Fresh Take on Green Bean Casserole

healthy green bean casserole

Talk about effective branding! That green bean casserole topped with fried onions makes an appearance every Thanksgiving on millions of dinner tables across America to this day. I’m always curious about the origins of different foods, especially when it comes to dishes that are included in traditional celebrations, both cultural and religious. Because one of the key ingredients is canned cream of mushroom soup, I suspected that this ubiquitous casserole came about in the 1950’s because that’s when incorporating Campbell’s canned soups in casseroles for a quick, no-fuss, one-pot meal became popular. Permanently embedded in the psyche of the baby boomer generation is the catchy Campbell’s tagline:  Mmmm good… I can’t think of any other soup companies that existed then, can you? Anyway, I googled it and sure enough, according to Wikipedia, it was invented in 1955 in the Campbell Soup Company test kitchen under the leadership of Dorcas Reilly.

Some of you may still look forward to the familiar 1950’s version, but I know some of you may wish that mom or whoever brings the green bean casserole to the table every year, would give it a face lift! Here’s how easy it is to use all fresh ingredients:  green beans, mushrooms, and onions, whip up a simple bechamel (white sauce) and sprinkle it with panko bread crumbs to satisfy the need for a crunchy topping :-)

Healthy Green Bean Cassserole
Give that '50's casserole a face lift using all fresh ingredients, a simple bechamel (white sauce) and a sprinkle of panko bread crumbs for a crunchy topping. So easy!
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 6-8 oz. package cremini mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 2 tablespoon Wondra flour*
  • 1 c. milk or half & half
  • ½ c. Kikkoman panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boiling over high heat. After removing the ends, cut the beans in half. Add to boiling water and blanch the beans for about 2-3 minutes. This partially cooks the beans but they’ll be baked with the other ingredients to finish cooking. Remove the beans to a colander and run cold water over them.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. I added a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a little kick. Sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in the butter until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beans to the mushrooms, mix together and cook another minute or so. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons butter into the same skillet. When butter is melted, whisk in 2 tablespoons of Wondra flour*. Cook for a minute until the flour is incorporated into the butter, then add the milk. Continue to stir until thickened. Add a dash of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Mix into the vegetable mixture and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until bread crumbs are crisped and golden. Recipe can easily be doubled. Can also be made 1 day ahead and reheated.
*Wondra is a must-have pantry item for smooth sauces and gravies.

 Skinny Green Bean Casserole


Enjoy this fresh take on a classic Thanksgiving dish :-)

19 Responses to “Fresh Take on Green Bean Casserole”

  1. Kathy November 22 at 4:05 pm #

    Just when you think you can’t face another holiday with a green bean casserole slathered in high sodium cream of mushroom soup alas a recipe I can live with!

  2. Nancy@acommunaltable November 22 at 6:00 pm #

    Great makeover of a Thanksgiving “classic”. Have to admit that this dish was never on my Thanksgiving table but that may have to change after reading about this version!

    • Priscilla November 22 at 6:24 pm #

      Thank you, Nancy :-) the “classic” green bean casserole wasn’t on our table either, but my mom did use cream of mushroom soup frequently.

  3. Evan @swEEts November 23 at 6:29 am #

    Now I do love the classic green bean casserole, but I think yours may have just won me over.. this sounds delicious and makes it way more classy :)

  4. whatsfordinneracrossstatlines November 23 at 8:44 am #

    You had me laughing this morning! My mom instists on making the originals, “Because my brothers like it”. That’s her story anyways, I can’t stand it, but I definately like your version. Me and my sister have been debating whether or not to make it, I think you just helped me decide! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Angie's Recipes November 23 at 1:05 pm #

    What a great veggie casserole! Love the panko topping here…

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Magic of Spice November 23 at 7:54 pm #

    So you found the green beans :) This is a wonderful re-invention…I won’t say much regarding the old school (apparently my mother reads you blog,lol)
    But I am all for the face lift…Look at all of those goodies, perfect :)
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving…xoxo

  7. Monet November 23 at 10:26 pm #

    I enjoyed eating green bean casserole growing up, but when I attempted to make the classic version myself…I was shocked to see the amount of processed ingredients it required! Needless to say, this recipe is FAR more appealing! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving!

  8. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron November 23 at 10:33 pm #

    I wanna raise my hand when you say you may want whoever bring a green bean cassarole to have a face lift! haha. I’m a big fan of green beans. However, I never make green bean casserole myself (only cook in different dishes). Maybe this year I can be the one who brings the new face of greenbean casserole!

  9. Summer November 24 at 1:12 am #

    Ha ha , i love ur take and i love those onions and ur pretty pumpkin dish too!
    Happy to find ur lovely blog and happy hols!

  10. blackbookkitchendiaries November 24 at 12:09 pm #

    i really love this fresh new twist on a classic dish.. this is my favorite. thanks for sharing this. happy thanksgiving.

  11. Kimba's Kitchen November 24 at 3:16 pm #

    This looks wonderful!!! Have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy this time with family and friends :)

  12. OLGA LOPEZ November 24 at 8:13 pm #

    what a great and yummy side dish for thanksgiving dinner.



  13. citronetvanille November 24 at 8:15 pm #

    Well, I was wondering what side dishes to serve with my turkey, that is a great idea. Mushrooms and beans are a perfect match! Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. FOODESSA November 25 at 5:01 am #

    The sprinkle of Panko along with a generous helping of onions and mushrooms…especially my favourite crimini…must surely have enhanced the typical green bean casserole.
    Love the serving dish ;o)

    Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving celebration.
    Ciao for now,

  15. as a child I used to hate green beans, I’m not a big fan now either but I do eat them form time to time, since I’m not born American I don’t know which is the 1950’s and after version of the green bean casserole, but I can say yours is quite tempting. I have to look for Wondra flour at my supermarket now.
    Hope you had a wonderful day

  16. fooddreamer November 26 at 5:36 am #

    oh, wow, that looks good. I am now scheming of a way to make it low carb and adding it to my Christmas menu!

  17. Rosa November 26 at 6:38 am #

    I love your takeon green been casserole! A great side dish.




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