Clean Green Bean Casserole (Vegan, Paleo)


This isn’t your Grandma’s green bean casserole.

This version has all of the flavor, without the heavy food-coma to follow!

Featuring fresh green beans and caramelized onions, this homemade green bean casserole is just about as clean as it gets. Rather than relying on a cream-based soup, it’s held together by a creamy puree of parsnips and mushrooms! The caramelized onion topping delivers the buttery onion flavor that we all love, without the deep-fried grease and refined flour to go along with it.

Because it’s made from scratch, the preparation can be a bit time consuming. This would be a great casserole to make ahead of time! Simply prepare as directed, but don’t bake in the oven until right before serving. It should store well in the fridge for a couple days beforehand!

Clean Green Bean Casserole (Vegan, Paleo)
Makes one 8″ x 8″ dish

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon coconut oil, or butter
2 cups parsnips, chopped
10 oz. mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 lb. fresh green beans

Directions:

Melt a pat of coconut oil, or butter, in a large skillet and add the sliced onions. Saute gently over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized. Use a splash of water, as needed, to prevent sticking.

Once the onions are tender and golden in color, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.

While the onions are cooking, you’ll have plenty of time to steam the parsnips.

Fit a steamer basket into a saucepan, and fill with one inch of water. Add the 2 cups of chopped parsnips, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, steaming for about 8 minutes, or until the parsnips are easily pierced with a fork.

Transfer the steamed parsnips to your blender container, and set it aside.

Using the same steamer basket and saucepan, break the pound of fresh green beans into one-inch pieces, and toss them into the steamer basket. Bring to a boil, then cover and steam for 6-8 minutes, until the green beans are bright green with a bit of crunch.

Note: At this point, cook the green beans to be as tender as you like– if you prefer them softer, steam them longer. The baking process later will not make them any more tender, so this is your chance to achieve the texture you like.

Transfer the cooked green beans to an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish.

Once the onions have finished caramelizing, you can use the same pan to saute the mushrooms and garlic. Melt another pat of coconut oil or butter, and saute the garlic for about 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for about 6 minutes, until liquid is released from the mushrooms.

Spread half of the mushroom mixture into the baking dish of green beans, and pour the other half of the mixture, along with any liquid, into the blender container with the steamed parsnips.

Into that same blender container, add 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt and 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast to the cooked parsnips and mushrooms. Blend until smooth and creamy. (This mixture may be a bit salty to taste at this point, but keep in mind that it will be diluted when it’s poured over a pound of green beans!)

Pour the creamy sauce over the green beans and mushrooms in the glass baking dish, and stir to coat well. (You may end up with more sauce than you need for this recipe– I only used about 1 1/2 cups to coat the vegetables well. Save the rest for a future dish!)

Smooth the creamy vegetable mixture with a spatula, and top with the caramelized onions to finish!

At this point, you could cover the dish and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to heat and serve.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm and enjoy!


4.8 from 20 reviews
Clean Green Bean Casserole (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9-12
 
