This recipe is, dare I say, better than the original? Easy & crispy french fried onions make this rich dish extra special.
Y'all know me. I'm always trying to educate myself as much as possible on the origins of dishes and share what I learn with you. This sort of transparency with self-responsible education is how we work together to normalize not knowing everything. In a world where we have all the answers at our fingertips, we sure have a lot of folks pretending to have all the answers without having done the research. It's okay to not know something. It's okay to have to relearn something. Most of the time, I'm learning as I'm writing. I'm constantly asking myself questions and if I don't know the answer - I seek it out.
So, you know, that's exactly what I did here. I opened google and type "Green Bean Casserole Origin" because even though this answer seems pretty obvious, I know that I don't know everything. I know that I'm capable of being wrong and assumptions make an ass of me and it misinforms you. Well, my instinct served me right on this one with google displaying a bright American Flag reading "The United States". Wow, y'all. Let's take this moment to soak in this true greatness and triumph.
While an American did not invent the roux or bechamel, to which all soups and soup concentrate originate, it was an American woman named Dorcas Reilly who invited the dish while working in the home economics department at Campbell's Soup. In the 1950's, Dorcas Reilly was tasked with the job of developing more ways to use Campbell's condensed soups. By this time, the use of condensed soups in casseroles was an American staple from the midwest to the deep south. Dorcas Reilly's job was to help Campbells embrace this use and develop official Campbell's casserole recipes. In came classics like Tuna Noodle Casserole and Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onions.
Reilly lived until 2018 to the age of 92 years old. She's quoted saying that the dish wasn't initially a success in test groups. With her persistence, I guess you could call "Green Bean Bake" a cult classic. Nowadays, Campbells estimates that nearly 40% of cream of mushroom sales in the US are for Dorcas's "ultimate comfort food" - Green Been Casserole.
In truth, this dish isn't hard to veganize at all! When making it completely from scratch and without the use of cream of mushroom, all you need to replace is the milk used to make the bechamel. Since that part was easy-peasy, I wanted to spruce it up a little more by using a little white wine and frying our own onions! This extra step is so totally worth it y'all. If you don't have an air fryer, you should totally consider getting one if you can. The prices have gone down tremendously and it will bring so much ease to your cooking. I love to throw some seasoned tofu in there for an easy protein.
What you'll need...
8 x 8 baking dish
large skillet with tall sides
White Wine Green Bean Casserole
with crispy air-fried onions
Author: Megan Thompson Aston
Total Time: 80+ mins
For the Casserole
2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 cups fresh green beans, stems removed and cut in half
1/4 cup chopped onions
3-4 clove of garlic
4 tbsp avocado oil
3 tbsp all-purpose flour ( GF will work )
1 1/4 cups + plant-milk, after it's been infused with onions
1/4 cup chardonnay ( non-alcoholic will work )
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
For Fried Onions
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 cup all-purpose flour ( GF will work )
4 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp salt + to taste
2 1/2 cups plant-milk ( soy is best )
Before you start anything else, carefully slice your onion into paper-thin rings. You can use a mandolin slicer but I just use a good sharp knife.
Preheat the oven to 350. Put the onion slices into a medium-sized bowl and pour over your plant-milk. Push onions down into the milk to make sure they're completely covered. The onions will soak in the milk until it's time to add just the milk to your roux. Set aside.
In a large tall sided skillet, heat over medium and add your oil.
Add your onions and mushrooms to your hot skillet and cook until the onions become translucent and mushrooms develop some color. Reduce to medium-low and add your garlic.
Continue to cook your onions & garlic until the garlic becomes fragrant and mushrooms begin to release some of their liquid. Then, sprinkle your flour over the mix. Use a wooden spoon or whisk to completely incorporate the flour into the remaining oil and coat the onions/garlic. It will seem thick and pasty.
Cook your flour-coated veggies over medium-low heat until the flour starts to develop a light tan color and toasted fragrance - stirring all the while. This should take just a few minutes.
Gradually whisk in the wine, being sure to incorporate it completely with the flour. Whisk constantly while adding. Continue to cook until the wine thickens and reduces to at least half.
Now, while whisking constantly, add 1/2 of your milk from the onions. Continue to whisk until the sauce becomes very thick and bubbly. Add more milk as needed to achieve a thick gravy that sticks to your green beans.
Then, while whisking, add in the rest of our seasonings - lemon juice, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper to taste. Taste the sauce. It should be slightly salty to compensate for the green beans. They will soak up the majority of it. You can always add more salt if needed before adding the fried onions.
Toss the fresh-cut green beans into the mixture, cover, and allow to cook on the stovetop for about 8 minutes. Tossing every couple of minutes to be sure the bottom isn't sticking/burning. You want the green beans to become slightly glossy. They will do the majority of their cooking in the oven.
Once the sauce is thick like gravy and the skins of the green beans are glossy, transfer into an oiled 8 x 8 baking dish and cover the top with aluminum foil.
Put in the center of your preheated oven and bake covered for 1 hr.
While your casserole is baking, prepare the onions.
For the Fried Onions
After having soaked in the plant-milk that's now in the sauce, the onions should be tender and slightly wet.
Mix together the salt and flour. Then toss into the onions making sure that all the rings are evenly coated.
Now drizzle over with 1/2 (2 tbsp) of avocado oil, toss to cover the onions. Then drizzle in the remaining 1/2 (2 tbsp) and toss again.
Preheat your air-fryer to 350 and begin frying in batches. Each batch should only fry for about 12 minutes. Toss them every 4 minutes and check for doneness.
Once fried, transfer to a wire rack over a piece of paper towel.
Assembly & Final Bake
Once you've fried all your onions (and eaten half of them) set them aside.
After the 1 hr in the oven, check on your casserole. The green beans should be tender and ready to eat. At this point, you can add more salt if need be. Remember, the onions are also salted.
If green beans are ready to eat, cover the casserole in your fried onions and bake uncovered for 10 minutes more.
Allow to cool slighty before serving. ENJOY.