Healthy Green Bean Casserole

This Healthy Green Bean Casserole recipe is made from scratch with lightened-up ingredients, it’s nice and fresh and crispy, and it is full of the absolute best flavors.  Always a crowd fave!

Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Move on over, canned creamy soup, frozen green beans, and packaged fried onions.

This healthy green bean casserole recipe is made entirely from scratch, it tastes a million times better than the processed casseroles of our childhoods, and it is my absolute, no-contest, hands-down favorite. 

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Mainly, I love this recipe so much because it legitimately tastes fresh.  For years, I always passed on the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving because it was so mushy and bland and boring.  But turns out — when it’s made with scratch ingredients, this casserole comes to life and can actually actually bursting with fresh and delicious flavors!

Instead of soggy frozen green beans, fresh green beans are the star of the show here, which are just briefly cooked in order to preserve their crisp and fresh flavors.  Instead of cream of mushroom soup, we’ll sauté fresh mushrooms and fold them into a creamy, dreamy, lightened-up alfredo sauce.  And instead of dry, packaged, cooked-in-palm-oil fried onions, we will sauté a fresh red onion with panko breadcrumbs, which will then toast up to golden perfection as the casserole bakes.  And the result?

An absolute showstopper of a green bean casserole.

You’re going to love it!

Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe from Gimme Some Oven

My original photo for this recipe from 2014.

Fresh Green Beans | Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Healthy Green Bean Casserole Ingredients:

Alright, so let’s talk ingredients!  The three main components of this casserole will include the green beans, mushroom sauce, and crispy onion topping.  To make each, you will need:

Green Beans

  • Fresh Green Beans: Rinsed clean, ends trimmed off, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Crispy Onion Topping

  • Onion: Peeled and very thinly sliced.  (You can use either a red or white onion, your choice.)
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Which we will briefly sauté in oil (or butter), so that the breadcrumbs are extra crispy.
  • Parmesan: I highly recommend using freshly-grated Parmesan (as always!) for extra flavor.
  • Butter and salt: For sautéing.  (Or you can always use olive oil in place of butter.)

Mushroom Alfredo Sauce

  • Baby bella (or white button) mushrooms: Thinly sliced.
  • Garlic: We’re going to use quite a bit, to amp up the flavor of the alfredo sauce.
  • Butter, flour, stock, milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper: To form the base of our alfredo sauce.

How To Make Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

How To Make Green Bean Casserole:

So here’s the thing — since we’re going to make each of these components from scratch, this casserole is going to take a bit longer to prep than the old-school Campbell’s green bean casserole.  But I promise the extra effort will be worth it!  Just carve out an extra twenty or so minutes, or grab a helper in the kitchen, and let’s get started.

To make this healthy green bean casserole recipe, simply:

  1. Trim, cut and briefly boil the green beans. Heat a stockpot of water while you trim and cut the green beans.  Then pop them in for anywhere from 3-5 minutes*, depending on how crispy you like your green beans.  Then use a slotted spoon or a large strainer to transfer the beans immediately into a large bowl of ice water, and give them a quick stir.  This will prevent them from cooking longer.  (*Also, keep in mind that the beans will cook more in the oven, so err on the side of undercooking them to your taste during this step.)
  2. Prepare your crispy onion topping.  Melt some butter or olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Then add your very-thinly-sliced onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is partially cooked but still holds its shape.  (You don’t want it to get too soft and soggy.)  Transfer the onion to a clean bowl.  Then add a bit more butter to the sauté pan along with your panko, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the panko is lightly golden.  Transfer the panko to the bowl with the onions.  Add Parmesan, salt and pepper, and toss to combine.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare your mushroom alfredo sauce.  Give your sauté pan a quick rinse.  Then return it to the stove, add a little more butter, and sauté the mushrooms and garlic until golden and cooked.  Stir in the flour and sauté it for a minute, to cook off that flour-y taste and form the base of our roux.  Then stir in some vegetable stock, milk, and Parmesan.  Bring the sauce to a simmer until it has thickened.  Then taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Put it all together!  Combine the green beans and mushroom alfredo sauce in the stockpot, and stir until evenly combined.  Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and spread it out in an even layer.  Then sprinkle the crispy onion topping evenly over the top of the casserole. And…
  5. Bake.  For about 20-25 minutes, or until the crispy onion topping is golden and crispy.
  6. Serve warm.  Then remove and serve warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some parsley) if you’d like.

