The word “casserole” often sends most clean eaters running. Typically, casseroles are laden with unnecessary dairy and refined flours, hiding a few overcooked vegetables. This vegan green bean casserole is the exception to the rule. It is filled with fibrous vegetables swimming in a vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and nutrient-rich sauce that gets its creaminess from cashews. The inclusion of these cleanse-friendly ingredients does not sacrifice the richness of a traditional casserole, and it’s perfect for serving any crowd.
A cheesy topping, minus the cheese
Nutritional yeast is a superhero ingredient. Not only does it pack a dense flavor that mimics the cheese casseroles are famous for, but it is complete nutrition like B vitamins and protein. Vegan diets can lead to B vitamin deficiencies since much of our intake is from animal sources. Nutritional yeast is an excellent addition to any diet to help prevent deficiencies. Nutritional yeast also includes benefits like increased energy and a boost to our immune system. In addition to using it in this vegan green bean casserole, try sprinkling it on roasted vegetables or brown rice!
Green beans for heart health
Green beans are the perfect choice for this casserole. They maintain their firm texture through the cooking process, so you don’t end up with a soggy dish. In addition, they boast a long list of benefits, specifically to our hearts. Like many green vegetables, they are high in flavonoids, an antioxidant found in plants. Flavonoids are anti-thrombotic, meaning they can reduce blood clots and help prevent heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, and strokes.
Vitamin D from mushrooms
Vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a vitamin and is responsible for increasing the absorption of many micronutrients like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Mushrooms (exposed to light) are one of the few plant sources of vitamin D. Eating adequate vitamin D will help prevent chronic diseases and ensure strong teeth and bones. Mushrooms also contain selenium, which helps reduce inflammation, prevents sunburn, and lowers your risk of skin issues. It would be best to supplement with vitamin D, as most people are deficient in this incredible vitamin.
Healthy fats for satiety
Both cashews and olive oil contain heart-protecting monounsaturated fats that will help prevent heart disease and keep you full. As the stress of the holidays kicks in, it’s essential to choose healthy fats to sustain us after we’ve eaten and help signal to our brain when it’s time to stop eating. Choosing fats like olive oils and cashews (or other raw nuts) will ensure we stay full and satisfied.
Green bean casserole recipe
Soak cashews. Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Ideally, you should let the cashews soak for 2-4 hours in cool water, but if you’re in a hurry, 20-30 minutes in warm water will work.