At my house, green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving standard. For this updated version of a healthy green bean casserole we're starting with blanched, brightly-colored green beans.
Skiping the heavy, processed cream of mushroom soup in favor of a cheese sauce from scratch with delicious mushrooms of your choice, using olive oil instead of butter to sautee.
We’ve replaced the canned onions for a crunchy cheesy panko bread crumb topping.
Even better this dish is fast and easy and can be prepared ahead. All without sacrificing the flavor you love about the original.
Can I make this recipe vegan and gluten-free?
Absolutely! Just replace the low-fat milk with a milk alternative like almond milk. Instead of grated cheese, use a dairy free cheese or nutritional yeast. You can find gluten-free panko bread crumbs along side the regular in the baking aisle.
Why blanch green beans?
Blanching is scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time followed by a quick, thorough cooling in very cold or ice water.
Blanching stops enzyme actions which otherwise cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. In addition, blanching removes some surface dirt and microorganisms, brightens the color, and helps slow vitamin losses.
How to blanch green beans
After gently rinsing the green beans in cold water, trim off the stem ends of the green beans, as well as the tail ends, if desired. If your green bean variety has a stringy fiber that runs throughout the bean pod, trim that off too. Some grocery stores sell cleaned and trimmed green beans if you want to save some time.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you're waiting, fill a large bowl with ice water. Once your pot is boiling, add a generous amount of salt (around a tablespoon) for a gallon of water. Add your green beans to boiling water and cook until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size of beans.
Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer beans to ice water. Let them soak about 4 minutes, then using tongs, transfer to a towel to drain and dry.
Now they are ready to be made into your healthy green bean casserole.
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Healthy Green Bean Casserole
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- large mixing bowl for ice bath
- 1½ lbs fresh green beans ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced, your choice of variety
- ¼ tsp salt to taste
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper to taste
- ¾ cup 2% milk or plant-based milk of choice
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- ½ cup grated parmesan or sub Romano or other cheese of choice
- ¼ cup grated parmesan or sub Romano or other cheese of choice
- ¼ cup panko or sub breadcrumbs of choice
- Preheat oven to 350°F
Blanch Green Beans
- In your large mixing bowl, prepare an ice bath (water and ice).
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, add green beans and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 2-4 minutes. If doubling the recipe, boil in batches.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the green beans to the prepared ice bath to cool for about 4 minutes.
- When well cooled, move green beans to a towel to drain, then into to a casserole dish.
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
- Sautée onions until translucent, then add garlic and mushrooms. Cook for an additional 5 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper and add to the casserole dish, mixing with the green beans.
- In a saucepan, whisk milk, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then stir in ½ cup grated cheese.
- Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens and the cheese is melted.
- Remove from heat and pour cheese mixture over the vegetables. Toss until well coated.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine panko with remaining ¼ cup of cheese and sprinkle onto the casserole.
- Bake at 350°F until bubbly and golden on top, about 25-30 minutes.
- The green beans can be blanched and the sauce prepared one day ahead. On the day of serving, assemble the casserole and top with panko and cheese.
- If you plan to freeze the casserole, bake it completely without the topping and let it cool. Tightly wrap or place in am air-tight container. When ready to eat, allow it to thaw in the fridge. Top with the panko and cheese and place in an oven preheated to 350 F for about 15-20 minutes. If the top becomes too brown, cover with foil until casserole is bubbly and hot.
Hand Size Portions
Some handy advice: You can use your hands to practice calorie control without weighing and measuring.
Using hand position size is an alternative way to decide how much to eat visually. It gives you a way to quickly estimate what's on your plate, using the size of your hand as an alternative to counting macros (which generally has you weighing and reading nutrition labels to count protein, carbohydrates, and fat).
To learn more, read How to Get Started with Hand Portion Sizes.
Coach Karen S Holden helps busy professional women figure out how to prioritize their health while keeping all the plates spinning. She helps women take small imperfectly consistent steps that lead to big change. If your life is overloaded and overbooked, don’t despair – there is a solution.
Find other articles written by Karen on her coach profile. Her insights can help you navigate your journey to making your health as much of a priority as your career – without having to neglect either one!