This easy healthy green bean casserole is full of tender, yet crisp green beans, a delicious lightened up mushroom cream sauce, and perfectly crunchy “fried” onions. If you love green bean casserole then I can guarantee you will love this healthy homemade version even more!
What Makes This a Healthier Version of Green Bean Casserole?
Traditional green bean casserole is made with canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and crispy fried onions. And, while I have fond memories of enjoying the casserole as a child, it has nothing on my homemade version.
Not only is this healthier version made with simple whole food ingredients it honestly just tastes SO. MUCH. BETTER. There are a couple of key elements that take his homemade version of everyone’s favorite casserole to the next level.
- Fresh Green Beans – we’re skipping the pre-cooked canned green beans for the fresh stuff. The green beans blanched so they stay a beautiful bright, fresh green color while still being tender yet crisp.
- Homemade Mushroom cream Sauce – If you have never made homemade green bean casserole before it may be because you were intimidated by making a cream sauce from scratch. Trust me, it could not be easier! The green beans are coated in a simple yet flavorful mushroom sauce that’s finished with touch of cream and grated parmesan cheese.
- Crispy Homemade “Fried” Onions – Alright, let’s be honest, everyone’s favorite part of the green bean casserole is the crispy fried onions. They give the casserole the perfect crunch and really just pull everything together. I tested making the crispy onions a few different ways including shallow frying, coating them in egg wash, and toasting the breadcrumbs before adding to the onions. In the end, this lightened up version of the casserole skips the “fried” element of the crispy onions altogether and let’s the oven do all of the work!
Watch How to Make This Recipe
Healthy Green Bean Casserole Ingredients
Unsalted Butter: this may be a healthier version of the classic but we’re still using a little butter to get that delicious rich flavor that we all know and love. I like to use unsalted butter so I can control the salt level in the dish.
Onion: the best part of green bean casserole is the crispy fried onions on top! we’re making a homemade version with sliced yellow onion.
Panko Breadcrumbs: to give the homemade onions that delicious crunch this recipe us panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are light and crispy and give the onion topping the best texture.
Parmesan Cheese: a little parmesan cheese goes into both the filling and the topping for extra flavor.
Spices, Herbs, and Aromatics: a combination of dried spices, garlic, and fresh herbs take this casserole to the next level.
Fresh Green Beans: the big difference between this homemade healthier casserole and traditional green bean casserole is green beans! this recipe uses fresh, blanched green beans instead of canned.
Mushrooms: plenty of fresh sliced baby Bella mushrooms form the base of the creamy homemade mushroom sauce.
All Purpose Flour: this helps to thicken the homemade mushroom sauce. If you need a gluten free option I’ve included one for you, below.
Chicken Broth: try to grab low-sodium chicken broth so that you can control the amount of salt in the sauce.
Half and Half: a splash of half and half helps to make this sauce perfectly creamy.
Ingredient Substitutions and FAQs
- Butter – if you need to keep this recipe completely dairy free you can swap the butter for ghee, olive oil, or even coconut oil.
- Breadcrumbs – if you need a gluten free swap for the breadcrumbs use gluten free panko breadcrumbs instead!
- Parmesan – if you like, you can swap the grated parmesan for pecorino Romano. If you are making a dairy-free version of this casserole you can leave out the cheese altogether or use your favorite vegan parmesan alternative.
- Half and Half – you can easily swap the half and half in this recipe for whole milk if you prefer. You can also use full fat canned coconut milk if you need a dairy free option.
- Broth – swap the chicken broth for veggie broth to make an vegetarian version of this casserole.
- Flour – swap the regular flour for your favorite gluten-free all purpose flour to keep things gluten free.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
How to Make This Homemade Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Make the Crispy “Fried” Onions: The first step is to make the crispy “fried” onion for the green bean casserole. The onions are sautéed in a little butter and then combined with panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and spices. You’ll set them aside while you prep the rest of the casserole.