Healthy Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onion Topping

Possible Variations:

There all sorts of ways that you can customize this easy green bean casserole!  For example, feel free to:

  • Make it gluten-free. To do so, use certified gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.  And in place of the all-purpose flour, use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. (Affiliate links.)
  • Add a kick.  Want to add a little heat to this casserole?  I love adding a finely-diced jalapeño to the onion topping.  Or you can just sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes into the alfredo sauce.
  • Add bacon.  I mean, I’m never going to turn down a green bean casserole with bacon.  ;)  Feel free to dice and fry up some bacon to add to this casserole if you would like.  And for extra flavor, use the leftover bacon grease to sauté the onions and mushrooms.
  • Add in extra cheese.  For extra flavor, feel free to stir some cheese into the green bean filling.  Some delicious cheeses could include shredded smoked gouda or cheddar, or crumbled feta, blue, or goat cheese.
  • Add Cajun seasoning.  I also really love adding in a few teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (or Old Bay seasoning) to the alfredo sauce.  It adds a nice extra kick, and pairs well with all of the other flavors happening here.

Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe with Crispy Onion Topping

How To Make Ahead or Store Green Bean Casserole:

Make-Ahead Instructions: If you happen to be making this green bean casserole recipe for Thanksgiving — or any day of the year! — and would like to prep it ahead of time, no problem!  Just follow the recipe until you get to the baking step.  And instead of placing the baking dish in the oven, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  Then once you are ready to bake the casserole, uncover and bake as directed.

How To Refrigerate: If you have leftovers after the casserole has already been baked, just refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  (Unfortunately., the alfredo sauce does not freeze well, so I do not recommend freezing this casserole.)

How To Reheat: Then to reheat this cooked casserole, just pop it back in the oven at 350°F until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.  (Keep an eye on the casserole, and if the topping starts to get too toasty, just lay a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the top of the casserole.)

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Healthy Green Bean Casserole

This Healthy Green Bean Casserole recipe is made from scratch with lightened-up ingredients, it’s nice and fresh and crispy, and it is full of the absolute best flavors.  Always a crowd fave!

Ingredients:

Healthy Green Bean Casserole Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 batch Mushroom Alfredo Sauce (see below)
  • 1 batch Crispy Onion Topping (see below)

Crispy Onion Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly-sliced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon each fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Mushroom Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%, but any milk will do)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven.  Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Trim, cut and briefly boil the green beans. Heat a large stockpot of water over high-heat until boiling. Meanwhile, trim and cut the green beans.  Then add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes*, depending on how crispy you like your green beans. (Keep in mind that the beans will cook more in the oven, so err on the side of undercooking them to your taste during this step.)  Then use a slotted spoon or a large strainer to transfer the beans immediately into a large bowl of ice water, and give them a quick stir.  This will prevent them from cooking longer.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare your crispy onion topping.  Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter (or olive oil) in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is partially cooked but still holds its shape.  (You don’t want the onion to get too soft.)  Transfer the onion to a clean bowl.  Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauté pan, along with the panko, and stir to combine.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the panko is lightly golden.  Remove from heat, and transfer the panko to the bowl with the onions.  Add in the Parmesan, salt and pepper, and toss the onion mixture until evenly combined.  Set aside.
  4. Prepare your mushroom alfredo sauce.  Briefly rinse and dry the sauté pan.  Then return it to the stove.  Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and soft.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Stir in the flour and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.  Then add in the vegetable stock, and stir until the flour is evenly dissolved.  Add the milk and Parmesan, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking the sauce until it reaches a simmer and thickens.  Then remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Put it all together!  Combine the green beans and mushroom alfredo sauce in the stockpot, and stir the green bean mixture until evenly combined.  Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and spread the green bean mixture out in an even layer.  Sprinkle evenly with the crispy onion topping mixture.
  6. Bake.  Then bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crispy onion topping is golden and crispy.  (Keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.  If it does start to char, simply lay a piece of aluminum foil on top of the casserole.)
  7. Serve warm.  Remove from the oven and serve warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some parsley) if you’d like.
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Healthy Green Bean Casserole from Gimme Some Oven

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74 comments on “Healthy Green Bean Casserole”

  1. This has been a favorite of mine since I made it three years ago. My office loves it and I just brought it to friendsgiving last night and got a lot of comments like, “why does this taste so much better than what my mom makes?” and “omg this is so good.” I won’t ever go back to the OG version. This takes the cake.

  2. This recipe is going on my list to make next week. Love your recipes!

  3. I absolutely love it! I pass on the other way as well and have made one from the Spark People Cookbook that uses fresh green bans too but no Parmesan cheese. I will try yours out.

  4. Late to the party here on this post – but I’m totally making this version this year!! Would you happen to have the nutritional breakdown for this? I’m just wondering before I spend an hour piecing all together :P

  5. Tested this out the other day for Thanksgiving and it’s delicious! Definitely bringing it to dinner tomorrow. I did the “regular” version but like all of the variation options.

    Rating: 5