Thursday, December 23, 2010

Question of the day

I'm going to a Christmas dinner and the hostess asked me to bring a side dish. The problem is that there are vegetarian and vegan guests. What should I bring that will be alright for everyone's diet?

I would suggest Vegan Green Bean Casserole. It's a great alternative to a holiday favorite and will be suitable for all the guest's dietary preferences. Here is a recipe for you, it's a little more work that the traditional version, but I'm sure you will be pleased with the result.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Beans:

2 quarts water
1 tablespoon table salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (a good shortcut is the pre cut beans located near the bagged salads in the produce section)

In a large pot bring water to a boil. While the water is heating, cut beans. Add the salt and beans to the boiling water. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Drain beans in a colander, then spray with cold water to stop the cooking. Let them drain in the colander, then shake out excess water.

Sauce:

10 ounces mushrooms (button, crimini or a combination of the two)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste (I recommend sea salt, you'll get more flavor and use much less)
Fresh pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup vegetable broth
Splash of dry sherry
3/4 cup soy creamer

Trim and discard mushroom stems. Cut the mushrooms into small pieces. Spray a non-stick pan with olive oil and heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Whisk the flour into the vegetable broth and add to the mushrooms, then add the sherry. Simmer, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens. Add the soy creamer and simmer until thick, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste, then add beans.

Topping:

1 1/2 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon margarine
1/16 teaspoon sea salt
1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3-ounce can French fried onions

Put the bread, margarine, salt, and pepper into a food processor and mix until crumbed. Pour into a bowl then add the onions. Stir to combine.

Assemble:
Coat casserole dish with olive oil, then add bean and sauce mixture. Top with onion mixture and bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes. 

If you not serving immediately, refrigerate the topping and mixture separately. Bring mixture to room temperature then sprinkle on and bake at 425 F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 6-8