Save Thanksgiving with this Vegan, Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

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A healthy alternative to the family favorite.

By now we’re all familiar with the Thanksgiving classic easy green bean casserole. My family always preferred traditional Chinese meals for the holidays, but we even added this popular American holiday side dish to our spread. The challenge with the creamy mushroom soup and crispy onions is it’s not exactly the healthiest. Whether you are on a fitness journey, have a strict diet, or just cooking for a finicky Friendsgiving this is a great vegan, gluten-free alternative and one of my favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

Thanksgiving is a time when everyone will indulge and have their favorite treats. But what if you simply cannot eat this anymore? We all love the memories that flood back when we have our holiday favorites. But this doesn’t mean that we have to break our dietary restrictions. After all, not everyone in the family can have rich foods or heavy meals. This delicious gluten-free green bean casserole has all the notes of the original with a healthier twist.

After Culinary school, I learned, the hard way, that I could no longer eat dairy. My sister, Elena, has Celiacs. Her gluten intolerance was also hard on the family. We’re Chinese, so many of our meals are full of gluten. But when we make dishes from the heart the most important ingredient is TLC: tender loving care. And it’s with that TLC that I set out to find healthier alternatives to Thanksgiving favorites.

This dish is perfect! It’s a green bean casserole you can make ahead, it tastes so close to the original you may question if it’s still vegan. Plus, it is perfect for any relatives with dairy or gluten intolerance or who may need to switch to healthier diets.

So much of eating is memory, sensory, and connection. There’s no reason you should suffer on Thanksgiving just because you’re more health-conscious or your diet has to change. With the same healthy green beans, unctuous mushroom flavor, and with the sub of crispy fried leeks this is sure to become your new favorite holiday recipe.

At my family’s Thanksgiving, it’s a big mish-mash of food. We have Chinese classics, American favorites, and even Hungarian food. What can I say? I just love cooking Hungarian food. But all of our side dishes at family gatherings and holiday meals are gluten-free and vegan. This way, everyone gets a chance to have a taste. After all, Thanksgiving is about sharing.

This dish is perfect if you have to bring a side or you just don’t have the time to make an elaborate meal. You can even make it ahead of time and everything! Plus, all of your bases are covered, as this dish can be dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan and still remind you of your family favorite.




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Vegan, Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

  • Author: Chef Serena Poon



Makes 6 servings



3 Tablespoons of vegan butter (Can use regular butter for non-vegan version)

1 lb   fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned, sliced, and stemmed Options: shiitake, oysters, criminis, chanterelles, porcinis

4   fresh thyme sprigs

3 Tablespoons chopped shallots

½ cup   Madeira wine (Marsala, Sherry, or Sweet dry rice wine are okay to use)

1 cup vegan cream (coconut or cashew) Regular cream can be used for the non-vegan version

1 lb   fresh haricot verts (french green beans), trimmed


Fresh ground black pepper, Himalayan or sea salt

Avocado oil (for deep-frying)

2 ea  large leeks, thinly sliced crosswise (white parts only)


  1. Over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of vegan butter in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan
  2. Add the mushrooms and thyme sprigs and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of diced shallots and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes until mushrooms are tender.
  4. Add Madeira wine and simmer for about 2 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Add vegan cream and simmer for about 2 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Set sauce aside.
  6. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add a dash of salt
  7. Cook green beans for 3-5 minutes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender (al dente). Drain.
  8. Transfer green beans to a bowl of ice water; allow to cool for about 3-4 minutes. Drain.
  9. Pour enough avocado oil into a large, deep saucepan to reach the depth of about 1.5”.
  10. Heat oil to 350°F.
  11. Place ¼ of sliced leeks in a small metal strainer.
  12. Lower strainer into oil; fry about 20-30 seconds until golden. Lift strainer from oil. Drain leeks on paper towels.
  13. Repeat with remaining leeks in 3-4 more batches or until finished.
  14. Season leeks lightly with salt.
  15. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegan butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat.
  16. Add green beans and the remaining tablespoon of shallots
  17. Lightly toss green beans to heat through, but not cook any further.
  18. Season beans with salt and pepper, to taste.
  19. Place beans on a platter.
  20. Bring sauce to simmer.
  21. Spoon sauce over beans.
  22. Sprinkle the fried leeks as a garnish.


Remember to use organic ingredients whenever possible for maximum health benefits.

The sauce and beans can be made 6 hours ahead just be sure to store separately and chill until use.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and also take the time to have gratitude for all of the amazing things you and your family are thankful for this Thanksgiving!

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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