Healthier Green Bean Casserole

Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

Hey hey!  Guess who’s finally getting on board with the Thanksgiving recipe train?

This food blogger, that’s who.

I’ve been a little slow getting to all of the classic holiday recipes this year, partly because there are already lots of Thanksgiving recipes on the site, and partly because — ehh — sometimes even a food blogger doesn’t really want to eat lots of holiday food until closer to the holiday too.  But I cooked up a huge pre-Thanksgiving feast last week and have all sorts of good recipes ready to share with you over the next few weeks.  So get hungry, because it’s going to be a feast!  

First up this year is my take on classic green bean casserole.  It tastes decadently creamy, it’s chocked full of fresh green beans, it’s topped with a crispy onion topping that everyone will love — oh, and it’s totally lightened up!  Yep, no processed cans of creamy soup or deep-fried canned onions in this one.  Just a decadent, delicious casserole that your guests will probably never guess is better for them than the original.  Shall we?

Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

I have to admit that I was a little late to the liking-green-beans party in life.  But my gateway into trying them was always classic green bean casserole on Thanksgiving.  Yes, I was totally “that kid” who would sit there and pick off the French’s fried onions to eat.  And then maybe choke down a green bean or two when Mom was watching.  But over the years, the beans somehow started to grow on me Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving.  And then once I learned how to roast them — which is basically how I learned to like every vegetable — I was hooked.

Nowadays I’m a big fan of all green beans.  But I still have a soft spot for the casserole that started it all many Thanksgivings ago.  I just like to make it my way now.  And my way is generally lighter, fresher, and more seasoned — which works out great for this casserole!

Healthier Green Bean Casserole 8

To make the recipe, we actually begin with the end in mind — the crispy onion topping.

Now I love those canned onions just as much as anyone else, but the fact that they come from a can has always kind of weirded me out.  And, well, let’s just say they’re not the best for you.

So instead, simply saute up an onion until it’s nice and browned (you can use butter or olive oil), and then transfer the onions to a separate bowl with a slotted spoon.  Then add some Panko breadcrumbs to the pan, and saute them a bit more until they are nice and browned and extra crispy.  Transfer the Panko to the bowl with the onions and toss them all together with some grated Parmesan and salt, and you’ve got your topping.  Set it aside.

(If you would like more of an Italian twist to this dish, I also recommend adding 1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings to the onion topping.)

Gluten Free Alfredo Sauce 11

Next, you get to make the creamy mushroom sauce.  As I mentioned, it is based off of my favorite Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo recipe.  (I forgot to take a photo of the mushroom sauce, so here’s a pic of the alfredo.)   It is garlicky, it’s Parmesan-y, and it’s thick and creamy but made with regular milk instead of heavy cream.  Readers always give it great reviews, and I’m a big fan.

Simple saute up some fresh mushrooms until they are cooked.  And in the same saute pan, make your creamy alfredo sauce.Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

Meanwhile, prepare your beans.  I like mine in bite-sized pieces with the ends snipped off, but you can prepare them however you want.  Simply place them in boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until they are cooked and bright green but still have a “bite” (or you can cook them to be as soft as you’d like).  Then drain the beans, and transfer them into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

Drain the green beans again and toss them with the creamy sauce.  Then transfer the mixture to a greased baking pan, and sprinkle the onion mixture on top.  Bake it up until it’s nice and crispy and bubbly.

Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

And then dig in!

Seriously, this casserole is everything I love about the original.  But all the more enjoyable knowing that it’s made with fresher, healthier ingredients.

You still might catch me picking off that crispy onion topping every now and then, though.  ;)

Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

Enjoy!  And stay tuned for more Thanksgiving recipes coming soon!

Healthier Green Bean Casserole

This healthier green bean casserole is made with fresh and lighter ingredients, yet tastes just as comforting and decadent as the classic recipe!