Featuring fresh green beans and caramelized onions, this homemade green bean casserole is just about as clean as it gets. Rather than relying on a cream-based soup, it's held together by a creamy puree of parsnips and mushrooms! The caramelized onion topping still delivers the buttery onion flavor that we all love, without the deep-fried grease and flour to go along with it. All of our favorite flavors covered, without the heavy food-coma to follow!
Ingredients
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or butter
  • 2 cups parsnips, chopped
  • 10 oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
Instructions
  1. Melt a pat of coconut oil, or butter, in a large skillet and add the sliced onions. Saute gently over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized. Use a splash of water, as needed, to prevent sticking. Once the onions are tender and golden in color, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.
  2. While the onions are cooking, you'll have plenty of time to steam the parsnips. Fit a steamer basket into a saucepan, and fill with one inch of water. Add the 2 cups of chopped parsnips, and bring the water to boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, steaming for about 8 minutes, or until the parsnips are easily pierced with a fork. Transfer the steamed parsnips to your blender container, and set it aside.
  3. Using the same steamer basket and saucepan, break the pound of fresh green beans into one-inch pieces, and toss them into the steamer basket. Bring to a boil, then cover and steam for 6-8 minutes, until the green beans are bright green with a bit of crunch. Transfer the cooked green beans to an 8" x 8" glass baking dish.
  4. *Note: At this point, cook the green beans to be as tender as you like-- if you prefer them softer, steam them longer. The baking process later will not make them any more tender, so this is your chance to achieve the texture you like.
  5. Once the onions have finished caramelizing, you can use the same pan to saute the mushrooms and garlic. Melt another pat of coconut oil or butter, and saute the garlic for about 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for about 6 minutes, until liquid is released from the mushrooms.
  6. Spread half of the mushroom mixture into the baking dish of green beans, and pour the other half of the mixture, along with any liquid, into the blender container with the steamed parsnips.
  7. Into that blender container, add 1½ cups water, 1½ teaspoons sea salt and ¼ cup of nutritional yeast to the cooked parsnips and mushrooms. Blend until smooth and creamy. (This mixture may be a bit salty to taste at this point, but keep in mind that it will be diluted when it's poured over a pound of green beans!)
  8. Pour the creamy sauce over the green beans and mushrooms in the glass baking dish, and stir to coat well. (You may very well have more sauce than you need for this recipe-- I only used about 1½ cups to coat the vegetables well. Save the rest for a future dish!)
  9. Smooth the creamy vegetable mixture with a spatula, and top with the caramelized onions to finish.
  10. *At this point, you could cover the dish and store it in the fridge until you're ready to heat and serve.
  11. When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm and enjoy!

Hope you’ll enjoy this healthier alternative at Thanksgiving, or at any time of the year!

Reader Feedback: Are you a fan of green bean casserole? I’ve never liked the traditional stuff, but I did usually sneak some crispy fried onions before they became the topping!

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, Iโ€™m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the bodyโ€™s detox organsโ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

146 thoughts on “Clean Green Bean Casserole (Vegan, Paleo)

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  2. AnnaMarie

    Can I freeze this recipe? I also am wondering if I can use frozen green beans instead of fresh? I am trying to use what I have on hand! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I’ve never tried freezing it or using frozen green beans, so it will be an experiment. I assume frozen beans should work fine if you thaw them first, and I can’t imagine why the casserole wouldn’t freeze well, but please let us know if you try it so we can be sure!

      Reply
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  4. Mia

    I made this last night and my picky and carnivore husband loved it!!
    Thank you for your delicious recipes!
    I have some leftover sauce, do you think I can freeze it?
    Thank you!

    Reply
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  7. Megan

    Hi there,
    This looks really yummy! I’m unable to eat gluten and dairy, nuts, and several other things, so this should work for me ๐Ÿ™‚ I was wondering if there was another veggie I could use in place of parsnips? Unfortunately, I really don’t care for them. I’m thinking a more savory and mellow veggie. Any ideas? Does the parsnip serve a purpose aside from flavor, or might I just leave it out? I assume it thickens the sauce. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Yes, the parsnips help thicken the sauce. Maybe cauliflower would work as a substitute? Let us know how it turns out for you!

      Reply
      1. Donna

        I have made sauces with carrots, too, though the sauce would be orange unless you use yellow carrots. You might want to try that…
        Last year I made a slow-cooker version that was really good, but it used pretty much the traditional ingredients (I always add sliced water chestnuts as well — really good). I think I will try this one this year, as I am always looking for the cleaner option…
        Happy Thanksgiving!

        Reply
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  13. Lee-Ann

    Has anyone tried adding bacon to this?? I think it would be AMAZING. I will be trying this recipe with bacon for Thanksgiving this week ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
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  15. Jill

    What can I substitute for parsnips? I am on a no starch diet, and parsnips are very starchy. Would turnips and/or carrots work the same?

