Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe- No one will miss the canned soup or fried onions thanks to this healthy alternative. Made entirely from scratch, this Green Bean Casserole is rich, creamy, and super easy to prepare.
Green bean casserole has always been one of my favorite holiday side dishes. No, not because I actually liked green beans as a kid. In fact, it was quite the opposite. However, the twice-yearly green bean casserole which consisted of canned beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, and canned fried onions was always an exception.
I loved this less-healthy version of the green bean casserole, you guys. And still get really really excited anytime I know that my dad will be preparing it for Thanksgiving.
However, I wanted to learn how to make a green bean casserole that was less processed than this childhood favorite and see how it compared. You know, a kitchen experiment. I mean, I knew that a healthier, from-scratch green bean casserole existed, but was it actually good?
To save you from the suspense (I know, it’s a real nail-biter), I’ll just come right out with the answer- this healthy green bean casserole is fabulous. Now, is it the same as the canned-everything version? No. This one, being homemade and all, has chunks of real mushrooms and green beans that are not soggy. The onions actually taste like crispy onions.
In other words, it’s different (because it is!), but addictively delicious.
Ingredients in this Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe
- Olive oil
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- Green beans
- All-purpose flour
- Low-sodium chicken broth
- Milk or half-and-half
Tips & Tricks for making the best Healthy Green Bean Casserole (from scratch)
- I’ll start with the first tip that I forgot the first time I made this recipe- don’t forget to blanch the green beans. Translation, the green beans need to boil for 4-5 minutes, drain, and then be transferred to an ice bath to stop cooking. Guys, we want green beans that are soft, but not mushy. So just promise me you won’t forget this step 🙂
- Don’t overcook the onions. The onions start their journey in this recipe by sautéeing in a little butter and olive oil until soft. The goal is that the onions just start the caramelization process, without actually going through the process. We still want the onions to have a little bite to them.
- Don’t be afraid to modify the recipe. If whole sliced mushrooms aren’t your thing, don’t be afraid to chop them into smaller pieces or blend the mushroom sauce together. I haven’t tried this personally, but I can only imagine that it would taste just as delicious.
- The same can be said about using only fresh ingredients. If you really love those French’s fried onions (they really are delicious), use them!
- Save time by prepping the vegetables ahead of time. This includes blanching those beautiful and delicious green beans.
Is Green Bean Casserole healthy
Fried onions, cream of mushroom soup and all kinds of other unknown or heavy ingredients? I think not. While it may be true that for many of us this luscious casserole is only eaten once or twice a year, for others, it means days and days of leftovers, ultimately resulting in weeks of bloat and discomfort.
So to answer the question of whether green bean casserole is healthy or not I’m going to say it all boils down to ingredients and preparation.
This green bean casserole is significantly healthier than the alternative I grew up eating. That said, it still contains some butter, oil, cheese, and some kind of milk or cream. However, it also contains loads of real mushrooms, green beans, and onions.
After all, I still wanted it to taste delicious and actually taste like a green bean casserole with crispy onions. There had to be some compromises 😉
What to serve with this Healthy Green Bean Casserole
If you’re in Thanksgiving mode, then I highly recommend a turkey. Assuming, of course, that’s your tradition and you’re not a vegetarian. Sadly, no turkey recipe on this site yet, but stay tuned because I’m thinking it’s time I bust out my roasting pan.
Sides, on the other hand, I’ve got you covered.
- Crispy Herb and Butter Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Carrots with Lemon Tahini Sauce
- Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Garlic
- 10 Minute Chicken and Grape Holiday Slaw
- Easy Herb and Brown Sugar Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Scalloped Root Vegetable Skillet
- Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Sage
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
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Healthier Green Bean Casserole Recipe
For the Onions
For the Green Bean Casserole
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 pounds fresh green beans - trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp butter - or olive oil, divided
- 16 ounces mushrooms - sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly grated pepper
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth - or vegetable broth
- 1 1/4 cup milk of choice - (see notes)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
- salt - to taste
- pepper - to taste
For the Onions
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 8-12 minutes, or until onions are soft and just starting to caramelize. Stir often.
- As the onions cook, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, salt, and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Transfer the cooked onions to a clean plate and sprinkle with the Panko, salt, and cheese mixture. Gently toss well to combine and set aside.
For the Green Beans and Mushroom Sauce
- Don't forget this step- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Once boiling, add the prepared green beans to the pot and blanch for approximately 4-5 minutes. Drain immediately and transfer the green beans to an ice water bath to stop cooking. Drain again and set aside.
- Using the same skillet used to cook the onions, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, mixing well. Cook the mushrooms, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to release their moisture. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute more.
- Sprinkle the top of the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and stir until just combined. Slowly add the chicken broth and simmer for approximately 3 minutes, stirring well to combine.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and gently whisk in your milk-of-choice. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency (approximately 5 minutes.).
- Remove the skillet from heat and gently stir in the drained green beans, 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, and approximately 1/3 of the onions. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- If the sauce turns out too thick, slowly whisk in more milk. Conversely, if the sauce is too thin, slowly add in more Parmesan cheese, until you reach the desired consistency.
- Smooth out the top of the green beans and top with the remaining onions. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until edges are bubbly. Carefully remove from the oven and enjoy!