Thanksgiving meals are not exclusive to omnivores, nor are they only appropriate to consume in November (or in October, if you're Canadian). Greetings, Canadians. So long as potatoes, green beans, and mushrooms can be accessed, Thanksgiving dinners can—and should—be had. We all know the perfect fork– full of a Thanksgiving meal involves the intimate mingling of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. So why not make one big casserole that guarantees perfect bites each time? We've lightened up the green bean component by using fresh beans and mushrooms instead of canned alternatives. By skipping the turkey, we've also evaded the notorious tryptophan– induced food comas. Rest assured, you'll still have the energy to eat pie afterwards.
Make mashed potatoes. Peels on or off? You decide.
To start the green bean casserole, sauté the garlic in olive oil until golden. Add sliced mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms have released their juices…there really isn't a pleasant way to phrase that. Add soy sauce; the combination of mushrooms and soy sauce creates a savory, meat– like flavor known as 'umami.' Mix corn starch with a small amount of non– dairy milk in a small bowl until fully dissolved (this prevents lumps from forming in the pan). Add the non– dairy milk and cornstarch mixture to the pan and mix. Pour extra non– dairy milk on top to create a quasi cream of mushroom soup. Mix in a handful of fried onions and season to taste; note that the mixture should already be salty from the soy sauce and fried onions. Cook until the mixture thickens to a desired consistency and the beans turn bright green. Don't overcook— remove from heat before the beans lose their crunch.
Set the oven to 350ºF. Pour bean casserole mixture into the bottom of a casserole pan and spread evenly. Top with mashed potatoes and bake. Once heated through, sprinkle fried onions and return to the oven until onions become crispy and golden (watch closely during this step, the onions cook quicky!). Remove from the oven and let sit until the casserole is no longer tongue– burning hot...if you have self– control.
I'm a long, skinny green bean kind of person, so I used a bag of Hericots Verts from Trader Joe's for the green beans. These beans are slender, pre– washed, and the ends don't need to be snipped. For the non– dairy milk, both soy and almond are great options. I think that soy results in creamier potatoes, so I'll use soy if I have it on hand. For the vegan butter, I used Earth Balance because it's fairly inexpensive and I don't want to waste more artisanal vegan butter on mashed potatoes. You can use olive oil instead, but it won't be as creamy. I used French's Crispy Fried Onions because I grew up with them, they're vegan, and nostalgia is a powerful thing. Use whatever you like, or omit for a healthier version.