Admittedly, I’ve never been the person that loved green bean casserole during Thanksgiving. I just didn’t get the obsession. HOWEVER, a bunch of you requested this on Instagram and in our AK Facebook community group, so I knew I had to make it REAL GOOD for ya.
AND OH MY LEONARDO DICAPRIO (or as I like to say OMLD) this healthy green bean casserole was beyond glorious. So creamy, delicious, crunchy, and fresh.
Now that I think about it, I’m really not sure where the original green bean casserole recipe came from. Was it the back of the Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup? Created by a midwestern Grandma with a bunch of random stuff in her cupboard? Beats me, all I know is that it’s a favorite Thanksgiving side dish and that it was in need of a serious makeover.
What is green bean casserole?
Traditional green bean casserole is made with cream of mushroom soup, green beans and french fried onions. It can tend to be a little mushy and pretty heavy, which is why I decided to freshen it up for you!
What makes this green bean casserole healthy?
My healthy green bean casserole version is a combination of two homemade classics. I was inspired by Alton Brown’s crunchy onion topping and then got my filling inspiration from Bon Appetit’s best ever green bean casserole.
Of course, I lightened it up a little more where I could using WAY less butter, and chicken broth instead of heavy cream. And of course, we’re skipping the cream of mushroom soup and making a creamy parmesan gravy sauce instead. SO GOOD.
After the first bite, I knew that this would forever be a family favorite.
Ingredients in healthy green bean casserole
My lightened up take on traditional green bean casserole is full of incredible, savory flavors and the perfect textures thanks to fresh green beans, crispy onions & savory mushrooms. No soupy casserole here! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- For the crispy onions: onions, olive oil, all purpose flour (or gluten free all purpose flour), panko breadcrumbs (or gluten free breadcrumbs), garlic powder & salt.
- For the green beans: you’ll be using about 2 pounds of fresh green beans in this recipe.
- For the mushrooms: butter, baby bella mushrooms, thyme, salt & pepper.
- For the sauce: butter, all purpose flour, chicken broth (or vegetarian broth), garlic, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.
What makes this healthy green bean casserole recipe delicious and unique?
- The homemade creamy garlic parmesan mushroom gravy sauce that the fresh green beans bake in.
- The homemade baked crunchy onions on top.
- The fact that it’s made without cream of mushroom soup. JUST SAYIN’.
How to make green bean casserole ahead of time
You can easily make this healthy green bean casserole ahead to save time during Thanksgiving. Here’s what I recommend:
- Prepare the recipe as directed, including adding the remaining 3/4 of the crispy onions on top except do not bake. Wrap with foil and place in fridge up to 2 days ahead.
- Once ready, bake as directed. Removing foil during the last 20 minutes of baking to crisp up the onions a bit.
- Serve immediately with all your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
How to store & reheat green bean casserole
To store: store any leftover green bean casserole covered in the baking pan or in separate, airtight containers in the fridge for up to four days.
To reheat: simply reheat a portion of the green bean casserole in the microwave, or feel free to re-warm the entire baking dish to enjoy a few more servings.
More healthy Thanksgiving recipes you might like
Don’t forget to check out all of our healthy, delicious Thanksgiving recipes here.
I hope you get a chance to try this healthy green bean casserole recipe out over Thanksgiving. It’s absolutely delicious, makes yummy leftovers and SO much better than the green bean casserole we’re all used to. If you make it be sure to leave a comment & a rating so I know how you liked it!
The Best Homemade Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- For the onions:
- 2 medium to large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour or gluten free oat flour)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For the green beans:
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
- For the mushrooms:
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 pound (16 ounces) sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose GF flour)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetarian broth)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Place sliced onions in a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil then add in flour, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder and salt. Use your hands to toss to combine, then place onions onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes, using a tong to toss the onions every 8-10 minutes or so, until nice and crispy.
- Once done cooking, set onions aside. Reduce the heat in the oven to 350 degrees F.
- While the onions are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans in two batches, cooking for about 2-3 minutes per batch. I like to remove the green beans from the water with metal tongs and transfer to a large bowl, then repeat with additional green beans. Set aside.
- Next cook your mushrooms: Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add in 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter melts, add in the mushrooms, fresh thyme and salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are nice and golden brown; about 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
In the same skillet you cooked the mushrooms, add in 2 tablespoons of butter and place over medium heat. Once butter melts, whisk in flour and cook for 15-30 seconds until a paste forms, then VERY slowly add 2 cups of the broth, while you continue to whisk away any lumps. You’ll need to whisk pretty vigorously.
Once smooth, increase heat, and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring every so often until sauce thickens up a bit, similar to a gravy. If it gets way too thick, add in 1/4-½ cup more broth.
Once thick, turn off the heat and stir in minced garlic and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spray a 2 quart baking disk or 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or grease with olive oil or butter. Add in green beans, mushrooms and 1/4 of the crispy onions; gently toss together.
- Pour the sauce all over, then cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil, add the remaining crispy onions on top and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Serves 8-10
To make gluten free: use gluten free breadcrumbs and gluten free all purpose flour.
To make ahead of time:
- Prepare the recipe as directed, including adding the remaining 3/4 of the crispy onions on top. Do not bake. Wrap with foil and place in fridge up to 2 days ahead.
- Once ready, bake as directed. Removing foil during the last 10-20 minutes of baking to crisp up the onions a bit.
- Serve immediately with all your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats