This Healthy Green Bean Casserole recipe is made from scratch with lightened-up ingredients, it’s fresh and creamy and crispy, and it is full of the absolute best flavors. Always a crowd fave!
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. ♡
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!
Green Bean Casserole Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Healthy Green Bean Casserole Ingredients:
Alright, so let’s talk about the best green bean casserole ingredients! We have three main components here…
Green beans: I really recommend using fresh green beans (vs frozen) for optimal crispiness, cut into bite-sized pieces (with the ends trimmed off and discarded).
Crispy Onion Topping: By contrast to the retro French’s green bean casserole recipe, we’ll make an irresistibly tasty onion topping from scratch! All you need are smoe thinly-sliced onions (red, white or yellow — up to you), Panko breadcrumbs (which we will briefly sauté to make them extra crispy), Parmesan cheese, butter and salt.
Mushroom Alfredo Sauce: Made with fresh baby bella mushrooms (or your favorite kind of mushrooms), lots of garlic, butter, flour, stock, milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
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 from scratch, simply:
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.)
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.
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.
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…
Bake. For about 20-25 minutes, or until the crispy onion topping is golden and crispy.
Serve warm. Then remove and serve warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some parsley) if you’d like.
There all sorts of ways that you can customize this easy green bean casserole! For example, feel free to:
Make it vegan. To make vegan green bean casserole, use olive oil or vegan butter (in place of butter) and plain plant-based milk (instead of cow’s milk). Then you can either omit the Parmesan altogether, or sub vegan cheese in its place or sprinkle in some nutritional yeast to taste.
Make it in the slow cooker. To make Crock-Pot green bean casserole, you are welcome to prep the green beans and sauce as directed in the recipe below, then combine them in the slow cooker and heat on low until ready to serve. (Or you can prep that filling and refrigerate it in a sealed container, then warm it back up in the slow cooker before your meal.) Then prep the crispy onion topping, bake until crispy, and dish up the warm filling topped with the crispy topping.
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.
How To Make Ahead or Store Green Bean Casserole:
Make-Ahead Instructions: If you happen to be making this easy 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.)
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 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 teaspooneach 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
Preheat oven. Heat oven to 375°F.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Serve warm. Remove from the oven and serve warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some parsley) if you’d like.