Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. I can’t believe it. I feel like I just started Pumpkin Week and suddenly, October is already gone. This means that I’m furiously working on my holiday recipes, which is a really weird feeling. I’m cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes weeks in advance. However, I don’t think it would be helpful to post Thanksgiving recipes the week after Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a holiday notorious for overindulging and eating way too much food. Especially unhealthy food. Today, I wanted to share a recipe that will lighten up a Thanksgiving classic, the Green Bean Casserole. Typically, a green bean casserole is made with mushroom soup or even heavy cream. In this paleo-ish, vegan, and gluten-free recipe, the mushroom soup is replaced with puréed parsnips. Am I scaring you yet?
It’s quite different than a traditional green bean casserole, but still packed full of flavor. I definitely recommend using fresh green beans. You don’t want your Thanksgiving dinner tasting like it came out of a can. Since this dish is made almost completely from vegetables, it’s important that it tastes fresh.
If you have looked through the list of ingredients, you may notice one that might be a bit unfamiliar to you: nutritional yeast.
What exactly is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is often sold in flakes or powder. It’s a great source of protein, B vitamins, and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. It is commonly used in place of cheese since it has a nutty and creamy flavor. I have also seen it used as a popcorn topping, but I’m not completely sold on that idea yet. If you are on a strict Paleo diet, you can leave this ingredient out.
Speaking of strict Paleo diet, I feel like green beans are a little controversial. Some consider them more of a “pod” then a bean and think they’re okay. Others say that they are a legume, so absolutely not. Green beans are very nutritious and rich in Vitamins A, C, and K. They are a great source of dietary fiber and can help lower cholesterol. In my opinion, even though they are considered a legume, I don’t consider them off-limits. I would love to hear your opinions, so feel free to contact me!
This green bean casserole is Paleo and Vegan friendly. It's perfect for a lighter Thanksgiving dinner.
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
- 2 cups parsnips
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. green beans
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- First, caramelize the onions. Add half a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter to a wide bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and allow to cook for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized. If the onions look like they are drying out too much, add a splash of water to the pan.
- While the onions are cooking, prepare the parsnip purée. Chop the parsnips and add them to a steamer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the parsnips are soft and can be easily pierced with a toothpick. Set the parsnips aside and allow them to cool.
- Next, prepare the green beans. Trim the ends of the fresh green beans and cut them to 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. Place the chopped green beans into the steamer and steam for about 8 minutes, until they start to become tender, but still retain their crunch. Pour the green beans into an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish and set aside.
- Once the onions have finished caramelizing, use the same pan to sauté the mushrooms. Add the other half tablespoon of coconut oil or butter to the pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a minute, then add the garlic. Stir and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour half of the garlic mushroom mixture into the pan with the green beans.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a blender, add the steamed parsnips and the other half of the garlic mushroom mixture. Add the water, salt, nutritional yeast, and purée until completely smooth. Pepper to taste and stir in the crushed red pepper if desired.
- Pour the mixture over the green beans and mushrooms. Stir until the green beans and mushrooms are well-coated. You may not need all of the purée. Top with the caramelized onions and bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.