello mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons oat flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium tamari, or soy sauce

Instructions 

  • Add cashews to a bowl with water for soaking. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.
    Cashews soaking in water.
  • Preheat the oven to 475°F.
  • Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
    Onion slices coated in bread crumbs spread across a baking sheet.
  • While the onions are cooking, prepare your green bean mixture.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside in large bowl.
    Green beans blanching in an ice bath.
  • Drain cashews and add to a blender with almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy and set aside.
    Cashews and almond milk blended together in a high powered blender.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and tamari, simmer for 1 minute.
    Mushrooms and seasonings in a sauté pan cooking.
  • Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the cashew cream. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
    Cashew cream and mushrooms in a sauté pan.
  • Remove from the heat and pour sauce into a large bowl with the green beans and ½ cup of the crispy baked onions. Place green bean mixture into a 8×8 baking dish and top with the remaining crispy baked onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly and warm throughout, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.
    Healthy green bean casserole assembled in a baking dish.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of recipe | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 690mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy green bean casserole
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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56 Comments

  1. Sounds great. I am going to try this tonight! One thing I missed in the directions…do I coat the onions with the flour mixture before baking and use the remaining amount for the sauce or just bake the onions plain? Thanks!

    1. Yay! Can’t wait to hear what you think, Christy. You coat all the onions with the flour mixture before baking. Once they’re baked, you portion out 1/2 cup for the green bean mixture and use the rest for the topping. The flour used for the sauce is just the 2 Tablespoons of oat flour that’s in the ingredient list under green beans and sauce. Let me know if this makes sense.

  2. 5 stars
    This was crazy delicious—I have never really been a green bean casserole fan, but this took it to the next level and now I get it! My fiancé and I were trying to figure out other ways we could use the crispy onions and mushroom sauce because they are so stinkin’ good! My beans were a little undercooked so I’ll boil longer next time, but overall an awesome recipe. Thanks!

    1. Woo-hoo!! Thanks for trying this recipe, Nicole. I’m so glad you loved it. And thank you for leaving a comment and star rating, I so appreciate it. <3

    1. This makes me so happy to hear!! Thank you so much for trying this recipe and for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it! <3

  3. 5 stars
    Simple yet delicious recipe to add a change to my veggie routine! Love the dairy free option and the crispy onion topping is the best part!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Marliese! I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment and star rating!!

  4. Hi there! It’s so nice coming across dairy-free/GF recipes!
    My husband isn’t a fan of mushrooms. Do you have any ideas for substitutions? For example, would it make sense with maybe another bean like black beans or chickpeas?
    Thanks for your time 🙂

    1. Hey Angela, The mushrooms are a big component of the sauce and I don’t think the casserole would be as yummy without the mushrooms.

  5. 5 stars
    This was so so so so amazing!! A few months ago I made your gluten free samosas and they were AMAZING, and now this!! This was just delicious. Seriously so good! Thank you for all your amazing recipes!! The only thing I had to change was oat milk instead of almond milk. My dad drinks vanilla almond milk and I didn’t want to make it vanilla flavored lol so oat milk worked perfectly!! Thank you again!

    1. Ahhh yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Regina. Love that you all enjoyed both of these recipes! And I totally feel you on the vanilla almond milk. One time it was all I had so I used it in a savory quiche recipe. It turned out fine and you couldn’t really taste the vanilla flavor, but I feel like it might be more prominent in this dish. Glad you had some oat milk on hand!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was so delicious! i didn’t have any mushroom, so I cooked the green beans in the cashew cream sauce.i couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day! I will try this recipe again, this time with the mushrooms. Thank you for this amazing vegan recipe!

    1. Yes, it should be fine to make this dish a few days in advance and then just heat it up in the oven prior to serving.

  7. This sounds amazing! However, my children are severely allergic to all tree nuts. Any suggestions for substitutions for the cashews and almond milk?

    1. Hey Paige, I’m not sure. I haven’t tested the sauce with anything else and the cashews are what makes it creamy.

    2. Paige, you could try a store-bought unsweetened vegan creamer. Maybe oat, coconut (it might have a slight coconut taste but the other flavors are fairly strong and it isn’t a large amount, so I think it would be okay here) or soy?

      Coconut would be the creamiest so that’s probably what I would go with myself. Hope that helps!

  8. I am going to make this two days before we eat it and I was wondering about the onions still crisping up after they have sat on top of casserole in fridge. Do you think I would be better to leave them off and just put them in a bag after they have cooled then add then right before baking casserole?
    Thank you. I really like following you on Instagram!

