Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fruit Salad and Vegan Green Bean Casserole

With Thanksgiving upon us here in the U.S., I thought it appropriate for a little post on how to keep your holidays healthy- or at least mostly so.
With family who eats a healthier, but more traditional American diet (at least more traditional than mine), I wouldn't dream of forgoing all the treats and turkey, but I am trying to keep my animal product and refined sweets consumption below 20% and below 10% if possible.
Last night we had a family Thanksgiving dinner due to the fact that my parents will be out of town and we will be with the in-laws on Thanksgiving. It was a sumptuous meal. My food assignment? Green Bean Casserole and fruit salad. The fruit salad was easy.

Best Fruit Salad

fresh pineapple
fresh strawberries
fresh blueberries
fuji and gala apples

This might just rock with some shaved coconut on it, but it was amazing in it's natural flavor combination. The berries provide excellent antioxidant properties to neutralize those free radicals coming from your animal protein consumption. (Gobble! Gobble!)

The casserole was a touch trickier, but not too bad to figure out. Usually it is a simple concoction of canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup (or as I've come to think of it 'cream of gray squares' since there is really no discernible mushroom in there), and French's French Fried Onions. My quest was to find a better way- if not perfectly healthy, then at least better than msg-ridden, nutrient-sapped mush. Here's what came of it... and it was a hit!
(I failed to check the label on the fried onions, but they are kind of essential to the dish and we have to allow ourselves a little wiggle room on a holiday!)

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Frozen or fresh green beans (enough to fill 9x13 casserole dish)
French Fried Onions (not the tiny can, the big one)
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Recipe:
approx 3 cups fresh mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
approx 1/4 cup mushroom broth or vegetable broth
2 tbsp natural margarine or vegan butter spread
approx 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
approx 1 1/2 cups rice milk
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and bay leaf)
approx 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In blender combine all but 3 or 4 mushrooms and broth until mostly smooth. Set aside.
Heat butter spread in medium/small pot on medium heat. Add flour slowly and whisk together. Whisk in mushroom mix.
Gradually add rice milk while stirring.
Chop remaining mushrooms and add to pot.
Stir in seasonings.
Bring mixture to bubbling and reduce heat to low simmer for about 10 minutes.

Place green beans in 9x13 baking dish.
Cover with mushroom soup.
Stir in about 1/4 can fried onions.
Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove foil, add remaining onions on top and return to oven for about 5 minutes until onions are crisp and slightly browned.


Soon to come:
My version of holiday yams/ sweet potatoes.

1 comment:

jules said...

I had a green bean casserole that was great. It was a bag of frozen green beans, a bag of frozen mixed sliced mushrooms, sauteed shallots, and "Roads End Organics" vegan, gluten free, herb gravy mix (prepared) poured over it all. Very tasty.