    Reply
  16. danielle

    Hi Megan,
    I couldn’t find nutrional yeast at store. Is there something else I could use instead? Is it just a thickener? Corn starch?

    thanks
    Danielle

    Reply
  17. sabrina

    this is very very good. I am making now and it is hard not want to keep eating the whole thing. I think this would also be good for other casseroles instead of a cream soup base. Thank you so much for the yummy recipe, that is good to gobble up.

    Reply
  18. Renee

    I just made this. It isn’t out of the oven yet, but I had to comment. The sauce is sooooo good! I can hardly wait to eat it!

    Reply
  19. Lindsay

    DELICIOUS! THANK YOU! I made this recipe last year. I’m making it again this year. Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I are always on the look out for healthier alternatives to our favorite foods. If I may make a few suggestions to those who would here them: I cooked more mushrooms than were required in the recipe and pureed about a cup of them along with the parsnips to make the sauce. It adds a nice color and flavor. Also, I doubled the amount of onion. To make assembly easier, I just mix everything together in a separate bowl before pouring it into a casserole. Then, to give a little crunch, I sprinkle on faux Parmesan. It’s made with equal parts raw cashews and nutritional yeast. Just grind them together in a food blender (such as a Magic Bullet). Yes, it adds a bit of fat due to the nuts, but it’s well worth it. Thank you again so much! This is my new go to recipe for green bean casserole.

    Reply
  20. Desirae

    This was incredible. =] My boyfriend was craving green bean casserole but knew I couldn’t eat it with him if it wasn’t vegan. So he chose to not eat it (how sweet!) Thankfully found this in time to make some together & it was a big hit! The only thing we tweaked was needing 2 onions instead of one, and using ALL of the sauce! We are excited to incorporate it into our meal plan as a soup, gravy, or as a replacement inside a broccoli and cheese casserole. Next time we will want to double it — it’s THAT good!

    Reply
  21. Kim

    I made this today for thanksgiving and it was delicious. The sauce is genius, great idea. So tasty, thank you! Will make again I’m sure!

    Reply
  22. Shanel

    In the oven now! I’ve never had parsnips before so I wasnt sure what to expect. Can’t wait to have try it all together.

    Reply
  23. Kelly

    Okay, so… it did not look great… It was however, so amazingly delicious and I will probably make it once a week now. Way to go on the amazing recipe!

    Reply
  24. Alli

    used 3.5 10 oz bags of green beans, only one large onion, 5 cloves of garlic(glad i double go double and a half with the onion, 1 was way more than enough), and recipe amount of coconut milk with 2 parnips, but needed to cook at least an hour to thicken properly, non paleo people enjoyed it and did not question the ingredients! way better once it had time to really thicken.

    Reply
  25. Kristen

    I really liked this recipe except for the high salt content. I put in the salt without really thinking about it, and it completely overpowered the dish. I love the taste of parsnips as they are without the extra salt. I made it for thanksgiving and we ended up throwing it mostly out ๐Ÿ™ I will make it again, but with just a pinch or no salt.

    Reply
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  28. Lourdes

    Hi! is not thx giving but i have a bunch of green beans and want to make this recipe. Just one question to whoever can answer it. Does nutritional yeast affect candida? I don’t have candida anymore but always stay away from sugar, cabs an foods that trigger candida. Yeast is a must no while dealing with candida but t the same time ive heard a lot that nutritional yeast doesn’t feed candida. Any thoughts anyone?
    Also since I’ve never use nutritional yeast before I don’t know how it taste like, is it being used in this recipe for pure flavor? ( cheese flavor) cos other wise I don’t mind using raw cheese instead.
    Big thank you ladies! <3

    Reply
    1. Crissy

      I’ve done lots of research on this as well, since I am also recovering from gut/candida issues. Nutritional Yeast does not feed Candida. There are good yeasts and bad yeasts just like there’s good bacteria and bad bacteria. It has tons of B-vitamins and is super good for you. The texture is quite different from cheese, so I don’t think you’d yield the same results if you replaced it.

      Reply
  29. Gia

    Megan, I love you, lol. It’s the first week of October and I was totally burned out with chicken and salads, so decided to roast a simply turkey breast with this amazing side dish attached! And yes, that gross traditional version never appealed to me much but I did love the crunchy onions on top too! I really really appreciate the fact that you share childhood food memories in your blog even though they no longer fit your mold- it really humanizes you and touches readers!โค๏ธ Very inspiring to not feel like I was the only one who o.d.ed on Soft Batch cookies, etc. there’s a whole new way to indulge- cheers to health!

    Reply
  30. S. Smith

    I don’t have any nutritional yeast, and saw some on Amazon. They had “nutritional yeast seasoning” and “nutritional yeast flakes”. Which one should I use when the recipe calls for just “nutritional yeast”? Thank you!

    Reply
  31. Merrinda

    Swapping cauliflower for the parsnips….if you had to guess how much cauliflower would be needed to substitute the 2cups? Or just run with 2 cups of cauliflower? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      You might need a little more cauliflower than parsnips, since I feel like cauliflower shrinks more when cooked. (It also will depend on how finely you chop the cauliflower to measure.) Maybe 2 cups of cauliflower rice or 3 cups of chopped florets? Let us know what works for you!

      Reply
      1. Merrinda

        So I substituted the cauliflower for parsnips & it was amazing! I did 3 cups of cauliflower florets cut up pretty small, 2 cups cut up that way probably would have been plenty. Thanks for a great alternative to my holiday favorite.

        Reply
  32. Sandra

    My first green bean casserole and i loved it. The parsnips are a great idea. I tolerate cheese well so i used 2oz grated raw hard cheese + 2 Tbsp of organic whole cream instead of the nutritional yeast and it turned out great!!

    Reply
  33. Daisy

    I thought this turned out pretty good. I had a little more parsnip chunks than what was called for and my son isn’t a mushroom fan, so I added all the mushrooms to the sauce, these small changes made it a bit thicker than it was intended. Next time I make this I’ll just use half the amount of mushrooms and no extra parsnips. Actually, I will probably use the suggestion of cauliflower, in place of the parsnips, because the parsnip taste was the only thing I really didn’t care for.

    Reply
  34. Sarah

    Hi! I just love this recipe! When you say add 1 1/2 cups water to blender with the parsnips, could I use milk of choice or even vegetable broth?

    Reply
  35. Elizabeth

    We never ate green bean casserole growing up, but I had a ton of CSA veggies that I needed to figure out how to use, and this recipe did the trick! I used a pound of green beans, 2 bunches of collards, 2 large onions, and 1.5 pounds of potatoes in lieu of the parsnips.

    I was a little worried about things when I added the yeast to the potatoes as the sauce became extremely sticky, but…Nope. Fears unfounded. It was a big hit. Everyone loved it!!

    I added a tablespoon of vermouth to the sauce to dial up the flavor (if you have it and can tolerate it, please try it! Just use a little less if you are making the original amounts) and it was just wonderful. I also dusted the top of the dish with almond flour and it gave it that same texture of topping as with the original.

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. Everyone is begging me to make it again!

    Reply
  36. Drew

    Hello!
    I headed to the store expecting to buy parsnips, but could not find any in good condition. So I opted for cauliflower. I definitely needed a little more than 2 cups to thicken the sauce (maybe 2 and a half?), but it still worked out great!

    Also, I did use frozen vegetables (organic frozen cauliflower/green beans) and there was still a ton of crunch and it tasted fantastic! Also, I used earth balance butter to caramelize the onions and they tasted amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for this super tasty recipe, without all the animal products and gluten! My tummy is happy :+)

    Reply
  37. Jan

    Question: The instructions say to sautรฉ the onions for 45 minutes. This seems like a long time. Is that correct? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      You’re caramelizing the onions, which does take about 45 minutes. During that time, it’s on pretty low heat and you add a splash of water from time to time to make sure the onions aren’t sticking. That’s how they get really soft and golden in color, with a really sweet and rich flavor.

      Reply
  38. Monica

    I made this for Thanksgiving. It was phenomenal! You really know how to make old classics healthy and tasty. Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes you share.

    Reply

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