    1. Hey Becky – Yeah, I would maybe keep the onions separate so they don’t get soggy from the sauce and then add them to the top of the casserole right before baking. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  9. 5 stars
    This is so delicious! I have always avoided this on the Thanksgiving table because it was always presented to me with canned everything and did not appeal. THIS, however, is AMAZING. It is Thanksgiving Eve and I have parboiled the green beans and I made the sauce. I will make the onions and assemble and bake tomorrow. But this sauce is so so so tasty! And the sauce is what counts so that is why i have already given this 5 stars. Seriously. How is this vegan?! Thank you, Brittany! Your recipes have been making my transition to whole food plant based eating easier! And your treats that aren’t necessarily whole foods are great in that they check the boxes for being vegan and healthier and tasty!

    1. Ahh yay, this makes me so happy to hear, Katie!! I’m so glad to hear that you tried this recipe. Definitely come back and let me know what you think of it once you have it tomorrow. 🙂 I really appreciate the sweet review, it means the world to me!!

    1. Hey Jullian, Sorry I’m just seeing this comment. Did you end up making this casserole? How’d it turn out?!

    1. So glad this casserole turned out for you, Samantha! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

  10. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit at Thanksgiving, loved it. However, it had a little kick and trying to figure out what it is? I wouldn’t have thought nutmeg would make it spicy?

    1. So glad this casserole was a hit at Thanksgiving! It definitely shouldn’t have been spicy. Nutmeg adds a warm, woody flavor, with hints of clove, but it shouldn’t necessarily be spicy especially with just 1/4 tsp.

  11. 5 stars
    I made this for my first vegan thanksgiving and I LOVED it! Sad to say my thanksgiving guests did not appreciate it as much as I did. I guess they were used to more “soggy” beans from the can (which I think is gross) but to each their own! More for me!! Only mishap was that I burnt the first round of onions following your instructions. I ended up having to do another batch with my oven turned down about 50 degrees. Maybe its my oven! Thanks for this amazing recipe, it made my day!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this casserole, Jessi! And I’m glad the second round of onions worked for you. Sorry the first round burned, it definitely could have been because your oven got hotter and maybe they just needed less time or a lower temp.

  12. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for my family‘s Thanksgiving and while it was a lot of extra work, it was all definitely worth it! The one comment my family had is that they would have preferred canned green beans which I think would be good as well. I definitely enjoyed it and thought it was a very unique and flavorful recipe. I always love testing out Brittany‘s recipes..thank you for sharing!

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe is a 12/10! Seriously good. This is probably the best green bean dish I have ever had, so the fact that it is healthy is just an added bonus. This is going to be a Thanksgiving staple from here on out. Just make it. You will not be disappointed.

    1. Ahh yay, that makes me so happy to hear! I’m pumped you hear you loved this recipe, Sandie. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!

  14. 5 stars
    BY FAR the best green bean casserole ever. In fact, I don’t usually like green bean casserole, but this one was divine. Willingly eating the leftovers for lunch right now!

  15. 5 stars
    I made this last year! Loved it , question what kind of onion do you purchase to make fried onions? White, Vidalia or sweet onion?

  16. Hey Brittany. Happy thanksgiving! Can this dish be made ahead waiting prep & add the onions prior to baking? TIA!

    1. Yes! I’m doing that same thing this year! Going to prep everything and store the green beans casserole and the onions in the fridge overnight but separately and then I’ll add the onions before baking tomorrow!

  17. Hello! This is the dish I will be bringing to thanksgiving this year. We will be traveling a few hours and I will be prepping it ahead of time. How do you suggest I do the onions so they will stay crispy? Put them in a paper bag or something? Thank you for the great recipe and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Courtney! I think that’s a great idea. I’m making it for Thanksgiving this year too and I’m going to store the onions separately.

    1. Yes! I’m doing that this year! Going to prep everything and store the green beans casserole and the onions in the fridge overnight (separately) and then I’ll add the onions on top before baking tomorrow!

  18. 5 stars
    Update- I made the dish the night before and topped it with the onions once we got to our in-laws. This was by far the best dish on the table!! I loved it and the rest of the family did too! Such a yummy dish. I will be making this one again very soon! Thank you!

    1. Ah yay!! So pumped to hear this green bean casserole was a hit, Courtney!! Thanks so much for the review. It means so much to me!

  19. 5 stars
    Being British I have never heard of this dish so I decided to have a go and make it. I was not disappointed not one bit. Absolutely Dlish with a capital D. Will be making again and again.

    1. Ah yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Janet! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out and coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it!

    1. This is a very interesting idea, Ashlee! I haven’t tried broccoli in this recipe so I am not sure how it would work out. If you do give this a try, I’d love to know how it works out for you!

    1. WOO! I am so glad that you are loving this recipe, Fran. Thank you so much for sharing this with your friends and for your review + star rating, it means so much to me.

  20. need it to be NUT-free; don’t mind dairy
    I would use gluten-free flour in place of oat flour (because I have it). Can you recommend a substitute (heavy cream perhaps) for the cashew mixture?

    1. Hey Debbie, I’m not sure because I haven’t tried it myself, but I think heavy cream or half and half should work just fine!