This weekend was CRAZY! I had three whole days off and I feel like I was kept busy for every second of it.
Highlights: Staying in bed late on Saturday morning, cooking marathon Saturday evening, waking up to find a guy sleeping on my couch on Sunday and then having him take and post pictures of me on instagram as I took photographs for WV (Hey Rob! Hope you didn’t think I was too weird standing on chairs…), Hanging with Whitney, Seeing Taking Back Sunday in Maine and having them sing the Ballad of Sal Villanueva (I screamed so loud when I realized they were playing this…), eating at Silly’s in Maine, AND I started some christmas presents.
Whew! How was your weekend??
Now, to focus on Thanksgiving which is two days away! Oi with the poodles…
So, to stay vegan during Thanksgiving, I have found the best thing to do is be prepared! Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. I can’t say it enough. Last year (and this year too), my mom was super helpful in working out things I can and can’t eat but it’s because we knew what everyone was bringing so we could work around it. Last year, I had a tofurkey and a bunch of veggies. I also made an appetizer (this salsa…so good!) and a dessert (these cookies) and got my mom to make this casserole, which we are making again this year because everyone loved it (sub Earth Balance for butter and leave out marshmallows to make vegan). By planning ahead and strategically contributing to the spread, I was able to make sure that I had at least one thing to eat per course and that was super helpful in allowing me to avoid things.
So, when prepping this year I wanted to tackle some classic staples that may be favorites for you. First up, green bean casserole. I LOVE green bean casserole! Though it’s a classic, I only started really loving it recently so I was pretty bummed when I couldn’t have it last year. Thus, it was the first thing on my list of things to make this year.
- 1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, ends removed and cut in half
- 1 TBSP salt
- 10 oz of mushrooms (I bought the pre-washed, pre-sliced variety. Save time on Thanksgiving day!)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt, to taste
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 TBSP flour
- 3/4 cup vegetable brother
- 1 TBSP dry sherry
- 3/4 cup cashew cream* or soy creamer (important note)
(Note: to makes cashew cream- soak 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews in water for a minimum of 4 hours or over night. Then, drain the cashews and place them in a blender with 1 c. of dairy milk of choice. Blend until smooth. Soy creamer can be used in place but I’m much prefer cashew cream. I think it provides a much more neutral base and it’s something that can be made if soy creamer is not stocked at your local grocery store)
- 1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp oregano
Preheat oven to 425.
Beans: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beans and the salt. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Let drain and see aside.
Topping: While the beans are cooking, heat a large skillet over low head and add the olive oil, onions and salt. Stir well to coat, then cover and cook onions until caramelized, about 20 minutes. While the onions are cooking, mix together the panko crumbs, thyme and oregano and set aside. Alternatively, I imagine if you have 1/2 tsp of onion soup mix, that would also taste great mixed in with the panko crumbs.
Sauce: Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt pepper and (optional) cayenne pepper. Cook until mushroom are soft and exude their juices. Whisk together the veggie broth and the flour until mixture is smooth and then add to the mushroom mixture along with the sherry. Simmer, stirring and everything is well mixed. Add the cashew cream and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens (the cashew cream is pretty thing anyway so this only took be 5 minutes). Add the beans.
Place the green bean/mushroom mix into a casserole dish. Top with caramelized onions and panko crumbs. Place in a pre-heated 425 degreee oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the casserole is warmed through and the panko crumbs are golden.
To make this the night before, follow the steps through placing the green bean/mushroom mix into a casserole dish. Cover and chill until prepared to serve. Right before placing this in the oven, top with caramelized onions (I cooked these the night before and kept in a separate bowl until ready to put on casseroel) and panko mix. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 425. If you find that the mixture has turned too solid in the fridge over night, pour a little bit of soy milk on the green bean mixture, stir it around, then top with onions and panko.
I really love this dish! I was actually eating it cold and uncooked out of the casserole dish the night I was prepping it. Unfortunately, unlike the Sweet Potato casserole above, I don’t think this dish will pass as non-vegan to the other people at your Thanksgiving dinner. I think traditional green bean casserole has too distint a taste and when you start veganizing it, people will know. It’s so yummy, though! My suggestion would be if you are making this for just you, half the recipe, make it the night before, bring it to your Thanksgiving dinner and just pop it in the oven with all the other veggy dishes when they are heated up. You’ll get your green bean casserole AND all the left overs when you tell your family it’s vegan. At least, that’s what will happen at my house!