For many people, when you mention green beans, they think: green bean casserole. Specifically, Thanksgiving green bean casserole. Developed in 1955, the original recipe includes canned cream of mushroom soup, French-fried onions, and—somewhere under there—canned green beans. For some people, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it. For others—they’ll take a pass, and prefer something a little lighter, like this Healthy Green Bean Casserole.
This updated recipe keeps the flavors but substitutes fresh ingredients for the canned ones. In this version, fresh green beans are the star of the dish, not a buried afterthought. You’re going to slice the beans into pieces, so choose a long, meaty bean such as Kentucky Wonder 125. That way you’ll get nice chunks of green bean flavor in every bite.
You’ll still enjoy the mushroom and onion flavors in this version, but the crunchy topping comes from panko breadcrumbs mixed with whole wheat flour, broiled, instead of French frying.
Experiment with making Healthy Green Bean Casserole gluten-free by substituting gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs for the originals. And appeal to vegans by swapping out dairy ingredients for unsweetened, non-dairy milk and yogurt, and nutritional yeast with a sprinkling of lemon juice for the cheese.
Will Healthy Green Bean Casserole taste exactly the same as the 1950s recipe? Of course not! But this version is delicious, healthy, and perfect for the grown-ups table any day of the year.Print
Healthy Green Bean Casserole
An updated version of the Thanksgiving staple side dish, Healthy Green Bean Casserole keeps the flavor and loses the processed ingredients.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: Serves 10 1x
- Category: Sides & Sauces
- 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus additional for garnish
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 pounds green beans trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion very thinly sliced
- 8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms sliced (do not use plain white mushrooms, as they do not have much flavor)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 ounces 2% Greek yogurt
- Position a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to broil. Lightly coat a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a small bowl, stir together the Panko, Parmesan, parsley, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
- Blanch the green beans: Bring a very large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath and set out a large, clean kitchen towel. Place the beans in the water and cook just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain and transfer to the towel. Lightly pat dry.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden and the mushrooms brown and have given up their liquid, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes more, until all of the flour turns golden and no white bits remain.
- Slowly add the milk a few splashes at a time, stirring between each addition to prevent lumps from forming. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook and stir, allowing the sauce to bubble, running a wooden spoon or spatula along the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce reduces and thickens to resemble a creamy gravy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt.
- Transfer half the green beans to the prepared baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top.
- Broil, watching closely, until the casserole is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.
Green beans are grown, and eaten, the world over. With the Latin name Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean), green beans are also referred to as string beans, pole beans, and snap beans. With our Grow Great Green Beans Gardening Guide, you’ll have everything you need to know about growing and enjoying this unique food in your home garden, including advice on planting, raising, harvesting, and preparing dish after delicious dish featuring your home-grown green beans.
A 21st century take on the classic Thanksgiving side, this recipe retains the mushroom and onion flavors, puts the focus on fresh green beans, and adds a crunchy topping that doesn’t come out of a can. The result is a delicious, sophisticated side dish that’s just as easy to make as the original. Have you made this Healthy Green Bean Casserole recipe? It’s so easy to make and tastes so good! Please tell us how you liked it.