Ingredients:

Casserole Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • mushroom sauce (see below)
  • crispy onion topping (see below)

Crispy Onion Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mushroom Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 8 ounces white button or baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (or cornstarch, if gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%, but any milk will work)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (not packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

To Make The Casserole:

Begin by preparing the onion topping.  Then make the mushroom sauce.

While those are cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Add the green beans and boil for 3-5 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.  (I like mine cooked but still slightly crispy.)  Drain the green beans, then transfer them to the bowl of ice water and stir them in.  This will stop them from cooking more.

When the mushroom sauce is ready, transfer the green beans into the pan with the sauce and toss until combined.  Pour the green bean mixture into a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray.  Then sprinkle the onion topping evenly on top.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Serve warm.

To Make The Crispy Onion Topping:

Heat half of the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until melted.  (Or if using olive oil, heat until it is shimmering.)  Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and starting to brown around the edges.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a separate mixing bowl.

Add the remaining half tablespoon of butter (or oil) to the pan and heat until melted.  Add in the Panko breadcrumbs and stir until combined.  Cook, stirring once every 30 seconds or so, for about 3-5 minutes until the Panko is toasted and lightly golden.  Remove from heat and transfer the Panko to the bowl with the onions.  Stir in the Parmesan and salt, and toss the mixture until combined.  Set aside.

To Make The Mushroom Sauce:

In the same saute pan that you used to cook the onion and Panko, heat butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until melted.  (Or if using olive oil, heat until it is shimmering.)  Add mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes until they are soft and cooked, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese is melted. Reduce heat to low until the sauce is ready to be tossed with the green beans.

(*If the sauce seems too thick, you can add in an extra 1/2 cup of milk.  If the sauce is too thin, you can add in an extra 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.)

 

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Healthier Green Bean Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com #thanksgiving

Leave a Comment:





Comments

  1. Momo — November 14, 2014 @ 4:59 am (#)

    Yum! This looks delicious, though I do have a soft spot for those French’s crispy onions. Question–I’m not a huge mushroom fan. What would you recommend substituting? Or should I just leave the mushrooms out and make the Alfredo? Thank you!
    Xx
    Momo

    Almosttheredc.wordpress.com

    • Ali — November 14th, 2014 @ 8:47 am

      Hi there! No prob — you can easily just leave the mushrooms out. :)

  2. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — November 14, 2014 @ 6:27 am (#)

    Hey, better late than never..like me. Since I grew up in Canada, I totally forgot about Thanksgiving and made no recipes for it. Whomp Whomp.
    I am so in love with you because you made this crunchy classic better for me! Time to eat the whole pan! Pinned!

  3. Lea J. — November 14, 2014 @ 7:34 am (#)

    I’m all about trying to “healthify” some classics! I’m going to add this to my list for this year. I love greenbean casserole but do not dig the proccessed ingredients. Thanks! (Also, that crispy onion topping should go on everything…)

  4. Chicago Jogger — November 14, 2014 @ 7:35 am (#)

    Yum…. Love me some green bean casserole :) I’m happy to see a version that doesn’t use cream of liquified mushroom soup!

  5. Annalise @ Completely Delicious — November 14, 2014 @ 9:05 am (#)

    I’m not much of a green bean casserole person, but your version looks fantastic!

  6. claire @ the realistic nutritionist — November 14, 2014 @ 9:38 am (#)

    This has always been my favorite. LOVE your rendition!! :)

  7. Jennifer @ The Foodie Patootie — November 14, 2014 @ 10:03 am (#)

    Oh yes, you are rocking my world with this recipe right now. Here I am at work and my team and I are trying to decide where we are going to eat lunch when I just want to jump into my computer screen and gobble (get it? GOBBLE) up all of this casserole.

  8. Ali's Mom — November 14, 2014 @ 11:20 am (#)

    You’re officially in charge of green bean casserole this year. yum!