Blanch the Green Beans: Next, you’ll need to blanch your green beans! since this recipe uses fresh green beans, instead of canned, you’ll want to cook them in boiling water for just a few minutes before transferring them to an ice water bath. This ensures that the green beans are tender but still crisp after the casserole finishes baking.
Make the Mushroom Sauce: Once you have made the crispy green bean topping and blanched your green beans, it’s time to make the creamy homemade mushroom sauce. You’ll start by sautéing mushrooms in a bit of butter until tender and browned and then adding a bit of flour to ensure the sauce thickens. Then, you’ll pour in chicken broth, a bit of half and half, and finish things off with grated Parm!
Assemble the Casserole: Once all of the elements of the casserole are prepped and ready all you have to do is assemble it! Add the green beans to the casserole dish, then pour over the mushroom cream sauce, and finish the casserole off with the crispy onions.
Bake: Place the casserole dish in your preheated oven and bake for twenty-five minutes until gold brown and bubbly and that’s it!
Top and Serve: I like to let the casserole cool for around 10 minutes before serving. Waiting a few minutes before serving gives the casserole time to “set up” and ensures that it’s not too hot to eat. You can top the casserole with a bit of extra grated parmesan cheese before serving.
Can You Prep Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time?
Yes! If you are making this dish for Thanksgiving you may want to save some time and do some prep in advance. Thankfully, this green bean casserole can easily be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.
To make in advance, just prep the casserole all the way up until the last step of baking. Then, cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and place in the fridge until you are ready to bake. When you are ready to bake the casserole, remove the casserole dish from the fridge and let it come to room temperature on the counter for 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake as instructed!
How to Store and Reheat
How to Refrigerate: You can store any leftover casserole, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for up to 3-4 days after baking.
How to Reheat: You could easily reheat any leftovers in the microwave but I think this casserole tastes better reheated in the oven! If you want to reheat the entire casserole, remove the casserole dish from the fridge 15-20 minutes before reheating and allow it to come to room temperature.
Then, place the casserole dish in a 350 degree oven, covered with foil, and reheat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the foil and let the casserole finishing heating and allow the topping to crisp up a bit before removing from the oven, roughly another 5-10 minutes.
More Reader Favorite Thanksgiving Sides
Here are few more of our reader favorite Thanksgiving sides to add your menu this holiday season:
- Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes
- Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin
- Creamy Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing
- Honey Mustard Roasted Brussels sprouts
- The Best Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing
- Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Cranberries
You can find all of our healthy and delicious Thanksgiving recipes to plan your menu, here!
I hope you give this Easy Healthy Green Bean Casserole a try! This delicious casserole
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Healthy Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Stovetop/Oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
For the “Fried” Onion Topping
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the Casserole Filling
- 24 oz fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 oz sliced baby Bella mushrooms
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease 9×13 baking dish.
- Make the Crispy “Fried” Onions: Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet. Once melted, add the sliced onion and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes or until the onions and started to become lightly golden brown and tender. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and then add the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss until everything is combined and the onions are well coated in the breadcrumbs.
- Blanch the Green Beans: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add the green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then use a slotted spoon to remove the green beans and immediately transfer them to an ice water bath to stop them from cooking. Drain the green beans and transfer them to the casserole dish.
- Make the Mushroom Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms sauté until they become brown and tender, around 3-5 minutes. Then, add the minced garlic and thyme and sauté for another minute.
- Next, sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and then stir until well incorporated.
- Lower the heat a bit and slowly stir in the chicken stock. Once everything is well incorporated, stir in the half and half, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes until it has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce is too thick, you can add an extra 1/4 cup of broth.
- Assemble the Casserole: Pour the sauce evenly over the green beans in the casserole dish. Stir gently to ensure that everything is well combined and the green beans are evenly coated with sauce.
- Top the casserole with the “fried” onion mixture and then bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 until the casserole is bubbling along the edges and the top is golden brown. If the top of the casserole starts to become too brown, you can top it with foil to prevent it from burning. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
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Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: THE MINDFUL HAPA