This Dairy Free Green Bean Casserole uses homemade fried shallots and a real mushroom sauce, making it a healthy and lower sodium version of this favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas dish. With only a little more effort, it's surprisingly easy to make this dish gluten free too.
Everyone has that one dish they request every holiday - mine was always green bean casserole. My favorite was Paula Deen's recipe with the cream of mushroom soup and French's fried onions. The epitome of health. A lot of people don't realize this, but using canned or boxed cream of mushroom soups typically contain monosodium glutamate, which can be a migraine trigger, which no one needs on Thanksgiving. So I've created this recipe which tastes like the classic, but without the headache (literally).
- This green bean casserole is low sodium, so you can control the added salt versus having to use canned cream of mushroom soups.
- It's not much harder to make. The sauce will add probably 5 minutes to your cooking time that a can would take.
- You can't beat the flavor. Fresh vegetables and homemade fried shallots take this recipe over the edge.
- It's dairy free and can be made gluten free too, but I also give you edits for a more traditional recipe.
Shallots - I love the flavor of shallots in this recipe. They're lighter than onions and are just fantastic when fried. You will need A LOT for this recipe, but these are typically well stocked around the holidays.
Panko - I have used many different brands from Trader Joe's to Kikkoman. For gluten free, I like to use Jeff's Naturals or Aleia's.
Green Beans - Fresh green beans are so much more tasty than canned and the texture is a billion times better (not soggy or mushy). However if you're in a pinch, you can used canned as well. I just don't recommend it for the best flavor.
Mushrooms - Button mushrooms are the best for this recipe, but I've also made it with portobello which have a more earthy flavor.
Broth - I highly recommend using homemade broth for this recipe, and I also have a vegetarian version in my cookbook. It's easy to make at home in just 10 minutes with an instant pot. You can also buy store-bought broth if in a hurry.
Dairy Free Milk - Oatly oat milk is my suggestion for this recipe since it's super creamy and most like whole milk. Plus the flavor profile pairs well. I do not recommend nut or seed milks as they have a thinner texture and stronger flavors.
Oil - I recommend using Earth Balance Pressed Oils or Olive Oil for the casserole, and a vegetable oil or avocado oil for frying.
How to Fry Shallots
Don't be intimidated by frying your own shallots at home! It's easy to do and can be made earlier in the morning the day you intend to eat this. I wouldn't make these too far in advance as they can get soggy with time.
- Begin by tossed cut shallot rings in flour or cornstarch (for gluten free).
- Heat oil in a cast iron pan over medium high heat until shimmering and add coated shallots, frying for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the shallots from the pan and drain on paper towels.
- Add to the top of the green bean casserole.
Shallots can be made the morning of, but avoid covering them or else they will get soggy.
How to Make Green Bean Casserole Dairy Free
- Begin by parboiling green beans for 1 minute and 30 seconds, which softens them without making them mushy and brings out the bright green color.
- In the same cast iron pan you fried the shallots (drain the oil), melt oil over medium heat and brown mushrooms, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and flour, tossing everything well to coat. Then pour in the broth. Pan should sizzle, but stir till the flour becomes combined with the sauce and starts to thicken.
- Add milk and bring to simmer 5-6 minutes, until sauce thickens and can coat a spoon. Then add in the cooked green beans and toss to coat with the sauce.
- Top with fried shallots and panko and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. You will need to watch the shallots so they don't get overdone!
- If you have over-fried the shallots and they are very dark, leave them off from the final dish until after you've baked it at 400 degrees.
- The panko on top adds an extra layer of crispiness so don't skip this!
- Use oat milk for the best flavor and texture.
- A cast iron pan does double duty as a great place to fry the shallots and also make your casserole. Only one dish to clean!
- Don't drain the hot oil down the sink. Instead put it in an empty can and freeze it. Add oil to it any time you fry until it's full and you can throw it away. Draining oil down the sink isn't good for your pipes!
Gluten Free Edits
What I love about this recipe is it's so easy to make adjustments for anyone at your table who might be gluten or dairy free. A gluten free green bean casserole that takes just like the real thing? It's totally possible!
- I've made a few different variations of that recipe but this one below is my favorite. I use Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour (without malted barley).
- To make this gluten free, use arrowroot powder or cornstarch for frying the shallots, corn starch to thicken the sauce, and gluten free panko (like Jeff's or Aleia's)
- If you aren't dairy free, you could use whole milk or heavy cream for the sauce.
Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
For more recipes like this dairy free green bean casserole check out these sides.
For something sweet:
Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie Bites
Dairy Free Green Bean Casserole (Vegan)
- 5-6 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
- ¼ cup all purpose flour * see notes for GF
- 2 tablespoons panko
- Canola, safflower, or other high heat oil
- 2 tablespoons pressed oil or olive oil
- 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour * see notes for GF
- 1-¼ cups broth of choice
- ½ cup oat milk
- 12-16 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
- ¼ cup panko
- kosher salt and pepper
- To make the fried onions - In a bowl, add ¼ cup of flour and panko with a small sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss your cut shallots in the flour and shake excess off. In a cast iron pan, pour enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan about ½ inch. Heat over medium high until it sizzles if you flick a bit of water into it. Add the floured shallots, in batches if necessary, spread out with enough room so they're not on top of each other, and fry until light golden brown - about 4 minutes. Remember they will cook more in the oven. If they're dark brown, just save them to top at the end. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Drain remaining oil out of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat until boiling. Toss the green beans in the pot and boil for 1 min and 30 seconds. Immediately remove, drain, and put in an ice water bath (a bowl of ice and water). Drain and pat dry. This process is called parboiling.
- In your cast iron skillet, melt 2 tbsp of butter or oil and add the mushrooms until browned - about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about a minute more. Then add the 3 tbsp of flour (or 2tbsp of cornstarch) and stir to coat the mushrooms. Gradually add in the broth, whisking together until smooth and bubbling, about a minute. Then add in the milk and bring to a steady simmer, stirring for about 5-6 minutes until thick. Add about ½ tsp kosher salt and pepper.
- Add the parboiled green beans to the mushroom mixture and toss to coat. Then sprinkle your fried shallots and the remaining panko on top. Place in the oven at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top.
- Use 2tbsp of cornstarch or substitute your favorite GF all purpose flour for a gluten free sauce, and arrowroot or cornstarch for the fried shallots
- I like to use Earth Balance Pressed Oil and Oatly for dairy free.
- If you're not dairy free, use whole milk and butter or ghee.
- I buy a pre-washed/trimmed bag of fresh green beans to make it easy.
This post was originally edited November 20, 2020 but was updated November 2, 2021 to include dairy free green bean casserole instructions, process photos, and recipe tips.