BVC Eats: Comfort Food: Water Chestnut Green Beans

From “A Trip to the Moon” Holiday NYC window

It’s a good time in the northern hemisphere to pull out the comfort food recipes. A side dish that appeared at every festive occasion of my youth was a variant on that now-ridiculed green bean casserole.

In my family, there was no mushroom soup or French fried onion rings in any side dish. We saved cheese for other meals, because when you mix green beans, slivered water chestnuts, and cream of celery soup–you have something people think you have slaved over for hours. It tastes wonderful in my memory, even though it contains things my family can’t have anymore, like gluten, dairy, or MSG (old standard condensed soups usually have MSG.)

Here’s the recipe as I learned it:

1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup (undiluted)
2 cans Del Monte Blue Lake green beans (drained)
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts (drained; you may slice into matchstick form)
1 tsp. sugar

Layer in a lightly greased casserole dish one can green beans, 1/2 can celery soup, 1/2 of sliced water chestnuts, and a bit of the sugar. Repeat layers. Do NOT salt this dish–remember that you are using a canned, condensed soup, and they are full of salt!

Bake 350 degrees F. for thirty (30) minutes.

This is easily doubled but don’t double the sugar.

There’s nothing gluten free about this recipe (see soup label) and since I can’t have gluten I haven’t had this in at least ten years. But resurrecting this family favorite got me thinking about options. The canned beans were fine in a pinch decades ago with the Midwest under snow, but fresh green beans could be snapped and steamed. I found that this gluten free cream of celery soup exists, but haven’t tried it yet.

So if you want a soup without added wheat gluten as a sweetener and binder, try fresh green beans and a gf soup. Let me know how it goes! I have a family member in the latest generation who doesn’t like water chestnuts, so I won’t be making this for a while yet. But this soup mix looks promising. If anyone has a gf, df cream of celery soup they like, I’d love to hear the recipe or the manufacturer!



BVC Eats: Comfort Food: Water Chestnut Green Beans — 2 Comments

  1. Decided to try a few of the gluten-free soups — they seem low in sodium, which is a very good thing.

  2. If you can get fresh water chestnuts try them. They are unbelieveably good. May convert your relative. Jicama is a good substitute too.