I'll let you all in on a secret. Thanksgiving is admittedly my least favorite holiday. I'm not a huge fan of turkey or stuffing. My family has never been the football game watching type. And there's no Mariah Carey album out there full of corny Thanksgiving songs to listen to. Well, not yet at least.
But the one thing that seems to save the bummerfest that is my bias against Thanksgiving is a plate I've endearingly referred to as the 'Fiendish Bean Dish' ('FBD' for short) since I was an unsurprisingly strange preteen - green bean casserole. It's creamy with the crunch of fried onions and tastes good both warm and as a cold bowl of leftovers.
My family has been enjoying vegan Thanksgiving dinners since 2001 or so, and the FBD's deliciousness has not been compromised in the slightest by vegan substitutions. So, for my fellow vegan Thanksgivingers out there, I present to you the recipe for the Fiendish Bean Dish. Prepare to blow your family's minds with this one.
The Fiendish Bean Dish
For the French fried onion topping:
1 cup unflavored soy milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 small onion (or 1/2 medium onion), peeled and sliced into thin rings
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 cup canola oil (or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil) + more if necessary
For the casserole:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups white button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups unflavored soy milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 cups fresh green beans, cut into 3-inch pieces
To make the Fried Onions:
1. Stir the soy milk and vinegar together in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings and submerge as many as possible. Allow onions to soak in the milk mixture for at least 30 minutes.
2. Mix the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne together in medium bowl or large zipper bag.
3. Remove the onions from the soy milk mixture, discarding any excess liquid. Transfer the onions to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
4. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions in an even layer, only adding as many as you can without too much overlapping. Cook 2 minutes and gently toss once or twice with a spatula. Cook another 2 minutes and flip again, using the same technique. Once the onions begin to turn brown and crispy, after about another 2 minutes, remove and transfer to paper towel lined plate.
5. If any onions remain after the first batch, repeat, adding a bit more oil to the skillet if needed.
To make the casserole:
1. Add the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and release their juices, about 5 minutes more.
2. Pour in the white wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the flour and stir to form a paste with the remaining liquid in the skillet. Slowly pour in the soy milk, stirring constantly. Stir in the soy sauce, pepper and green beans, then bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and the green beans are bright-green and tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F while the sauce and green beans simmer.
5. Transfer the bean mixture to a 9-inch baking dish and place it in the oven (or if you're using a cast-iron skillet, you can transfer it directly to the oven). Bake for 20 minutes and top with the French fried onions before serving.