If you're planning a gluten-free holiday season, you may be wondering how you can make gluten-free green bean casserole. While green beans themselves usually pose no problems, most popular traditional green bean casserole recipes call for a number of gluten-laden processed items, such as cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions. Can you adapt this inexplicably delicious holiday favorite to be gluten-free while retaining the unique combination of flavors only green bean casserole can deliver? It may be easier than you think.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
According to the Campbell's website, the soup company invented green bean casserole in 1955 to promote their cream of mushroom soup. The staple ingredient that lends its creamy taste and texture to the cream of mushroom soup may pose a problem for gluten-free cooks. There is a strong likelihood you will not be able to use most common grocery store brands of cream of mushroom soup, as wheat starch is the usually thickening agent used by most brands.
Fortunately, chefs have been preparing creamy white mushroom sauce for hundreds of years before the advent of canned mushroom soup, and you can do the same. You will only need a few simple ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup white or portabella mushrooms, diced
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour, or your favorite gluten-free thickener
- 2 cups white wine, chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2 cups milk or cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Saute mushrooms in butter using a heavy-bottomed saucepan until softened and beginning to brown. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and gradually stir in rice flour. Cook mixture over medium heat until thick and slightly doughy, then add liquid a little at a time, stirring constantly. Continue stirring over medium heat until the mixture thickens, then return cooked mushrooms to the soup. Season with salt and pepper, and you're done!
For an even quicker solution, there are a number of gluten-free, canned cream of mushroom soups available. Try Health Valley Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup or Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup.
Other Problem Ingredients
The original recipe calls for commercially prepared french fried onions. Like the cream of mushroom soup, most common brands of french fried onions are made with wheat flour. You can easily make your own, as detailed on the blog Gluten Free Mommy, or check local Asian specialty markets or online stores for similar products prepared without flour, such as Ajika Fried Onions.
Also be careful of your choice of soy sauce. Many common brands contain gluten, but there are a number of gluten-free alternatives available.
Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Even if you have been making the regular green bean casserole recipe for years, if this is your first gluten free holiday season you might want to try a few test batches of gluten-free green bean casserole to make sure you are happy with the result before you prepare it for a special occasion. The following is a basic recipe that leaves a good deal of room for adjustment depending on personal taste and family traditions:
- One can condensed cream of mushroom soup plus four ounces milk or
- Two cups homemade cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 teaspoon gluten free soy sauce
- Four cups sliced green beans, canned or fresh and cooked
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups fried onions
Combine all ingredients except onions in a medium-sized casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes until heated though. Top with onions and bake an additional five minutes. Serve hot.
Green bean casserole is one further example of how a gluten-free lifestyle doesn't need to rule out the traditions and comfort foods with which you grew up. With a little gentle recipe tweaking and some practice, you can continue to enjoy green bean casserole as much as you always have.