  9. Brooke Tokanang — November 14, 2014 @ 1:14 pm (#)

    My hubby can’t do mushrooms is there something else you recommend for the sauce? Thanks!

    • Ali — December 4th, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

      You could just leave the mushrooms out if you’d like. :)

  10. Rachel from Rose Tinted Home — November 14, 2014 @ 1:21 pm (#)

    Ohh I love this thank you! I always want to make the ever so comforting green been casserole for Thanksgiving but bulk at the idea of that many calories in a vegetable dish. Thank you for sharing!

    xo Rachel

  11. Michele (Delish Dishes From Michele} — November 14, 2014 @ 1:25 pm (#)

    This casserole looks so yummy! I too have never been a big fan of green beans, but somehow I’d always end up with a scoop of this casserole on my plate at Thanksgiving. I think you just get the feeling you must try EVERYTHING on Turkey Day! lol. I love this healthier version you’ve made! And homemade fried onions to put on top?!?!?! … Forget about it! Ha! Thanks for the recipe :)

    -Michele

  12. Maria — November 14, 2014 @ 1:32 pm (#)

    I would eat this green been casserole:) 

  13. Christina @ The Beautiful Balanceri — November 14, 2014 @ 3:55 pm (#)

    Done and done.  This is instantly being added to my menu for Thanksgiving!

  14. sally @ sallys baking addiction — November 15, 2014 @ 6:29 am (#)

    Looks amazing Ali! I made green bean casserole the other day and it’s no where near as lightened up as this. I have to try your recipe! Maybe Kevin won’t notice the switch lol. 

  15. Kristen — November 15, 2014 @ 8:42 pm (#)

    Those Crispy Onions look perfect. 

  16. Shinee — November 15, 2014 @ 10:37 pm (#)

    Wow, this looks amazing. You got me at Parmesan and mushroom! I’m gonna make it next week to “test” before the real holiday dinner! I can’t wait to taste it.

  17. Megan {Country Cleaver} — November 15, 2014 @ 11:00 pm (#)

    These looks oh so scrumptious Ali!! Adore!

  18. Frank Mosher — November 16, 2014 @ 8:19 am (#)

    What an excellent recipe, and timely!! I just came back from a major food store with 10 lbs of green beans, a few starting to brown a bit, for .48 cents! Made this recipe immediately, and we both loved it! No condensed soup to deal with, just an excellent healthy recipe. Thank you. Will now have a new dish for next years bean season.

  19. Shirley Lang — November 17, 2014 @ 1:57 am (#)

    That’s a great recipe. I can almost smell it :)) It’s great for the season too. With all the red meat during the winter, a nice light recipe like that will ease my diet during the spring so i can look good on the beach in 2015 :) Wish you post more recipes like that and less “seductive” ones :)  

  20. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — November 18, 2014 @ 6:37 am (#)

    Looks BEAUTIFUL, Ali. This is the only dish my husband requests for Thanksgiving. It comes even before the turkey! Love your healthier rendition.

  21. Kanmani — November 25, 2014 @ 10:18 pm (#)

    This is so beautiful..love the color and flavors :)

  22. Susan — November 27, 2014 @ 3:41 pm (#)

    I had saved two recipes for green bean casserole and my husband chose yours.  It turned out very nicely, so it is definitely a keeper.  I never liked the one with canned soup, so it’s nice to have a green bean casserole that I do like.

    I need to say that the way the directions were written (the order they were in) was a bit hard for me to follow.  I understand why you wrote them the way you did, but I would have had an easier time following them had they just been written in the order in which the steps needed to be completed.

    Thank you for a great recipe, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  23. Jessica — December 2, 2014 @ 2:48 pm (#)

    Green bean casserole is one of my favorite dishes every Thanksgiving, but my family and friends are never fond of the can version. I made your recipe this year and it was a HUGE hit! Everyone, including myself, loved it! I can’t wait to make it again! I would agree that the order of the instructions leaves you scrolling back and forth many times to see amount for each ingredient. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  24. renee — April 4, 2015 @ 2:17 pm (#)

    going to make this today for Easter tomorrow. Really excited about doing it from scratch! Will take photo good or bad lol!

  25. Nellie Rardin — November 18, 2015 @ 2:28 pm (#)

    Hi there! I was just wondering if there is a make ahead option for this dish? Thanks!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 18th, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

      Hi Nellie! We think you could assemble this the day before. Just assemble entirely, let it cool (leave off the topping until right before you bake), cover and refrigerate, then top and bake when you’re ready! We hope this helps, and that you enjoy!

  26. Amber Sherman — November 23, 2015 @ 1:54 pm (#)

    I hope you see/answer soon….. do you know if this reheats well so I can make it ahead of time? I’m excited to try this and not sabotage my healthy eating.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 23rd, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

      Hi Amber, you can definitely make this ahead of time (we just wouldn’t make the topping ahead of time, as it will get soggy and lose its crispness. You could try making the topping in advance, just not putting it on the casserole until right before baking. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy!

  27. Sunflower — November 24, 2015 @ 1:19 pm (#)

    Can you make this in advance? As in the morning of, or dare I say it, the night before and reheat before dinner? I don’t want to make it in the morning and end up with soggy beans at night, I know recipes with fresh ingredients are generally best served fresh.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 24th, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

      Hi there! You can definitely do that, we just wouldn’t do the topping in advance (will most likely get soggy and lose its crispness). We hope you enjoy! :)

  28. Francesca — November 25, 2015 @ 8:13 am (#)

    I’d like to make this for Thanksgiving – sounds wonderful!  Can the mushroom Alfredo sauce be made the day before, so that assembling is less time consuming on Thanksgiving?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 29th, 2015 @ 9:27 am

      Hi Francesca, we’re sorry we’re just now getting to your comment. The sauce can definitely be made the day before. We hope you enjoy/enjoyed this!

  29. Jen — November 25, 2015 @ 11:32 pm (#)

    Would it be ok to make this the night before? Or will it go bad before.
    Thanks 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 29th, 2015 @ 9:54 am

      Hi Jen, you could definitely make this the night before, just don’t put the topping on it until right before you bake (otherwise it will get soggy). Also, if there’s any way you can make the topping closer to the time you’re going to bake, that would be ideal (the more advance you make the topping, the less crispy it will be/stay). We hope you enjoy this!

  30. Chelsea — November 27, 2015 @ 12:39 pm (#)

    This was seriously DELICIOUS!!! I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit with my family and my in-laws. So good. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 29th, 2015 @ 9:49 pm

      Thanks Chelsea, we’re happy you and your family enjoyed this so much!

  31. Shelby — November 27, 2015 @ 12:53 pm (#)

    I never even tried green bean casserole before, but with this being the only dish my boyfriend requested for our first Thanksgiving together (and him living away from his family) I knew I had to make it. When he walked into the kitchen to find me cooking this on Thanksgiving morning his first reaction was “Do you know how that’s normally made, with cans?” I laughed because the idea of cooking with canned veggies just doesn’t sit well with me. Thank you for giving me a great fresh recipe that gave me the title of “Awesome Girlfriend” this Thanksgiving! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 29th, 2015 @ 9:50 pm

      You’re so welcome Shelby, we’re happy this was a hit with your boyfriend! :D

  32. Heather — December 20, 2015 @ 12:54 pm (#)

    I made this recipe for my Friendsgiving (I left out the mushrooms) and it was absolutely delicious! I’ve never made the classic recipe and I had everyone cringing at the thought of green bean casserole as a dish but I only received positive feedback and am now bringing this as my dish for Christmas. I’d love to eat this for any occasion or no occasion at all IT’S THAT GOOD. Perfectly light and seasoned.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 21st, 2015 @ 8:41 am

      Heather we’re so happy this was a hit, thanks for sharing! :D